1 and 2. Ringo and Emergency Vets. It has been a rough 24 hours. Ringo has had chronically wonky belly most of his life, a combination of his response to stress, eating stuff he shouldn’t, and a lot of allergies we weren’t aware of until he was already seven years old. So when he gets one now, we don’t get super concerned right away, as some of the time it clears up on its own and typically doesn’t impact his activity level or quality of life, and when he needs support from medication or a bland diet, etc., he gets that and gets better.
Yesterday, we suspected he wasn’t feeling great, but I walked him and he ate his breakfast and kept it down, so we were prepared for another few days of a wonky belly but no big deal. However, hours later, he threw up a few times and did other stuff you don’t want to hear about and it was clear he didn’t feel good, couldn’t get comfortable. Many calls back and forth between our regular vet and a quick test led to “feed him a bland diet and keep an eye on him, let us know if it gets worse.” He wasn’t interested in eating and clearly didn’t feel good, but we were about to go to bed, thinking we’d all get a good night’s sleep and reassess in the morning.
Instead, after his last potty break before bed, I found myself googling “purple diarrhea dog” and getting the result “acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome, also know as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis” and “can be fatal if not treated” and off to the emergency vet we go. We luckily got a doctor who had just gone through the same with her own dog over the summer and reminded me of my favorite neighbor who just moved earlier this year, so I felt really good about her treatment plan and leaving him in her care. And that’s what we did, left him overnight.
After a night where neither one of us slept very good, I called to check on Ringo and got the news that he was doing really well, keeping down food, nothing coming out of either end that shouldn’t be, was much more comfortable and we could come pick him up and take him home, with meds and a home treatment plan. He whined in the car on the way home as usual, came in and got a drink, ran outside and rolled in the grass, sniffed around and peed, and ran back inside to headbutt me and then get on the couch and start digging and humping the pillows — I have never been so happy and grateful in response to his usual misbehavior. For at least the next week or two, he can be as bad as he wants to be and I’ll be grateful for it.
So many things I’m grateful for: that we live somewhere that has multiple options for 24/7 vet care, that we have the ability to pay for that care, that those providing it are both knowledgeable and kind, that this particular condition has an effective treatment, that the first doctor we saw reminded me so much of someone I love and trust so I felt at ease and could trust her too, that she’s just been through the same with her own dog so gave Ringo the same options and awareness, that all the staff were so kind, and that Ringo responded so well to treatment and could come home, is clearly feeling so much better, AND if for some reason he starts to slip, we have access to what he’ll need to heal.
I’m also grateful for my own therapy and medication, because this is the sort of thing that in the past would have led initially to a panic attack, followed by extreme anxiety that left me feeling physically sick and unable to eat or sleep for days. This time, none of that happened, and it feels like some sort of miracle. Yes I was concerned and I felt sad. I hate to see my dogs suffer and be unable to immediately fix it, make it go away. And yet, this time I kept it together, didn’t fall apart, and that proof of the hard work I’ve been doing and all those who’ve helped me do it makes me so grateful.
3. Morning walks. Last week was peak fall and this week, winter arrived. Our first snow was so minor that if you’d slept past 8 am you wouldn’t have known it even happened. It rained that morning until almost 11 am, so we were on a rain delay, and when we got out, many of the leaves were now on the ground. The next morning, it was 28 degrees and frosty, so it really felt like winter had come. On that walk, the calm before the storm with Ringo, we saw an owl, heard another, saw a heron multiple times, and the small herd of white-tailed deer.
4. Good friends. I got to hang out with my three favorites recently, laughed and cried, and was reminded how special they all are, how much I love them and am loved by them.
5. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. It is so good to have a partner like Eric, both when things get hard and when they are easy. I’m especially grateful that the three of us all all here together today, safe and sound with love all around (sorry, I couldn’t help it 🙂 ).
Bonus joy: grapefruit bubbly water, marionberry jam, my favorite purple hoodie that is so soft (they market it as “the softest hoodie ever”), pay day, the weekend, writing in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, my infrared heating pad, the hoot of an owl, other people’s dogs and kids, painting, the ability to keep in touch through text and social media, all the people who love and care for Ringo, antianxiety meds, down blankets and pillows, laundry, pasta, cheese, bird in the feeder, a warm shower, Wild Writing, physical therapy, green tea, meditation, my weighted blanket, good neighbors, halloween decorations, green grapes, muffins, reading in bed at night while Ringo and Eric sleep (I’m going to appreciate this last one especially tonight).