(No word yet from the vet as to how Snowy did overnight.)
When I got up this morning and went around the house, all I could see were signs of Snowy.
His favorite chew toy with the squeaker inside.
His food and water dishes. . .
. . . and the unmistakable signs that he scratches his rug, hoping (I guess) to find a whole cache of hidden bones. And you know what I always tell him? Good luck with that.
The red blanket I put in the chair for him so that when he lies down beside me as I write, his little sweet belly isn’t too cold against the leather chair. (Yes, I know. He is spoiled. Rotten.)
The signs of one of his (very) few annoying traits. When we got new rugs for our recent bathroom re-do, he became convinced that there was a bucket full of chicken, steak and hot dogs hidden somewhere in the tufts of the rug and he started digging to find it. We can always tell when his (forbidden) digging has taken place because of the fluffs of tuft that waft out into the hallway.
But with a face this cute . . .
. . . he is quickly forgiven.
Yesterday when I made the appointment to take him to the vet, I told Steve he didn’t need to come with me because A) Steve had a jam packed schedule for the day and B) I was assuming they were going to say, “Hmmm. It looks like the food we gave him last week doesn’t agree with him. Let’s try something new. (Because that’s basically what they were suggesting when I called about bringing him in.)
So I thought, “No big deal. It’s a change-of-diet visit. I can do this alone.”
After Snowy and I had been taken to an exam room to wait, he got extra, extremely, super hyper. The vet does that to him. I would estimate that over a span of fifteen minutes, he got on my lap, jumped down, asked to get back up, jumped down, asked to get back up, etc. at least 50 times. It was very much like spending fifteen minutes with a hyper active toddler. He’s usually a fairly calm dog so I could tell how anxious he was. (I was also relieved to see him displaying that much energy!)
The vet came in, did a quick exam and then said, “With a dog this small and with the serious issues he has, this is ‘sacred time.’ This is time we can’t squander in finding out what’s going on.”
She added, “I know he just had an x-ray ten days ago, but I’m going to do another x-ray, as well as some blood work.”
She gathered Snowy in his arms and as I watched his fluffy white self disappear down the hall into a scary place without me, I got sort of stressed. And emotional. And even though I knew Snowy wasn’t sick enough that we were going to have to make The Decision that very day I still thought, “I wish I had asked Steve to come with me after all".”
About five minutes later, the door of the exam room opened and in walked Steve!
He had just happened to be at the pharmacy across the street dropping off a prescription and when he found out how long the wait was going to be he thought, “I’ll just go on over and see how things are going with Snowy.”
Fifteen minutes later, when the vet returned, I was extra grateful for his presence.
Because when she started talking, I started crying.
She started showing us copies of Snowy’s blood work and the levels that were supposed to be high were low, and the levels that were supposed to be low were high. When she mentioned that one of the kidney stones was bigger, that he had pancreatitis and there were a lot of other issues going on, I just cried all the more.
So basically, the three of us functioned very much like an impressively well-oiled team.
She talked. Steve listened. I cried.
I just couldn’t help myself. I would pull myself together for a minute or two and then she would move on to her next point and I’d be gone again--mascara, mucous, tears, everywhere.
She basically said he could die within a week, or that he could possibly even live another couple of years; until she saw how he did through the night, she wouldn’t be able to give us a real accurate prognosis. Bottom line though? She said he was a very sick dog with a lot of things wrong.
She told us that they don’t have ultrasound equipment here in town (to get a better look at his pancreas and kidneys) and he would have to be sent to a specialist quite a distance away for further testing. (At great expense.) She mentioned that the kidney that had the larger stone could be removed entirely. (At even greater expense.) And then when she said he’d have to spend the night in the hospital I remember thinking through my tears, “When is enough enough? Do we say we will spend $400 but not $900? Do we say we will spend $1200 but not $3000? How much is a doggie’s life worth? How much should we allow him to suffer? When is enough enough, on all fronts?”
I just don’t know.
I’m sitting here anxiously waiting for the phone to ring, to find out what’s next on this Snowy journey we’ve been on for eleven years. Is the journey over? Or do we still have a few more miles to travel with our little buddy?
It’s just so hard.