it has taken me a few days to write this post...it has been very difficult and words can not say how I feel.
Five Days ago, a horrific accident befell our dear Tess. I had just gone done putting the chickens away with Tess and she merrily ran up towards the house. She paused then sat down near the house pond. Getty drove from work around 8:30 p.m. and up the driveway and then slowly up to the carport. Suddenly, Tess bolted in front of the SUV before I could say anything to her or Getty. The two wheels on the driver’s side ran over her. It was an accident and no one is to blame.
She never cried but bit my hand in pain when I tried to see what injuries she had and saw her eyes had rolled back. She was trying to get up but we held her down. I then had to run into to the house to get a towel to stop the blood from my hands, where a puncture hit a vein. She got up and clambered a few feet before we grabbed her and wrapped her into a towel. Getty, Kendall and I jumped into the car and raced to the ER vet with Tess in my lap in the back seat. Her gums were white, breathing was shallow and her legs were cold and listless. I begged her to hold on and she bravely lifted her head, opened her eyes and looked at me. She held on.
We rushed to the clinic, the staff rushed out and carried her in the doors. Her breathing was getting worse and I could see the severe pain in her eyes. We waited while they worked on her and soon they came out with the bad news. They were trying to stabilize her but were having problems. Her diaphragm had ruptured and her organs were in the chest area, her lungs were collapsed and the blood oxygen level were dropping to 89/90%. The ER vet told us that she could not do the surgery to save her life and our only hope was Seattle Veterinary Specialists (SVS), which was 15-20 minutes away. The ER vet tried to get the SVS ambulance to come and pick her up but they could not get a crew. Meanwhile Tess was going downhill.
We made the decision to transport her in our car and the ER vet loaned us their oxygen bottle so Tess would get the much need oxygen. Without it, she would die. The ER vet told us that she could die any minute and to be ready for that. She was getting worse by the minute.
We raced out of the parking lot, this time Kendall drove while Getty rode in the back with Tess. Her breathing was labored but she held on. She knew she had to hang on and the game little dog fought tooth and nail to stay.
Tess was rushed into SVS and they worked to stabilize her. They got her oxygen level at 89/90% and her vitals to stay steady, weak at best. They did not want to do surgery until her oxygen level went up and she was more stable. We hoped that she would pull through. The vet came out and told us to go home as they had done all they can. If she stabilized, then surgery would be in the morning. They had done the best they could and we went and gave Tess some kisses and told her to hang on. She was in the oxygen chamber and non-responsive.
It was a long ride home and we cried as we never cried before. Our hearts were torn in half and we prayed she would make it. Tess is the world to us and is our four legged child. We don’t have children and asked for a child, so God sent us Tess. She has brought joy, happiness and enrichment to our lives.
We didn’t sleep at all during the night but I had a feeling she was going to make it. I saw the fire in her eyes, the will to live and the courage to fight. The vet called us in the morning with the good news that her oxygen levels were up and she had stabilized. They were assembling a team together to perform the surgery and wanted to give her more time to stabilize. Finally, at 2:15 that afternoon, she went into surgery. At that time, I was at my doctor to have my fingers examined. My fingers were bitten and the right ring finger was the worse. There might be some damage but we won’t know until the swelling down. During this entire time, we would jump every time the phone would ring. If it rang and it was from SVS, and during the two hour surgery, it would mean bad news.
A little after five we talked to SVS and she had made it through the surgery. The diaphragm had completely ripped and her organs, live etc were thrust forward. If the diaphragm had had a partial tear, she would have died, as it would have ruptured the organs. As it was, they all moved forward without tearing. Her lungs were collapsed and they did not know if they were any damage. Sometimes when a lung collapse and it is re-inflated, part of it will die. This can cause complications.
After the surgery, they said her breathing was much better since the negative pressure in her chest had returned and she didn’t need to be in the oxygen tent anymore. They did an exploratory on her abdomen but didn’t find any other lacerations. They told us the next 24 hours and then the 48 hours were critical and she wasn’t out of the wood yet.
Later that night we visited her. She was on IV pain meds and antibiotics as well as fluids. She gave a feeble nod to Getty then passed out. Her eyes were not there and she was not herself. There was a lot of fluids in her belly and she looked awful we talked to her and caressed her and told her to hang on. The vet tech was very kind and we talked about her. It would be up to Tess at this point as they had done all they could. Tess is a fighter, a very stoic dog and one who never gives up.
We left and again, the night was fitful in sleep. We prayed for her as well as the of the world. It was amazing the emails that poured in from all over the world for Tess. With everyone pulling for her, she would pull through.
Saturday was long and difficult and we kept busy. That evening we went to see Tess again and she was better. Not much but at least she was somewhat responsive. She did recognize us and asked for pets by nudging us. She still was on IV pain and antibiotics and that slowed her down. She finally went to sleep and I put her pink piggy toy next to her head so she would see it when she woke up. She loved her pink piggy and it was her security blanket. She had passed the 24 hr mark and was slowly getting better. It was hard to leave but she was asleep.
On Sunday, I kept busy with lessons and Getty helped finished putting up the disc gold course in town. I called my mom to let her know and she was in shock. I had talked to my brother the day before and asked him not to tell our mother. My mom adores Tess and Tess worships the ground she walks on.
Later that night we went to see Tess again. Audrey joined us and we waited in the examining room. Audrey is Tess’s God-mom and we leaned heavily on her and Monique during the last few days. They walked us through the last few days and helped us in the progress and any questions.
The vet tech told us the Tess was able to walk and urinate. Then she would fall asleep. They had taken the IV and chest tube out, we expected her to be as bad as she was the night before. However, she walked unsteadily into the room and her eyes were clear. She wagged her tail and shuffled to us. Tears came to our eyes and we slipped to the floor to be with her. She put her head next to Audrey and gave heavy sighs. Audrey felt her over and talked to the vet about her progress. Tess was healing, slower than they wanted but she was 13 years old and not a spry two year old. There was a large amount of fluid in her back legs and it was not going away. She wasn’t eating as much as they wanted. We brought her some canned kitty food and she licked the gravy part but didn’t eat any. She was happy to see us and we sat with her for a long time.
It was good to see that she was getting better and better. We hope by this time she would be out of the woods and barring any unforeseen circumstances, she would be going home soon. Getty walked her back to her kennel area and she refused to go in. Obviously, she was feeling well enough to protest. She finally went in but you could tell that she did not want to stay.
If she continued on the rate of improvement, the plan was to take her home on Monday. The night was long and we both went to work on Monday. I don’t remember much about work as it was a daze for me. They called and she was getting better but she had thrown up after she drank They were hoping that she threw up because she drank too fast and too much water. If she would continue to throw up, then that would be an issue. I kept my fingers crossed and later that afternoon, they called and said she had not thrown up again. She was ready to come home that day. Getty got off work and picked her up. She was able to walk to the car and then from the car to the house.
She looked far better but was unsteady on her feet. She was not interested in food so I cooked up some bacon for her. She ate pieces of it so that made us feel better. We had flank steak that night and she ate several small pieces. She dozed off and we all went to sleep. Tess slept in her dog bed next to my side of the bed. Getty got up at 3:00 a.m. to give her pain pill and she fell asleep. When I woke up, she crawled to my side of the bed and was underneath where my hand had hung over. I stroked her head, saw the look of love in her eyes and felt that she was getting better.
Tuesday, I worked from home and she lay on the couch next to me. I took her out to go to the bathroom and give her pills. He eyes were brighter and the swelling in her belly had gone down. She would nudge me here and there and I would caress her. She was a lot more responsive and her eyes would track me as I worked. She managed to eat some canned dog food and part of my lamb burger. She drank water and was a lot more responsive. Her eyes would follow me and she wanted pets. The swelling in her back leg went down just a little.
Today, she is much better. She ate about one cup of Ultimate raw dog food, canned dog food, piece of bacon and some lamb burger grease, all mixed in to tempt her. She also ate some dog treats and part of my lamb burger. She has been on the couch all day next to me while I work. She has been sleeping off and on and then wakes up and wants to be petted. We took breaks and a walk and her hind legs water retention is going down. She even tried to trot. She has managed to navigate the stairs.
It’s going to be a long road before she is well and racing about again but for now, we are happy that she pulled through.