Life just continues to happen – even in the midst of getting ready for the mission field – you want it to stop – “no bad stuff now, God, I am so busy! I have this and this and that to DO!” and then something happens that turns your little family upside down and you end up wondering if everything is going to change … but I get ahead of myself.
Yesterday I took the dogs outside in the sunshiny afternoon for a glorious walk and Sadie wanted to play! She kept bringing me a stick and I had to tell her “no!” We went through this 3 separate times. I was thrilled … this is one big deal considering the week-end we’d just spent with Sadie.
Sadie is a Black Lab/Blue-Heeler mix. She is 65 lbs of pure wonder – energy, black, satiny beauty, sleek as all get out and has a heart as big as the big blue sky. She has her routines – or we have our routines. After every meal she has to have a lovin’ time – where she comes and needs to say her thank-yous. She has a stuffed soccer ball that she suckles – and she has a soccer ball she sleeps in (a bean bag). When she is outside she’ll bring you a stick quicker than you can shake it, just so that she can retrieve it as many times as you’ll throw it – we have seriously never had her stop a game of fetch on her own … until this past Friday late afternoon.
Jared was working on his car and Sadie brought the proverbial stick for him to throw and her to retrieve – over and over – until the time she came back without the stick and was doing a little bleeding. No real big deal since, in her exuberance, she has bit her tongue before when catching a stick. We kind of just let it pass … until supper time and she – our always famished Sadie – didn’t want to eat. She starts panting and didn’t want to drink. She wanders around and lays here and there and can’t settle down. Over all she seems okay – but will not let us look in her mouth.
Sadie’s restlessness increases hour by hour and I end up sitting in the living room rocking chair all night – my Sadie-vigil (that’s what Mom’s do when one of the family is suffering). Jake sleeps on the living room floor. She alternates between Jake’s bed and by my chair where I continue to pet her and croon sweet doggie nothings … and pray that she will make it until morning when I will get her to a vet at the earliest moment. Several times we thought she was gone … because, each time she had to swallow it took her a moment to catch her breath and breathe again … and this was a snoring, labored breathing. We now know she has not just bitten her tongue … a stick must have stabbed her throat, or worse.
Sunlight finally gets here – it’s 7 am and I get Lowell up to watch her so I can get an hour nap in before calling a friend to recommend a local Vet. Lowell’s hour with her has him convinced that this is not good. Before too many calls I have a 9:15 appointment for Sadie. Yeah!
My tears of exhaustion and apprehension started before and then escalated once we actually got her to Dr. Garing. Sadie, despite her pain, is curious in the new surroundings and has to greet each new person – this is a good sign! She even gives ‘kisses’ to the lady who weighs her.
Finally we get her on the examination table. Jake and I tell Dr. Garing what has happened. I also tell how we are headed to the mission field of Honduras within weeks and how Jacob, just a week ago, started a travel fund-raising website for the pets because money is so tight. Then she asks questions about the work, where we’ll live … all the time checking Sadie out. There is no fever – but she will not open her mouth for examination … and now the decision is made to sedate her. 😦
Jacob and I go ahead to the waiting room to sit it out and Sadie, the Dr. and her assistant head to the lower surgery. Before too much longer Dr. Garing comes and tells me she is going to take her to upper surgery, sedate her more and use the big mirror to see her throat. This is sounding worse and worse.
After several more minutes she comes and asks Jake and I if we want to come see what she found. We get in there to our girl – her tongue tied down and mouth propped open, Her throat is swollen to almost closure and look – there is a gaping hole on the upper back palate of her mouth – at least of half-inch in diameter.
The Dr. tells us we can go back home until afternoon – the sedation will wear off in about 6 hours and they will call us. She’s still going to explore options but wants to give Sadie a shot to reduce the swelling so her breathing won’t be so labored and knows she will at least put her on antibiotics.
We get to the jeep, talk just a little and right before I start to back up out of the parking lot, Dr. Garing rushes out the front door. “I want you to see what we found deeper in the hole – I thought I saw something rough but didn’t know if I could get to it – here it is.” She held this little piece of broken stick in her hand. “Do you want me to save it in a little baggie so you can show the family?” Yes! And here it is for you to see:
She said somehow the stick has been rotten enough, or hit just right, that it broke off right in Sadie’s upper palate. The hole was there but she anticipated full healing with antibiotics and soft food for several days.
We get home and are able to get Jared loaded up for his move to Moore, Oklahoma – he can leave knowing Sadie will be alright.
At about 4 that afternoon we head back to town to pick up our girl. The doctor’s assistant, LeeAnn, who had assisted her from the beginning, brings Sadie out to the reception area – she greets with subdued happiness. She’s ready to hop in that jeep and Go Home!! But first, the bill … oh, dear, oh me, oh my!!!! Well, LeeAnn lets me know right off Dr. Garing only charges me for the anesthesia! She said to tell us that this was her way of contributing to our mission trip. What would have been over $150.00 is only $60 – I can’t help it – more tears. Doubly relieved – Sadie’s going to be okay and this sweet professional doctor was extremely kind. Ah, blessings, blessings everywhere! (Dr. Debra Garing, Elkin Veterinarian Hospital, Elkin, NC)
It has been several days – tomorrow we will start transitioning Sadie back to her dry food. (She is loving this canned stuff!) I found an old doggie toy, long ago abandoned because of her favoring sticks, and she condescends to playing a game of fetch using it … after 5 or so throws I make her stop. She is worn out. She has once again began sucking on her soccer ball – but, she still hasn’t started her rapturous barking through the field. Lowell was afraid she would be ‘snoring’ throughout life but even that has subsided.
We are blessed and … God is so very good.
Here is our son’s website … Help Me Keep My Pets
and here is his Facebook Group you can join … Jacob is Going to Honduras and Wants His Pets to Go Too!
Thanks to so many who are helping us in lots of ways … veterinarians … people in churches … old friends and new ones, too … and on and on … we are indeed blessed.