Sunday, December 2, 2012

In Which I Find How Much Yarbo Means to Me

I always knew that I loved our dog, but I really thought I had maintained some modicum of detachment that is fitting between (wo)man and beast.

I believe I may have been mistaken.

This past week, after having been gone all day long for very tiring things, we sat down to a supper of food that was primarily a lesson to me in what not to do in the kitchen (oops).  The doorbell rang, and instead of hearing Yarbo thunder down the stairs, ready to defend us to the death by barking repeatedly at the door, I heard a weird "Thump...thump....thuumpp..." and Yarbo finally appeared at the end of the stairs, but instead of going into his usual frenzy, he just cried.

Alarms started going off in my head.

So I called him over to me, and told him to hop up on my lap.  The dog normally has springs for legs, and even when I'm standing, has occasionally jumped so high that he's missed my arms and flown over my shoulders (true story).  So my lap should have been no problem.  Except that he missed terribly the first try, then I couldn't even get him to make a second attempt.  I pulled him up into my lap, but couldn't figure out what had gone wrong, so I tried setting him back down on the floor to watch him move, hind legs first - and his back legs collapsed under him.

At that point I started panicking.

We called our vet, and I took Yarbo to the pet hospital.  It was sad to watch him - he didn't sniff the vents even once during our trip there, and smelling things is his favorite thing to do besides snuggle.

In my mind, something horrible had happened, and I had visions of having to have him put down that night.  And with that in mind, I called my mom in tears, because that's the only thing you can think to do when you think your dog is dying.

Once we got there, the vet took a look at him, and wanted to run a whole set of labs and xrays.  While I was waiting, there was trauma case after trauma case that kept making our wait longer- in one instance, a woman actually tossed her already-dead cat across the desk to the surprised vet tech, asking them to bring her back to life.

Hours later (almost 4, to be precise) the vet was able to discuss the findings with me, and thought Yarbo had probably experienced some kind of back injury that had given him incapacitating pain.  So, Yarbo came back home with us, and we've been following all the care instructions.  He's not supposed to be moving any further than a short trip to the backyard for the necessities for three weeks (so we'll be calling the vet for sedatives....), and he's on some pretty intense pain meds.

The same pain meds, in fact, that I was on while I had cancer.  I'm assuming it's a much smaller dose.

I knew that Yarbo would always have a special place in my heart because of how good he'd been to me while I was sick, but I had no idea the emotional reaction I would have to him being sick.  I had to leave him with the vet to be taken back for xray, and he didn't cry at all.  He just sat there quietly, looking at me with pain-filled eyes, and I felt like I was deserting him.

He had sat there with me for days, weeks, even months through the surgeries, through the chemo, even the radiation.  He always knew where to lay so it wouldn't hurt, and when I would cry from the pain, he would lick my hand and snuggle in close.  And it was so hard to watch him in pain, and not know if I could help him.

We have to go back to our regular vet for followup, but we're pretty hopeful that Yarbo will make a full recovery.  And he better live for another 70 years, because I found out this past week I'm in no way ready to part with him.

Yarbo all hopped up on pain meds

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