Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Part Four


The past few weeks Lady had been showing signs of lethargy and loss of appetite. I noticed a bruise on her back leg and we took her to the vet to have it looked at. Our vet lanced it and drained it and advised us to keep an eye on it. The next few days she seemed back to her normal self, running outside and howling at my Dad when he came home from work. But over the course of the next several days, she began to get more and more lethargic, was losing weight, and a desire for food was nonexistent.

We called the vet on Monday and got her in for an early morning appointment. The vet immediately examined her gums and was shocked at the distinct lack of color. Her immediate thought was rat poison, but those thoughts soon turned towards something even worse - an auto-immune disorder. The test for the poison did in fact come back negative, and the decision was made to offer our dog, Mia, as a blood donor so that Lady could receive a blood transfusion. The hope was that this would spur her red blood cell count and perhaps she could rebound. I rushed Mia over to the vet – the poor thing had no idea what was coming her way – and they prepped her to take blood. Of course, Mia is quite the feisty canine and she had to be sedated in order to get the donation. The transfusion was administered to Lady, and Mia was sent home – shaved neck and all. She was none the worse for wear and in fact I think she had even more energy when she came home! Lady stayed the night at the vet to gain some strength back and for the transfusion to do its job.

Tuesday morning I couldn’t take the waiting any longer and I called the vet to get a check-up on Lady. My first realization that something was very wrong was when the vet herself came on the phone. She proceeded to give me the breakdown of how Lady did through the night and that she was feeling better momentarily, all thanks to Mia’s donation. However, the preliminary tests she had run were not showing good results. Her lymphocyte count was sky high – normal is around 690 and hers were coming in at 400,000, and her red blood cell count was very low. The diagnosis was pointing towards lymphocytic leukemia. I was in shock. This is not what I expected to hear, and certainly not what I wanted to hear. It took all that I had not to break into tears on the phone with the vet.

We talked about treatment options but both agreed that chemotherapy is just not something that we are willing to put her through. We decided that she would come home to spend her time with us. I called my mom soon after talking with the vet and could barely get the diagnosis out through my tears. She agreed that Lady needed to be home with us and went to go and pick her up. She was a bit spunkier once she got home, and even howled at my Dad when he came home (her standard method of greeting). Today, though, she has been laying on the couch and resting a lot.

We aren’t sure if we have a few days or a few weeks left with her. Everyone is in shock and distraught over the news. It’s been a very emotional time for me. This is the first dog that I have been responsible for bringing into our home, and I can’t help but feel that tug of my heart for giving her this life full of love. When I think about what her life could have been and how short it could have been, I am so thankful for the many years we have been able to give her. She now knows what it feels like to be loved, to be hugged, to be kissed, and most of all – to be wanted.

I plan to give her as much as my heart can give over these next few days.

Lady 'protecting' Cutter this last June

1 comment:

pillarboxpost said...

oh laur! I'm very sorry to hear about Lady...I hope you are able to spend a good deal of time with her and that she can leave peacefully. Thoughts are with you.

love britt