Our turbulent start to 2021

I woke up New Year’s Day feeling like this year would be a good one. I was in a great mood (with no hangover in sight thanks to our very mellow New Year’s Eve at home) as I bounced down the stairs eager for a cup of coffee and a quiet Friday taking down Christmas decor to discover to Russell throwing up, shaking, and urine that looked like straight blood. Getting worked up to the point of getting sick isn’t uncommon for him following a lot of ruckus, and New Year’s Eve around our neighborhood was full of ruckus (ugh, airBnBs.) but the blood had me on high alert and he was so lethargic and clearly not comfortable.

I woke Tate up and we spent the next hour tag-teaming to call nearly every pet hospital in the city as well as some as far as Columbus we found out every one had a 4-6 hour wait. I’m not sure if it was the fact it was New Years Day or covid staffing issues but it was absolutely crazy.


We eventually decided on one on the north side of Indy that came highly recommend by neighbors and a vet tech friend of mine from high school whom I had reached out to and immediately loaded him up in the car

As soon as I handed him over to the vet tech to be taken into triage and get his vitals and await his turn for the doctor to see him andddd I lost my shiz. We both did. I hated leaving him behind, he never does well in unfamiliar places (especially the vet), even when he feels like his normal self. I just kept imagining him alone and so freaked out, on top of his ailments.

We anxiously waited by the phone and that evening got heartbreaking news that they had done an X-ray which showed what appeared to be a large mass or tumor in his pelvic area, in addition to a suspected severe infection of his urinate tract. On the phone, we had to choose to put him down or have them hook up an IV and see what would unfold over night.

Being a (we suspect) 12-14 year old dog I’ve always said I never wanted him to be in pain or suffer but something was just telling me to throw the little dude this Hail Mary. Tate and I talked it over and knew we had to at least try to let him heal. We both suffered an incredibly restless night with emotions running high, wondering if he’d even pull through the night.

A little after 6am Saturday the vet called, saying he was hooked up to an IV and resting comfortably, waiting for the ultrasound. Tate and I had a lot of long talks going over the various scenarios and came to the agreement that if the prognosis following the ultrasound was the same as the X-ray and he had much deeper issues than an infection that we would make arrangements to be able to properly say goodbye to him and let him fly high.

As you can imagine most of Friday night and Saturday was spent in a daze, breaking down anytime I’d have to walk by his bed or really just let my mine wander too far.

I immediately regretted all the times I complained about him in the kitchen constantly underfoot as I was cooking, always begging for vegetable scraps. I broke down thinking he’d never hop up on my footstool expecting me to share as we snuggled in for a night or television-binging.

As was protocol, early Saturday evening the phone rang again. I let Tate answer, unsure if I could even handle speaking.

He came back into the room 10 minutes later with his head hung, expression unreadable.

“What is it,” I begged?

“The vet said they finished the ultrasound and saw no signs of tumors” he replied.

Immediately I felt the huge weight being lifted off my shoulders as I let him continue. This was the glimmer of hope we needed. Apparently they did detect evidence of “past trauma”, seeing as how I adopted Russell at the age of 3 and he was incredibly skittish and protective to the point of snapping at you if you tried to touch his back legs or tail I wasn’t surprised to here that.

I had always suspected he had a rough first go at life. We had taught him to trust in all my years with him but it absolutely broke my heart hearing my suspicions confirmed. They did see a few nodules on his bladder but said those didn’t cause much concern and their main focus now was to just continue flushing out his system through the IV and catheter. We authorized them to once again, keep him over night, and spent another 12 hours anxiously awaiting new updates.

By this point we felt more optimistic that maybe it wasn’t our time to say goodbye after all, at least not just yet. Our mood was buoyed even further when Sunday morning’s phone call confirmed his urine was continuing to clear up.

Sunday evening, at 5pm we drove back up to pick up our third musketeer. I’ve experienced a lot of ups and down in life, but this one really served as a reminder to appreciate the time we have together. Whether it’s with fellow humans or four-legged compadres.

While unfortunately we know we aren’t in the clear, we have a strict regiment of antibiotics and pain meds to execute, as well as awaiting urine cultures and any new news that may bring. But for now we are so SO thankful to be able to have Russell back at home, laying peacefully on his rug.

2 thoughts on “Our turbulent start to 2021

  1. Well, I have bawled so I can’t imagine what it was like for you. I realize that I don’t know you or Russell, but I’ve been following your blog for years and feel like I do a little so this broke my heart for you. I hope he continues to improve.

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