Cancer of the brain?
That tic I found a few months ago...did that do something horrible to her? We should've brought her in immediately after we found it.
We should have.
Why. Why? Why didn't we?
I should have brought her in last week when it started. The drooling. The not eating. The depression that seemed to have deepened since.
The should have's. The why's.
What, what, what??? Could be going on with my 7 year old pup?
The vet finally entered the room and Riley came right over and propped her chin on my knee waiting for a pat.
A familiar gesture that made me want to weep.
"She seems to have facial paralysis."
I swallowed and blinked backed my tears that wanted so desperately to fall.
I absentmindedly stroked my pup's soft, golden head, the thick drool from her mouth seeping through my jeans. My annoyance at this drooling for the past few days quickly dissipating. Seeming so petty. She's my girl, the only other female I have in my household and yes, she is a dog. But. She is part of our family. She was good 'practice' for us before we had our boys, though nothing compares to the world of newborns we had to train her, taking her outside throughout the night to ensure no accidents, sleepless nights when she got sick. The one time when she was hit by a car was absolutely devastating. But she made it. She survived it.
She's been so good to us. So wonderful with our children.
If she could survive getting hit by a car. Surely...surely she would get through this.
I needed her to make it through again.
"What does that mean...exactly?" My voice sounded thick. Shaky.
"We're not sure. I've never seen a case like this before. It could be her thyroid but looking at her weight and profile that's unlikely. It could be idiopathic...which means there is no reason for it. If it doesn't clear up within a week, her facial normalcy returning is unlikely."
It had been almost a week already. And it wasn't getting better. It was getting worse.
It could spread. It may not. It could still go away. It may not.
I blindly paid for the way too expensive eye drops because she couldn't even blink normally and made my way to the truck. I helped her into the back of the vehicle, kissing the top of her head a few times. Then a few times more, scratching the back of her ears, massaging her neck.
Talking softly to her, reassuring her she would be okay.
She would be okay.
She had to.
This is what I kept telling myself in contrast to all the dark, horrible images of her leaving us. Too soon. Far too soon.
I sat in the parking lot. In the truck. My hands on the steering wheel.
I saw nothing but a blur.
And then the tears flowed freely. Soaking the front of my jacket. I could no longer hold in my sobs.
This cannot be happening.
I cried all the way home.
And then I cried some more, recalling all the times I got mad at her for destroying the kid's toys. Yelling at her for being a nuisance. Making her stay outside because it was easier than dealing with her rambunctious nature with the boys.
Then the memories came.
The first time I saw her as a wee puppy, eyes barely open, stumbling around. Love at first site.
The first time I held her. She really was my first baby. Our fur baby.
I was the one that spent the time teaching her tricks. The fun stuff. How to speak, shake a paw, sit pretty. She never did get fetching. Or roll over.
Our first walks together when the only way I could get her to walk on a leash was to run beside her.
The winter walks as she romped and rolled in the snow. Winter is her favourite season by far.
How protective she was of Adrian as a baby. She'd sleep curled up beside him as he napped in the car seat, the pac 'n play. At my feet as he slept in my arms. Keeping my toes oh so toasty.
The first weeks of sleepless nights when Aidy was a newborn. Walking into our bedroom as I nursed him in the early hours of the morning, looking just as tired as we did. John and I laughing at how tired she looked.
Yes, dogs can look tired.
Watching her swim. Just for the sake of swimming, no sticks to catch, no ball to chase after.
Chasing ducks on the beach. Bunnies in our backyard. Though never would she purposefully harm another animal. Truly. She wouldn't know how.
The sweetest dog that ever was. The sweetest by miles.
Everyone says when you have your first child, your dog, that was your whole world once upon a time, becomes just that. A dog.
And while this, no doubt, is true, she is still an integral part of our family.
A huge part of our family memories that will go down in time.
And so there I went dealing with the sickness of my dog. Our family pet.
Giving her eye drops as often as I remembered which wasn't often as it should have been. Massaging her face and her eyes, dealing with the grossness of the drooling that streaked our floors, a daily ritual of cleaning it up off of her, the walls, the furniture and the floors. My 4 year old constantly telling me that her mouth needed to be wiped. Finley pointing out "mess". The matted fur on her chest from all the saliva.
She smelled. Bad.
She needed desperately to be groomed. But what was the point? The drool from from her slackened jaw would continue....
And then, miraculously, a few weeks ago...slowly, bit by bit the drooling stopped. She started to blink. Her eyes seemed brighter.
She had the skip to her hop back.
Just. Like. That.
We have no idea what could have happened to her. Animal Bell's Palsy? Not sure. Possible. I try not to think about it and just hope it never comes back.
But she is back. Riley Girl is back. She's aged a few years in the past couple of months. It took a toll. I've no doubt she was seriously depressed, wondering why her body had betrayed so.
She's been groomed. She's feeling good. Better than she has in a while. She's happy.
And we've never been happier.
Our whole family is still intact.
|She was so protective of him....still is.|
| Truly bonded|