Sunday, April 15, 2012.
I was awoken at 7:30am by my panicked husband running through our bedroom, yelling for me to wake up. “Get up! Get up! I need your help! Roxi cut herself!” He quickly ran back out and I was left in total groggy confusion. As I’ve mentioned before, it takes me time to get out of bed so there I was, tightening and clenching my fists and feet as fast as I could to get the blood flowing so that I could
jump roll out of bed. My first thought was to grab our first aid kit to use the gauze inside to wrap up our dog’s “cut.” I ran to where Dominic had her laying down on our dining room floor by the back door. Dominic is completely panicked still, saying “Oh my god! Holy s#!t…f@#k! Oh my god!” When I saw Roxi, my eyes nearly popped out of my face. This was no “cut.” Her left hind leg had its skin practically peeled off! I was staring right at her muscle and the side of her abdomen…with no skin attached. How in the world did this happen?! I had about a 10 second freak out before I quickly realized that Dominic wasn’t pulling himself together and that I needed to do so for the both of us. He said, “What do we do? Who do we call? WHAT DO WE DO?!” The first thing that came to mind was that my mom has had quite a few emergencies with her cats and so I told him, “I’ll stay here with her, after you get dressed, put a bunch of towels down in my car so that we can lay her down there, I’ll call my mom and ask where to take her.” Roxi remained calm, she didn’t whimper, whine or make a sound. Curiously…and luckily, she wasn’t bleeding. Dominic came back and picked up all 85 lbs of our dog and carried her carefully to the car and laid her down. It was then that this pregnant gal moved faster than any other pregnant gal has in her 40th week of pregnancy! I got dressed and was in the car before you knew it and we were headed over to Eagle Rock Emergency Pet Clinic. Both my mom and Roxi’s regular veterinarian recommended we go there. I had called them, too, to let them know we were on our way. On the drive over, the only conclusion we could come to, explaining how she could have done this, was that she ran past a piece of metal sticking out of our chain linked fence that divides our yard from our neighbors, and sliced/ripped her leg’s skin. She was down there barking at the neighbor’s dog during her morning bathroom break. Dominic heard her bark only a few times and then…silence. He knew something wasn’t right, went to check on her outside and saw her limping up the hill.
We arrived at the Pet Clinic and had to wait about 15 minutes before they let us in a room. Roxi and I waited in the car in the meantime. When it was time to head in, they offered us no help in carrying her inside. She stood on top of their metal examination table for a few more minutes before someone came in to take her temperature (anally). It was here that I snapped a few photos of her gruesome injury. They are not recommended for viewing if you have a weak stomach, but you can see them HERE, HERE and HERE. I’ll be honest, it looked even worse in person. Now take your hands away from your dropped jaws, and let’s continue. We had to wait a few more minutes for the main doctor to come in and look at her. Roxi gave a slight growl when the doc opened the door, and even though Dominic was holding Roxi and said she wouldn’t bite, the doc insisted on putting a muzzle on her before she even came into the room (which took her a few minutes to casually find). The staff had a hippie-vibe with rings on all their fingers and were way too mellow and laid back for my liking in our situation. When the doctor did come in, she saw Roxi’s injury and said, “Wow, that’s bad. That’s really bad.” Um…yeah lady, clearly it is. Where’s your bedside manners?? Can you offer us any comfort and reassurance that she’ll be okay, now? She basically told us that she didn’t think their clinic would be able to assist us and she referred us to the Animal Specialty Group in Glendale.
We hauled Roxi back into the car and immediately felt like we were at the right place when we pulled up in front of the building. We were just getting out of the car when a technician came out with an animal gurney to wheel Roxi into their emergency room. The waiting room resembled a hospital’s waiting room and the staff came out frequently to notify us of her condition and how they were taking care of her while we waited. We had a surprise visit by my stepdad during our wait. He showed up to offer moral support AND he covered the really expensive down payment to perform the surgery Roxi was to undergo later that day. Tears almost came down my face when he offered that. I was at a loss for words other than “thank you so much.” We’re pretty lucky to have such a great support team on our side. Roxi is really lucky to have such a loving family. After talking with the actual surgeon who was going to fix our puppy, we left the clinic with only Roxi’s dog collar in hand. It was a pretty sad ride home.
When we got home, it didn’t take long for Dominic to discover what had happened. Unknown to us, there are rusted and sharp metal stakes that are sticking up out of the ground along a small hillside in our backyard. They used to support pieces of wood which helped to support the ground. Dominic found one stake that had Roxi’s hair attached to it’s sharp edge. She must have ran into the stake at full speed towards the bottom of the hill to bark at the other dog when the stake sliced her leg, hooked on, ripping her skin the rest of the way. OUCH!!!!! Slice then rip?! Poor, poor dog. It still gives me chills thinking about it. We got word later that evening that Roxi’s surgery went really well. It couldn’t have went any better, according to the surgeon. They had to clean out the wound and basically just sew her skin back into place, like a plastic surgery type of deal. She didn’t have any serious injuries or internal problems. We were so relieved, but still really missed our puppy girl. Before Dominic and I went to sleep, we took a few minutes to send our love to her and wish her a good night.
After we both worked the next day, we went to the clinic with my mom (for an extra set of ears to listen to directions on how to care for her) to pick up Roxi. I wish I would have recorded their reunion. I’ve never seen a dog more excited to see someone than Roxi was to see her Daddy. She whimpered and whined like no other, her tail was wagging so fast and strong, she even tried to jump up on him and she licked his face so much I thought it just might come off. They both had tears in their eyes. It was pretty heart warming to witness. She was wearing a cone around her head, there was a big pink, camouflaged bandage that looks like a cast on her leg and a mesh t-shirt around her body that holds a suction drain in place. The tech went over all of the discharge instructions with us, which we were given in a 3 page packet to follow when we get home. We were really impressed with how detailed and clear they are. She is to have limited activity for the next 2 weeks. No running, jumping or playing. Her medications include 3 different pills that are taken throughout the day and into the early morning. A pain relief patch is bandaged around her paw and is to stay covered up. Her drain is to be emptied 3-4 times a day using a plastic syringe to suck it out. We have to record the time of day and the amount of fluid extracted. It’s to prevent a build-up of fluid in her injury and air bubbles from forming so that her skin can heal and reattach itself back to her muscle. We are to see the doctor again on Friday for a recheck and will have her sutures removed in 10-14 days. What a lot of work! Monday was my last day at work, my first official day of maternity leave and now it appears it’s my first day of around-the-clock puppy care. Just take a look at our new schedule:
- 12am- drain fluid (3-4 times a day)
- 3am – 2 antibiotic pills, orally (every 8hrs)
- 6am – 2 pain pills, orally (every 8hrs)
- 6am – drain fluid again
- 10am- 1 anti-inflammatory pill (every 12 hrs)
- 11am- antibiotics again
- 12pm- drain fluid again
- 2pm- pain pills again
- 6pm- drain fluid again
- 7pm- antibiotics again
- 10pm- pain pills again
- 10pm- anti-inflammatory pill again
- 12am -REPEAT this schedule!!!
Our first evening as her caregivers was horrendous. She refused food completely at first. We’re supposed to mask the pills in food and feed them to her, or shove them in the back of her throat, close her mouth and make her swallow. Which one sounds easier to you? Well neither do when she won’t even eat. We were told that her pain pills are extremely bitter and even the slightest taste on her tongue will cause her to foam at the mouth and water excessively. Well, of course, we tried masking these 2 pills in balls of cheese and our efforts failed. She’s very smart and will eat the cheese around the pill and then spit out the pill. In doing so, she tasted it. They were right, she foamed and watered and shook her head constantly to get rid of it all, splashing me with her drool. Over the period of the night, she threw up 3-4 times. She was miserable. We were miserable and felt defeated. This difficulty with her pills continued through the early morning. I ended up breaking down at the end of the night, balling my eyes out over the stress of it all. I had been so much looking forward to my maternity leave to finally “nest”, rest and organize. This is not how I wanted to spend my last few days, week or more before my baby comes. This…is life. Dominic was there to then comfort me and try to lift my spirits the best he could. We’re really going to need to rely on and support each other during this stressful time. So far, we’ve been a pretty good team. Just one more thing to make us stronger.
Today, I stayed home with her while Dominic went to work. I don’t know why or how, but I’ve managed to give her all of her meds without ANY trouble from her all day. So there is a light at the end of this tunnel. She threw up only once. She had a little anxiety at points of the day, being separated from Dominic for so long. Once he returned home, she was able to fully relax. So was I.
We hope that each day gets better and better. We also hope that baby Mia doesn’t decide to come for a little while longer. Wish us luck!
*Edit on 4/18/12: I forgot to mention that the Animal Specialty Group where Roxi had her surgery is by referral only from your regular vet, when and if they’re not able to accommodate you. As far as I know, you can’t just show up there randomly for assistance. Some of you have asked for more info on this place so I would definitely call them before heading over. They deal with major surgeries, internal medicine, Oncology, Radiology, Neurology, critical care, physical rehabilitation, and alternative medicine. Once your pet no longer needs care from them, then it’s back to your usual vet. Here’s their contact info: 818-244-7977 and are located at 4641 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90039
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