Yesterday was spent hovering over a sick little dog after a very bad, sleepless night. I was exhausted and emotionally drained this morning, dreading calling the vet. I had errands I simply had to run before making the call at noon. I left Murphy huddled in his bed, facing the wall, dull-eyed and indifferent.
I went to Target, got gas and groceries, made the rounds of errands before the work week begins. The entire time, the thought of possibly (probably?) having to put Murphy down today hung over me like the darkest of clouds. I was blinking back tears in the produce department. I am sure I looked to everyone like, well, like my dog died.
On the way back to the house I started bargaining - if he's on the balcony, he's doing better, and we can wait and see. If he greets me at the door, we can wait and see. I had a whole list of Signs - if I saw any of them, we'd wait and see. If, however, he was still in his little bed, staring into space with dull, sunken eyes, I'd call the vet and beg them to squeeze me in this afternoon, because I can't leave him in misery when I go to work tomorrow.
And he greeted me at the door. He didn't just greet me, he looked completely different - his eyes look less sunken, his posture is normal, he has his attitude back. He didn't just look different. He followed me to the kitchen and looked interested in food. I had part of a Publix salad left over from yesterday, and it contained hard boiled egg. I picked out a few bits of the white part of the egg (not the fatty yolk) and offered it - he wolfed it down and begged for more! He ate about half an egg, and followed it with several tiny bites of diced turkey. I ran out of bits to offer him before he ran out of appetite! He's following me around the house again and acting far, far more normal!
I'm baking chicken breasts tonight with a little barbeque flavoring, and hard boiling a few eggs for egg white snacks with a little fat free cheese to make it more tempting. We'll worry about a healthy balanced diet later; right now it's all about tempting his appetite and getting his energy up.
I'm not saying he's completely out of the woods - he may still have cancer, who knows, and he certainly is still very old and very skinny. But he has made an astonishing turnaround from death's door, and he's obviously no longer feeling weak and sick and his appetite is coming back. I just picked up a refill on his prednisone; we'll add that to the metronidazole to give him a further healing boost. The pred will also boost his appetite, so it's a winner all the way around.
I can't tell you how good I feel right now - I want to sing and dance and break open some champagne! But I'll go clean the house, change the A/C filter, and get ready for the work week, knowing I still have TWO dogs, at least for a while longer.
So, when I wrote that this afternoon I was feeling positive but resolved to nurse a dog back from the brink of death, hand feeding him, coaxing him to eat as much as he could. Yeah.
I baked chicken breasts instead of doing them in the crock pot, which takes longer and apparently isn't as tasty as baked. Point taken, sir. Tonight I minced some small bites of baked chicken and offered it to He Who Just Left Death's Door. He polished it all off like a tiny starved wolf, without any hand feeding needed. Came back for seconds. Wistfully asked for thirds. Seriously, this dog ate more for dinner tonight than he'd eaten in the last two weeks.
I'm not saying that he was just tired of my cooking..I didn't imagine that he was this close to death. On Friday evening the vet was just throwing a Hail Mary pass with the meds and fluids, while gently saying he was dying. The vet tech gently told me (over and over) that they were there for me, and I should call when I need them. I was awake basically all night on Friday, listening to him whimper, petting him to comfort him. Then there was that seizure thing, and his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth like a limp rag. My daughter and Miss D visited. My daughter saw his condition. She's the one who said I had to withdraw any extra ICU type care, and let nature take its course. He'd either recover or not. At first it sure looked like not. Midday today it all turned around. Go figure.