My little rescue dog, Murphy, has been in kidney failure for over a year. His exceptional veterinarians have been closely monitoring him and adjusting his medications to keep him functioning.
Last week, when a large snow storm was predicted I had planned a trip to Texas. I could have gone anytime. It wasn’t the greatest weather out there, either. Cold, rainy, even some ice. I did have opportunities to see my family but they’re always there. I can see them anytime.
I board my dogs at their vet. I know if anything happens there won’t be any mistakes or accidents. Murphy was happily riding in the car, head flung with abandon out the driver’s side window, barking at the occasional motorcycle or bicyclist.
The snow nearly shut down my home airport and my return flight was cancelled, I had to rebook for the next day.
Maybe it was that one day that made a difference. Maybe it was the whole week that did. I even could have taken Murphy with me on this trip. He has flown with me before and travels well. But I know that if he had morphed into the dog I found when I returned I would have been at a complete and utter loss, out in Texas with his doctors back home in North Carolina.
So I picked up my rag-doll puppy, gently carried him to the car, Lily, bounding with all her 70-odd pounds of muscle and excitement alongside. No, this was not the same dog I had brought to the vet a week before. His doctor had told me that in kidney failure, when the kidneys no longer function at all things happen very fast.
I had no idea.
The next morning I phoned and they said to bring him for them to look at him. He was badly dehydrated and I had not had much luck getting him to eat and he’d had nothing to drink. So he was hooked up to an i.v., and blood was drawn to determine what was happening with his kidneys which was not good news. Today I was allowed to visit him and bring him home for a couple of hours. I was given a syringe to flush his catheter. He rested next to me on his favorite sofa, the one he would patiently sleep on each day when I worked as a librarian, standing on the arm to greet me when I came home. I drank some coffee, worked a crossword and checked emails on my iPad, pretending things were as they had always been. And he slept.
I had been instructed to return him at a certain time and I milked the time for as long as possible before bundling him in his blanket and bringing his favorite pillow to return him to the hospital. As I placed him back in his treatment area his eyes appeared brighter, alert, and I forbade myself to allow hope to creep in.
So many tears.