Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dog Problems

If this was a movie, and I could pick a character to play me in this scenario, I'd be some kind of mutt dog wandering slowly into the room with my tail between my legs and an extremely humble look of apology on my face.


I know, I know, it's not like the world ended because I stopped blogging for a bit, and I'm sure all five of you will forgive for being so long absent. But, I do want to apologize sincerely for having fallen off the face of the blogosphere for the last couple of months.

I've just been a little preoccupied. And I've also been a little unmotivated. In truth, I guess this lack of motivation feels a bit like depression, but I wouldn't call it that. I think it'd be more accurate to describe what I've been feeling as a mad case of the "Winter Blues." All this snow can make even the sunshiniest (yep, just made that word up) of people start to dim a bit, and with all the added stress of work picking back up after the holidays and dog/car problems galore, this gal was feeling extinguished altogether.

Christmas and the New Year were a total blast - aside from a serious bout of sickness for Husband - and the addition of our new puppy, Steve was a true joy. But, our other puppy, Logan had some health issues we were forced to deal with shortly after the new year that put a real damper on my spirit.

I had noticed a small lump in his shoulder several weeks prior, and had immediately taken him to the vet for a check-up. I was assured that these types of growths in dogs were quite common, and were usually nothing. But I was cautioned about the lump changing and how if that were to occur we might be heading for some dangerous territory. And as bad luck would have it - the damn thing did change. It went from feeling like a semi-smooshy little ball to feeling like a much harder little knot.

Of course, we did not hesitate to bring him back in for another check-up and were unfailingly presented with the only option: Surgery. So, our sweet little Logan went in to have the lump (and the tissue surrounding it) removed from his right, front shoulder. The incision was huge - I'm serious, I was shocked. And we were asked to please try to stop our ten month old puppy from running, jumping, climbing stairs, and playing of any sort. Great. I was also sent home with a bunch of terrifying literature that laid out the chances for survival if the little lump turned out to be a tumor.

I was heartbroken. Plain and simple. Even the thought of a poor prognosis sent me into a pit of despair, and I spent a lot of time just holding him on my lap and praying for God to spare him from this fate. My mind was a jumble of protests to the facts: It's too soon to think about losing him yet. He's just a baby. It isn't fair. I was also conflicted over the deep feelings of pain I had over the thought of his passing. I am a self-proclaimed animal lover and am also super sensitive to boot, so my feelings about animals and their treatment are often very intense. Example: I regularly feel sick just thinking about all the animals in the world that are abused, mistreated, and tortured everyday by inhumane, ugly people. I physically feel ill just thinking about it. So, I have a tendency to overreact when I feel my dogs are even in the slightest of pain or discomfort. Even though there is a sizeable part of me that is always saying, "They're just dogs. They are not children," I just can't help it. To me, they are as much a part of my family as any of the human members. And I truly feel that they have just as many rights as a living creature as I do. I know my opinions are not shared by everyone though, so it is difficult for me to display my true emotions, knowing that they may seem ridiculous and misguided to some. Regardless of the intensity of my feelings though, the next few days were not much fun for me or Husband.

Because of Logan's incision, we had to keep the dogs separated while we were at work. Steve revolted against his confinement in the laundry room by literally chewing through the door. I was aghast when I came home from work and saw his little face peering at me from the kitchen, and was shocked even further to see the destruction that his tiny little teeth were able to inflict on our poor unsuspecting door (I wish to God I'd taken a picture). They weren't allowed to play together which was desperately hard for both of them, and whenever I left the house after shutting Logan (clad in his stiff, plastic cone headpiece) in our bedroom and Steve in his little crate (since he'd lost laundry room privileges) I just felt like the meanest person in the world - or at least that's how they both had started looking at me. At work, my mind was suddenly consumed with thoughts of coming home to Logan dead or to Steve impaled on some part of the crate he was able to pry lose with his magic teeth while trying to get out of confinement. It was exhausting for me. I felt really helpless. And I also felt inconsolably sad at the prospect of all of this being for naught and us losing our Logan to cancer anyway.

The call finally came a couple days after the surgery. My knees nearly buckled with relief when the vet told me the good news: the lump was not cancer, it was not even a tumor! Apparently, some dogs and cats have adverse reactions to regular vaccinations. This lump had been created from a shot Logan was given that his body didn't like. It was harmless. It was nothing. He was going to be fine.

I was ecstatic, but there was also a large part of me that wanted to weep. I needed to release all that fear and all those bad thoughts and all of the metaphorical cancer that had been growing in me from the moment the vet first made clear to me the possibility that my dog was going to die. I tried my best to wipe those feelings away, but it has taken a long time to get over it, and I still find myself needlessly worrying about them at work and thinking about what I will do if I come home to find them hurt.

Most days though, I soldier through my insecurities and repeat to myself the fact that I have done everything I can to make them safe and happy and that the rest is up to fate. In the end, there is very little we can do to protect the ones we love when we are not near them, and as I practice for my years with children, I'm doing my best to build up a thicker skin.

And tonight, when I come home from work and open the door to see those little guys wagging and wriggling with joy to see me, I find comfort in the fact that my heart (in spite of any fear I'd felt while I was away) will be wagging and wriggling right along with them.


midwest princess said...

i'm so glad to hear that logan will be ok! i read that entire post with baited breath. thank God for his health!

thanks for your kind words. sometimes i feel really guilty for complaining, but i never realized how tough it would be to be a freelance musician. i've also had a bit of the winter blues myself, so that hasn't helped. this winter has been the worst.

i'm excited for the 21st! it will be tons of fun. i miss you! xoxoxoxoxox have a good weekend! tell ryan i said hey!

Elaine said...

glad you are back. i had to scroll forward before i read it all to make sure logan was ok first. you know me, i'm the same way. my dogs are my life, and i don't care if that sounds pathetic. i can deeply relate to the physical feelings you are describing.

excited to see pics of the pups!! and here's to spring...maybe it's coming soon!!

Jozet at Halushki said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear you had to go through all that anxiety! But I'm glad your pup is okay. Poor guy! You're a good mommy.