Tell the Truth

My dogs tell time.
Two minutes after 6 am is when they start barking if we decide to sleep in, and their wishful thinking starts at 4:30 for the usual 6 pm supper.

Dropping the boy at church camp and doing a movie after got us home late last night for the routine.

The old dog, Annie, is 12 1/2 in black Labrador years, and we have seen her age these past 6 months. She naps more, labors to breathe, and has had trouble with her hips.

I thought we were going to lose her last night.
At first she appeared as a soccer player who just took a ball to the solar plexus, trying to pull in the air that just will not pass through to the lungs. Her tongue was ashen, she was off balance, and simply didn’t look right.

Eric said, “She looks like she is having an asthma attack.”

Annie and our younger dog Sadie haven’t had an all out brawl in almost a year, but when Sadie sensed the weakness in Annie she attacked. We got them apart quickly, primarily because Annie just lay there and did not herself engage in the warfare. Thank God bleeding was not an added factor to the already stressful situation.

8:00 on a Sunday night is not a good time for your dog to get sick when you live in rural Maine.
The closest, open, vet hospitals are at least 40 minutes away.

We have the most amazing friends.
One of the mom’s of our karate students is a K-9 police officer, and her husband is a dispatcher. Both have medical training and excellent decision making skills under pressure. They live down the hill and were in our yard within minutes of getting a text message.

The four of us sat on the grass with Annie deciding what to do. Initially a trip to Scarborough seemed like the best option. But ultimately Annie improved enough for us to wait until today to go see the vet.

Throughout the night Eric and I took turns checking in and snuggling in with Annie.

We woke up this morning to a food reward dog that didn’t really want breakfast; unheard of. A vibrant guard dog who didn’t lift her head when we came into the room; unthinkable. I thought we might lose Annie by the end of the week.

The beginning of the Kid story.
My son would be so devastated. As far as he knew his dog was happy and healthy-ish. But what if he returned from camp and Annie was gone?

This would tarnish his love for church camp. He would forever link the sadness of losing his dog to the process of going away.

My solution.
Annie and I went for a road trip; off to church camp so Nick could say goodbye.

He was immersed in his day and surprised to see me. I explained that Annie had scared me last night and I thought that he should know, “She could last the week or a month. I don’t know.”

He nodded, gave Annie a hug and rushed off to get back to his friends and lunch in the dining hall.

We only spent about 45 seconds together but I felt 1000 times better.

The camp director kindly offered to call me if my son seemed distressed, if the information sinks in and makes him sad. I don’t think that will be the case, but if it is I let him know that I trust him and the staff to help him through those feelings as a family and a community.

“I wanted him to be aware. So that if I call you later this week it won’t be a surprise. We have had a strong family tradition of being honest with our kids. And saying goodbye to the ones we love.”

The prayers have already helped!

The end of the dog story.
Vet says, Laryngeal Paralysis. Treatment is to keep Annie calm and cool. Thank God! This is way better than all of the things we had imagined.

Posted in Black Belt Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *