Monday, June 17, 2013

Just to Start

"We're looking at $800 today, just to do x-rays, start an I.V. and do some blood tests to see where we're at. That's just to start."

That's what the vet said. It was two days after our house fire and I had spent most of the night awake calling emergency vets and praying our big dog would make it through the night. The emergency vets didn't want to see him because they didn't have an oxygen tent to fit him and they were sure he needed oxygen. His nasal passages were swollen and his throat was inflamed. He was seriously dehydrated. I looked at him, staggering in front of me, his eyes pleading for help.

I choked back tears as I asked the vet "is he going to live?" "I hope so" he said. Um...that's not a good answer for $800. I knew that was only the starting fee. I thought about it for a brief moment and said " what you need to... my kids have lost everything. We are NOT losing this dog."

We have no idea how long the dogs had been trapped in the burning house, but when the Big Guy tentatively opened the front door, the smoke had almost reached the floor. He tried to enter the house to reach the dogs but it was impossible. We know from the fire report that it was just over 12 minutes from the initial 9-1-1 call to the point the fire was reported as knocked down.  Sometime close to knocked down, the big dog was rescued. 

He was rescued a little later than our yellow lab. The firemen couldn't carry him out in his kennel the way they did the lab because is kennel is enormous. They were probably reluctant to open the kennel and really...who could blame them? They did open the door and he couldn't walk down the stairs. Two firemen carried out our disoriented 125 lb. Jai. According to the report, he received oxygen and I've heard that a family member put wet blankets on him to help cool him down. 

Both dogs received emergency care the night of the fire- steroid injections, oxygen, and a good mouth cleaning. There I was 2 days later with Jai, desperately in need of more care. The vet was right. What he needed that day was just a start. He required long-term antibiotics for pneumonia and medications for all sorts of tummy troubles. Then there were antibiotics for a skin infection. Then pneumonia. Then skin. And so on. 

His immune system is shot. His lungs are damaged. His fur falls out in patches from time to time. He periodically drains our bank account with surprise vet bills. 

But he is here, with us. And for that, we are thankful. He is lovingly known at the groomer and the vet as the fire rescue. 

We love him to pieces. Even if he did just set us back another $267. I wonder if we could sell that beautiful fur to recoup some cash? He doesn't seem to be hanging onto it. It's just yucking up the rug and plugging the vacuum cleaner. Great Pyrenees knitting yarn anyone?