Sunday, November 13, 2016

It's a Dog's Life

Last we spoke, I was seeking some much needed solace after an "interesting" cruising experience on the "unfun" ship.

Unfortunately that solace lasted about 3.2 seconds.

Upon returning home, we noticed that our little white dog, Dundee, was not himself. With a history of back problems, we knew that he had likely hurt his back jumping off the couch or watching "Dogs with Jobs" with a little too much enthusiasm. We immediately gave him an anti-inflammatory pill in a spoonful of peanut butter and hoped he would feel better quickly.

He didn't. With each passing day, Dundee appeared to be experiencing increasing pain, his appetite diminished, and he just wasn't his usual happy Dundee self. The vet examined him and suggested that if he didn't improve soon, he would benefit from a CT Scan to determine the exact nature of his back injury. The kicker? The CT Scan was in Miami. Ugh.

Over the next few days, I administered my little dog Tramadol every 4 hours - shockingly the same painkiller and strength that I am on. Nights were the worst! Dundee would awaken panting, obviously in pain and I had to hold him tight so that he didn't thrash around. It was exhausting and difficult.

Now anyone who knows Evan well knows his incredible ability to sleep soundly in any situation. If Evan was a Miss America pageant contestant, he would likely win the talent competition with this unique and functional skill. It really is impressive! I suspect that he perfected his ability to sleep soundly in any situation after years of overnights on uncomfortable hockey buses. I actually questioned if Evan was faking this skill in order to avoid loss of sleep until the Firehall incident of 2008. In Evan's previous life, he was a Firefighter with the City of Calgary Fire Department. When there is a call, tones sound in the firehall, increasing in volume and pitch to alert the Firefighters to get moving ASAP. One night, Evan slept through an entire fire. He missed the tones, he missed the bustle of the firefighters moving around him, getting into their gear, and jumping into the truck. He missed the entire thing! Upon returning to the Hall after the fire, Evan's crew found Ev sound asleep in his bed, completely unaware of the night's events. So they did what any professional would do in that situation - they painted Evan's toenails red. Evan defended himself by explaining, "My panic threshold is not very high." Ya, it's probably for the best that he retired that career.

So, you see, I can't really blame Evan when he fails to wake in the middle of the night. He doesn't do it on purpose. But let's be honest here - it pisses me off…just a little.

On the third sleepless night, I held my shaking dog in my arms and physically shoved Evan from his slumber, "I need help!"

Ev did wake up briefly and took over the duties of holding and comforting our distraught dog. Seeing that he had it under control, I rolled over to catch an hour of sleep before I had to get up for work. I was quickly awakened from a light sleep to see Dundee wandering frantically around our bed while Ev slept soundly, arms out, holding an invisible dog. At that moment, I mentally retrieved my "Having a baby: pros and cons" checklist and dusted it off. Picturing sleepless night after sleepless night with a fussy baby, I added a big 'ol check mark under "cons" (Aside: Do not tell me that Evan would surely wake up if it was his own baby crying. He would not. End of discussion).

On Thursday night, Dundee became noticeably worse. The vet told me to watch carefully for any signs of motor issues such as difficulty walking or the dragging of his back legs. While trying to encourage Dundee to eat, Dundee stood up and began dragging his back legs. His back legs didn't work! What a horrible thing to witness. Frantic, I called the vet and we began arranging a referral to Miami for an emergency spinal surgery.

As annoyed as I was with Evan during the sleepless nights, I couldn't have asked for a better partner in crime as we prepared Dundee to travel to Miami. Evan quickly booked a flight while I arranged the paperwork to get Dundee off island (The Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture must approve every exit and entry of each animal). At this point I was sleep deprived and panicked, picturing my precious pet paralyzed. We knew that time was of the essence and Dundee required surgery immediately. Evan calmly packed his bag, carefully placed Dundee in his carry case, kissed me goodbye, assuring me that Dundee would be fine, and flew to Miami that night. As scared as I was, I felt reassured knowing that Evan was taking over the reigns.

Dundee received spinal surgery the next morning. He was diagnosed with a condition called "Intervertebral Disc Disorder," characterized by a ruptured disc in his back. Thankfully, they were able to operate in time, and he is expected to make a full recovery. We will, however, have to limit his jumping activity in the future, as he is prone to further disc problems. The Fido Network may be permanently replaced with The Food Network. Phew. Upon hearing that everything went well, I took a deep breath…but just for a second. We were now faced with the daunting task of importing him back on island.

The paperwork for importing your pet on island is extremely complicated. Blood titres to prove that your pet possesses the rabies vaccine, flea and tick treatments, as well as paperwork completed and signed by a Clinical Vet and a Federal Vet are required. Although Dundee was discharged from the Vet Hospital in Miami on Tuesday, Evan and I worked overtime to complete the paperwork so that he could fly back to the island by Thursday. Ev found himself in an Uber, searching the city of Miami for a USDA accredited Vet who would stamp our documents without the typically required week's notice. To make matters even more complicated, it was election day and Ev was stuck in traffic, gazing at posters of Trump's tangerine face everywhere (obviously Hollywood, Florida was Trump territory)  There was a bit of pleading, a bit of ass-kissing, and more than one text between us, "Are you F$#**ing kidding me?" Ev and I joked that our wallets were wide open at this point, makin' it rain all over Miami! Yes, Dundee is expected to make a full recovery in 6 weeks. Our wallets, however, may never fully recover. Haha.

In the end, my furry boys (Ev hadn't shaved in a week) returned back to island on Thursday night. I have never been so relieved to kiss that little black nose (That would be Dundee) and feel those comforting arms around me (That would be Evan).

I know that if you are not an animal lover, you will read this blog in dismay, wondering what would possess one to make such an effort for an animal. All I can say is, I consider my pets to be part of my family. They bring so much joy into my life and are completely dependent on me to keep them safe. There was no way that I could sit back and watch my buddy become paralyzed.

So now the fun begins. Dundee is confined to a kennel - puppy jail - for 6 weeks, with short walk breaks throughout the day. His first night in puppy jail was challenging and consisted of him rattling his bars at 4am shouting, "I was framed! I want my lawyer!" (Ok, I made that part up, but I'm sure that's what he would say if he could talk). Just like me, Dundee now has to partake in physio exercises! We can take our Tramadol, do our leg lifts together, and watch "Donut Showdown" - excellent puppy/human bonding time! And somehow Ev is not only graced with a rehabbing wife, but with a rehabbing dog as well.

"Lucky you!" I exclaimed.

"It's a good thing you guys are good-looking and loveable," he joked.

I am so looking forward to some down time here. I presently feel like I'm in a dodgeball game, avoiding balls left and right. I don't dare stand still in fear of being smacked in the face! Since my surgery in September, Evan hasn't been home for more than 10 days at a time. We are celebrating a long weekend on the island and Ev and I are really looking forward to some quiet, UNEVENTFUL time at home with our furry friends.

Cheers Friends!

Dundee is home! hooray!

This is not Dundee. This a random dog at the beach. I thought he looked like Evan because he is handsome and has lots of freckles

Dundee's very unfortunate reverse mohawk. 

Who's a good boy? 

Dundee is allowed out of puppy jail for visits with his friends

Biloxi kept Dundee's bed warm the entire time he was gone. 

I don't know what all the fuss is about…stupid dog. 

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