Lessons in gratitude


This is a repost from my photography blog. It has been a really long week. Flocko did great, we will know more after the biopsy results.

My pity party that I was so good at ended promptly when I saw the three deep scratches across the hood of Karen’s car. It was only a three-hour drive from Bend to Salem over the mountains, and it only took her a split second to fall asleep at the wheel and drift into the oncoming lane. She was lucky, only a row of mailboxes stood in her path. I don’t even like to think about the other possibilities.

My pity party started one week ago. The cytology report came back on Flocko’s lump. It was malignant and it had to go. Flocko was dog number three since June to have the evil “C” word. Why was it happening again?

By Saturday I had chilled and then the whole toy thing happened. Sara was playing with Timber’s stuffy. She was having a blast and so cute and she jumped and shook the toy. Jillian ran by and snarked at her, nothing big. Slinky ran behind Jillian and Sara lashed out. The minute I yelled she backed off, it was only bite at the neck. Greyhounds have such thin skin anyway, so the tear in the skin on the shoulder wasn’t a complete surprise, but it the size of a 50 cent piece and I ran out to clean out my car so that I could run her over to the emergency vet for a couple of stitches. It took me minutes to clean out the car, run back into the house and Karen said she was coming with me. A pool of blood the size of a grapefruit had collected under Slinky chin beneath the skin. We called the emergency vet, only five minutes away, from the car. There was a mis-communication and we thought we would have to drive to Portland, I told Karen to call our vet and see where she suggested we go.

Our vet offered to meet us the clinic and a vet tech arrived shortly after we got there. Within the hour, Slinky was having emergency surgery. One of her larger blood vessels had been completely severed. Karen and I were so thankful to have Slinky in the hands of such a skilled surgeon, so quick on her feet and so willing to help at a moments notice and at an odd hour of the day.

Sometime after midnight we transported Slinky to the emergency clinic where she stayed until Tuesday morning receiving absolutely the best of care. We could not have asked for more. When I took her into our vet clinic Tuesday morning, they told me she was ready to go home.

On Monday afternoon, Karen and I took a few dogs out to the boarding facility we use. I called on a moments notice and Lisa graciously said she would take our youngsters. I knew we would need a quiet house for the two healing dogs. When we got home, Karen hopped in the car and headed to Bend to work.

Slinky was doing so well Tuesday afternoon. I am still thrilled by how well she is doing.

Tuesday night, I had a real quick session in the studio and when I came back into the house, I realized that Barney had collapsed and was having a hard time breathing. I have always wondered how I would react if I were at home alone, and an emergency occurred with one of the dogs. Would I be able to carry one of the greyhounds out to the car by myself and not panic? I often joke that Karen is the nurse and I’m the artist, but really, it isn’t that much of a joke. Much to my amazement, I never gave it a second thought. I scooped him up, got him out to the car and was on my way back to the emergency vet within minutes.

They met me at the door and were wonderful with him as they triaged his condition. By the time I left for the evening, he was stable and really looking good. I fully expected to pick him up the next morning and he would walk back into the house. That was not to be. By gurney he left the emergency clinic and by gurney he entered our clinic.

I dropped him off and ran home to get Flocko, it was Wednesday and he was scheduled for his surgery. Flocko’s surgery was uneventful. The tumor was removed and we are waiting for the biopsy results.

Karen left Bend early that day so that she could get home to see Barney one more time.

Barney’s heart was letting go. In all fairness to Barney, he was nearly 15 years old and he had been strong and vibrant right up to Tuesday night. We have always believed in quality over quantity and Barney had both. His life was great. He was happy and healthy and enjoyed the acre many times every day. Now he was tired and with sorrow in our hearts we held his paw and told him how much we loved him as he left us for more happy adventures.

I look back over the last seven days. I no longer linger in the pity party, I don’t ruminate in the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. I am so grateful and thankful for all of the things that went right. So many things could have gone horribly wrong but they didn’t. We were surrounded by compassionate and skilled care from our own veterinarians and staff at Companion Pet Care North Salem and from the veterinarians and staff atSalem Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They got our babies through the worst of times.

Karen could have crossed into oncoming traffic, but there wasn’t anybody coming, she was so, so lucky.

Our sweet friends Becky and Steve brought us a couple of exceptionally good meals to help get us through.

Lisa made room to board a few dogs for us so that we would have a little quieter house for the healing dogs.

Yes, today is a new day and it is a good day.


6 Replies to “Lessons in gratitude”

  1. Oh WOW! What a week. Things definitely could have been worse. Now that I’m ‘middle-aged’ I tend to have the ‘it coulda been worse’ view of things. Just appreciative everyday I get up. Hope everyone is over the trauma of last week, and healing up quickly. Barney lived a fun full life on the acre.

  2. So sorry you lost Barney, but so pleased Slinky was ok after such a lethal injury.

    Also thankful that Karen is ok.

    Barney will be chasing the girls at The Bridge and I know my Song will be flirting back:)

  3. wow-molly and I can really identify with you all and slinky’s bleeding event! from what I know and read on your blog you and Karen give your hounds a gift-every day is a greyt day and full of promise. I hope barney catches up with jan and says “hi!”.

  4. Wow! You folks burned up a lot of energy and emotion during all that! So sorry that Barney couldn’t live forever, but am so glad he had you for the 15 years. To Flocko, Slinky, and Karen… I’m glad you’re still alive to love each other.

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