At the end of my last entry about BeeBee, I was sitting in my car sobbing, but I didn’t remain that way for long. For one thing, there were too many nice people coming to the clinic who would surely come over to ask me what was wrong. If they did, I knew I would immediately start blubbering along the lines of, “I just left my brain-damaged, deformed dog to be spayed and what if her too long upper jaw and too short and crooked lower one makes it impossible to pass the tube into her trachea and give her gas anesthesia? And even if that’s not a problem, what if the parts of her brain associated with respiration are as wonky as the rest of her? She sometimes makes a snorffling noise when she’s sleeping: what if that means something? What if _____? And what if ______ or ______?” Sob, sob, sniffle, sniffle ad nauseam. It would not have been pretty.
So instead of sitting in the car crying where everyone could see me I ducked down and fumbled for the box of Kleenex I knew was somewhere on the floor in the back seat. True, I knew that more than a few women had torn their rotator cuffs taking similar actions, but if I did that and someone pounded on the window and asked if I was all right, at least I’d have a more rational reason for my tears.
After a few minutes of hanging with my head upside down on the back floor of my car with my body wedged between the front seats crying and blowing my nose, I felt composed enough to drive home. It’s not a technique I’d recommend for everyone, but it seemed to work for me. I spent most of the day working outdoors transplanting perennials and getting beds ready for planting, and doing other busy work that didn’t require a lot of concentration because I didn’t have any available. Like most people under similar circumstances, I was torn between thinking about Bee and not. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. My thoughts went where they wanted to go. At five, I called the clinic to see how she was doing.
I’d like to say that everything went well as I knew it would, but the truth is that everything went well and I was thrilled. Because she’s normally staggery and because she and the other dogs spend so much time playing, I decided not to pick her up until the next day.
Time for another digression. When you own a high-energy dog who is also high-maintenance for some reason, there’s a tendency to view being separated from that animal somewhat ambivalently. On the one hand, you love the animal and only want the best for him or her. On the other, the idea of not having to deal with all those attendant responsibilities for a day or two seems like a mini-vacation.
Once I knew that Bee was all right, I got caught up in the mini-vacation mode because everything took less time: feeding the dogs, taking them out, working in the office, going to bed. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Even so, I looked forward to the time when I’d pick her up and bring her home.
After she arrived home, Bee reacquainted me with another post-op phenomenon I’d forgotten: the quiet dog who wants to sleep. Instead of enjoying what I knew would be a brief interlude, I wished she’d back to her usual bouncy-staggery self and playing with the other dogs ASAP. What in the world was I thinking?
Bee had to have a few words with Ollie before he accepted that she did not want to roughhouse with him as usual, but Fric knew that something was different right a way. As Bee did with Fric the last week of Fric’s pregnancy when Fric was in no mood to play, the first day Fric laid quietly beside Bee and studied her while wagging her tail slowly. Aside from that she let Bee alone. She did the same thing the second day, only this time brought a toy and placed it in front of Bee. The third day, Bee picked up the toy.
Other than not liking the remnants of the iodine spray on her abdomen and removing it as quickly as an uncoordinated dog with a half-paralyzed tongue can and a change in antibiotics to get the remnants of the infection taken care of, BeeBee’s healing progressed uneventfully, as they say. Not surprisingly, she never missed a meal. I suspect you could offer her a bowl of food when she’s anesthetized and she’d eat it.
With each passing day Bee became more active. Worse–OK better but some days I’m not so sure–she became even more active than she was prior to the surgery. At first I thought I was imagining this, but Fric’s increased tendency to seek high ground for a rest and let Ollie and Bee play together seems to support this contention. It’s as if I had two adult dogs and a puppy before, and now I have two puppies and one adult.
Although logic tells me that Bee’s infection should have been triggered by her going into heat, I now have to wonder if it had been percolating for much longer. It was only after she went into heat that she mastered the art of keeping herself clean and the coordination to do that. Prior to then, I’d wash her daily, a task with which she did not cooperate at all. I know I did my best, but also accept the possibility that it might not have been good enough.
Just something else about Bee I’ll never know.
Her stitches are out, the lower canine (fang) that was pressing against the roof of her mouth has been filed down a bit to decrease its pressure on the roof of her mouth, the antibiotics are all gone.