My Maggie: Dealing with a Dog Crisis

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When I graduated from grad school, I decided to buy myself a dog as a graduation gift.  I already had two kids, a dog would be a perfect addition to the family.  I knew I wanted a big dog; either a Newfoundland or a Great Dane.

Luckily, a breeder in central Oahu (we lived in Hawaii at the time) had just had a litter of 13 pups.  We went straight out to look at them–one week after they were born.  I remember being so excited and scared about this new life development.  They were these tiny little puppies that were going to grow into huge dogs.  Maggie’s mom was 150 pounds, her grandmother was 180 and her grandpa, a big and scary Dane was 205 pounds.

Between the time we saw her and the six weeks until we could pick her up, I read up on Great Danes–everything I could.  I bought books on training her, feeding her, decked out the house with all kinds of doggie stuff and got ready for our new family member to join our home.

I remember reading a list of the pros and cons that come with having a Great Dane.  The cons were as you would expect, “ Bigger Food Bills, Bigger Vet Bills, Larger Poops to Clean Up, Shorter Life Span”.

“Shorter Life Span”, I remember thinking, “Why would that even matter?”  Obviously, I had never had to deal with the loss of a pet.  I had no idea how attached we could get to her.

Now, I know.

Recently, Maggie stopped eating as voraciously as normal.  She would turn her nose up at her bowl unless we added some special treats to it.  She started to get skinnier.  I thought she was just being finicky–as she sometimes had the tendency to do.

About a week and a half ago, I went to the holistic pet store to get her a bunch of new foods to see if they would make her appetite resume.  They didn’t and she just seemed so lethargic.   I made a vet appointment.  Last Thursday, as we walked into the clinic, the vet immediately recognized that she had a” pyometra”, basically a huge infection in her uterus and it would need to be removed the next morning.

When I dropped her off for surgery, I asked the vet if he thought that by removing the uterus, her normal self would reappear.  He said, “Yes. It should.”

A couple of hours later, I got the report from the vet.  They had pulled a 15 pound tumor from her spleen.  There was no infected uterus but likely malignant cancer that had made her so sick.  (We will get the results of the biopsy this week but the vet is pretty sure that it is malignant….although he has been wrong before).

After the surgery, my Maggie was in a sad state.  She was on an I-V drip, needed a blood transfusion, and had a serious abdominal gash.  The vet wasn’t sure that she would survive the surgery.  They had taken out a lot of blood with the removal of the spleen.

We got to bring her home on Saturday morning and it is so great to have her home.   She is wrapped in towels and must only go outside for quick potty breaks.  I have to make home cooked meals for her–which she loves and I love to do.  We laid with her and cuddled her and worried about her all night.  Her best friend, Sushi, whined and cried until she could lay next to her.

Over the weekend, she had eaten apart her stitch’s so we were dealing with a big open wound on Sunday.  On the phone, the vet assured me that it was OK.  We took her in on Monday to re-stitch her and were told that we were finally, “out of the woods” with regards to the surgery.

Now, we wait.  Wait for her to heal up from the surgery.  Wait for the results of the biopsy.  Wait, hope, and pray that Maggie will be able to go to the beach and hiking with us a lot more.

We are not ready to lose her.

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