So, I don’t talk about my dogs a whole lot because there’s not usually a reason to, but I actually have two little dogs named Tag and Lola. I got Tag my junior year of high school when he was a little two-pound puppy, and my mom gave me Lola for my 18th birthday. They are both Maltese and Poodle mixes but Tag is black and Lola is white.
I love my dogs! When I moved to Chicago on my own right after high school, they were all I had! Walking them every afternoon was the best thing ever. When my heat broke that winter, I had to put them in sweaters and we’d all snuggle under the covers in my freezing apartment. They couldn’t be more different. Tag is like the meanest little dog ever, and Lola is the complete opposite. She is all sunshine and sweetness and light. But Lola is like a blonde. She’s so clueless. She actually failed puppy class. I took her diligently but she just couldn’t hack it. Tag, on the other hand is the smartest dog ever…he’s just an a-hole. I love him to death, but it’s true. Lola loves everyone because she’s, well, a little special. She will snuggle strangers and sleep with anyone — hence her sassy little name.
So little Lola was acting weird last week, throwing up, so we took her to the vet, thinking she had eaten Easter grass (cause she would) and instead got the shocking diagnosis that her kidneys were in failure. Like, what!?! My little dog is dying?? They said they were going to keep her all weekend and that it was like…50-50.
I could not believe it. A sick pet is so, so heartbreaking. You can’t do anything and you can’t tell them what’s wrong with them and it’s just like…awful. On Saturday morning my mom called the vet and they said that her kidneys were at 5.8 and they needed to be at 1.8; her liver was also really bad too. They said to call today to see if the numbers had gone down at all but that it didn’t look good. It’s the most awful thing to think about, your poor little pet.
They think she has a bacteria called leptospirosis. Apparently quite a few dogs in Michigan have gotten in it in the past month. It’s transmitted via critters and rodents and given the fact that we have a fucking feeding trough for all the neighborhood animals on our back deck (something I’ve always hated but am increasingly bitter about right now), it’s possible she picked it up there. Or it could be the Easter grass. The vet said to keep anything “Made in China” away from your dogs.
I’ve been in denial about it all weekend because I couldn’t think about it without weeping; this morning I called the vet because I just needed to know. I mean, the thing is, Lola is soooo dumb and so not aggressive that I just did not have faith in her to pull it together. But the vet said that her kidney level is down to 2; he sounded genuinely shocked. He said we’re not out of the woods yet because her liver isn’t great, but the liver is easier to treat, and it looks like she’ll be able to come home soon. We need to vaccinate Tag against lepto and I’m telling this story because I wasn’t aware of this virus at all and I’d hate to think of anyone else’s dog getting it. So…consider this your warning!
But here’s the really sad thing. My family was so, so relieved because we love Lola so much. My grandma, especially, because Lola and Tag started sleeping in her bed every night when I moved to NYC (couldn’t take her). She loves Lola so much. But…just like an hour ago my mom’s cousin called and said that her mother (my grandma’s sister) had suddenly died. It’s so shocking. She wasn’t healthy, but she wasn’t sick. I wasn’t close to her, so I’m, like, OK (although it’s sad when anyone dies). Still, my family is so small, it’s a big deal. And she’s my grandma’s sister, and I love my grandma, so I feel bad for her. It’s like, we were so happy that our dog was going to be OK and then we get this other really shocking and awful news. There’s just that weird and sudden awareness of life and death that leaves you feeling a little unsettled.