My Inner Worlds
Two weeks ago today our sweet Gypsy scared Matt and me (well, maybe just me, but Matt played along). Our pack walk around the neighborhood ended as normal in our front yard, with Gypsy walking between the two rose bushes, sniffing the scent of the bunnies who love to nibble grass in the cool shade. She leaped in the air and afterwards wouldn’t put down her hind leg. Trying to determine what’s wrong with an animal is similar to diagnosing an infant—little to no communication ability. I only knew she was hurt, but not how.
Matt held Gypsy while we looked for a splinter in her paw, and finding none, we palpated the paw to see if she reacted to a potential break. Matt’s a pretty wise man and suggested we let her rest and see how she felt later. “Mom” isn’t wise when it comes to her fur babies and knew she couldn’t rest while Gypsy hid in a corner licking her paw and looking pitiful. Matt didn’t even roll his eyes when I searched my iPhone for the nearest emergency clinic and found one not too far from my yoga studio. I took it as a sign.
Quail Corners Animal Hospital quickly answered their phone and told me to bring Gypsy right in. We didn’t have to wait to be shown into an exam room, so we had privacy for Gypsy as she fretted at being in a vet’s office. Oddly, she seemed able to use her back paw as she tried time and again to jump onto my lap while we waited. The doctor had to see the other unfortunate pets who arrived before us.
Dr. Jarchow introduced herself as a nerd—Matt and I both wear geeky t-shirts, and she recognized kindred spirits. She diagnosed a severely stubbed toe for poor Gypsy, who seemed to already be feeling better. Gypsy got an anti-inflammatory shot to help with the swelling, along with a shot of Cheez Whiz as a treat. I’m sure the “severe” in the diagnosis was for my benefit since we’d already told her Matt wanted to take the wait-and-see approach. I’d have felt bad if we’d taken Gypsy to the emergency room for a regular stubbed toe. But knowing it was severe made the difference when I shelled out $174.
While we drove home and the happy dog shed all over my car’s interior, Matt and I discussed the two other times we had used an emergency vet, the times when our dogs' lives were saved by the medical care available during non-business hours. One was for Asia, our adorable second-born who is no longer with us. We were told that Asia would have died overnight if we hadn’t taken her in for treatment of a terrible canine virus that had been going around. The second time was for baby Tia (she’s ten, but will always be our baby). Tia had bronchitis and wouldn’t have died overnight, but was in critical shape. She is the one of our three current dogs who has an enormous file at our normal vet’s office—many health issues that I don’t hesitate to take her in for.
Do I overdo it? Yes. Do I care? Not at all. These animals are my children, my friends, and my snuggle buddies. Since they can’t communicate their pain level to me, I have to make that call for them. I choose to be lenient and liberal in my interpretation of what they need. Which is also the reason I’m not allowed to feed them. Since Matt took over their portion sizes, they have all lost a lot of weight and are healthier for it. Tia’s issues and vet visits have decreased since she’s taken off the excess pounds. They still act hungry and underfed around me, but Matt’s right. I’ve hardened my heart and have stayed out of meal decisions for our dogs’ own good.