About Me

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Winter Springs, Florida, United States
I was school taught for grooming at FIAA, in Winter Park. I have worked at both large corporate grooming salons and small independent ones. Love this profession! I consider myself talented and gentle and love all the pets that come through my door... I have excellent references.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hard Life Lessons...


Just a warning--this is going to be a long blog...

This past week has been one of the hardest that I have had in a long while... A great chihuahua named BB from which belonged to a friend/chihuahua breeder of mine passed away. BB was toward the end of her pregnancy and huge... Chico, my male was the stud that was used to impregnate her. She was carrying 5 beautiful puppies, although neither her owner or myself knew it at the time... Well, my friend was surprised by her hubby with a cruise vacation (she had not had a vacation in more than 5 yrs., let alone been on a cruise). So, BB having been through two previous whelpings with no complications, had to be left in the care of someone she trusted... I learned of her cruise on Mon and accepted taking care of BB. K and her family would leave on the cruise Thur afternoon and not return until Mon morning. I coincidentally had my niece and two nephews over from NM for the week along with my four children and my in laws. Hey, but it's always crazy here--no biggy...

BB came over on Tues, and she was as big as a house; looked like a really heavy sack of potatoes... Wow, was all that could be said. She was not very mobile-hard to get up and go from a laying position. I think of how K would leave my house and not know that it would be the last time she would see BB alive...

BB looked as if she was in a lot of discomfort--but mainly due to the extra weight she was carrying around. For the most part she was in a comfy doggy bed or on the sofa (carried up by us) just resting or sleeping. Nothing was unusual or out of the ordinary. She was eating well and drinking a lot of water and going to the bathroom as usual... Her first night here, she slept in her little pool in the puppy room with Nini, Chico, Canela and Daisy (I checked in on her at 4:30 am--she was fine). In the morning, she waddled out to the pool area and did her thing. Back to the usual laying and sleeping for the rest of the day. Not too much of an appetite, but she did eat some wet food. On Wed. night, I decided I wanted her next to me for the remainder of her days with me, in case something should happen in the night... She was uncomfortable, a few moans here and there when changing positions... "Nothing extraordinary," I thought.
Thursday morning she ate her wet food, pottied, and slept as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary realm of whelping seemed to be going on. She was still for most of the day. The kids took turns at petting her as she slept on the couch. She went out, carried by me, for her potty breaks. Her behind was so heavy, she could not even pick it up to pee--it was flush with the grass. That late afternoon, she had what I thought was a bit of reflux--some watery vomit. I also prepared myself for possibly delivering puppies within the next couple of days. Labor can many times be preceded by a bit of vomiting and loss of appetite. Well, when it came to food time, she did not want to eat. No biggy--maybe the beginning of her whelping the pups??? I wanted her to hold on for day 58--a milestone in the pulmonary development of the puppies. "Please, BB, hold on until Saturday!" I was secretly praying... That night she had a few more watery vomits. More nausea, I thought, than anything. "It will come soon--she is going to blow!" I frighteningly thought.
Well, Friday morning came--she did not want to even smell food. Went to the bathroom- only pee. OK, let's wait--maybe it will be this afternoon? The birth of the pups, that is. Well, in the late afternoon, after having laid most of the day she vomited and I noticed a tinge of blood in it. It was past 6:30 pm and my vet was no longer open. I gave her some more Mylanta and it seemed to help. What ensued was horrific and traumatic for all involved... At, around 4 am (Sat) BB awoke and let out a huge vomit that reeked of pure blood. She immediately became very still, which was probably a seizure, and I thought I had lost her. I was screaming to my husband to help in some way--I felt helpless as I called my close friend/breeder Charlotte. "I think BB has died!!!!" I screamed on the phone. "Can you come with me the Vet ER? The babies need to be saved!!! Hurry over!!!" were my words. Those words are still an echo in my mind... I managed to shove some Karo syrup with a syringe into her locked jaw and it seemed to bring her back to life. "Please, BB, hold on, hold on..."I kept repeating out loud as we drove as fast as we could first to one ER that was closed and then to the Emergency Clinic of Casselberry, only one close by and open. One, I knew from the time I had to rush Baby Girl in for her C-Sec--only that one ended on a much happier note. They knew we were coming and we rushed into a room and explained what had happened.

Charlotte and I waited, uncomfortably at 4:30 am, in a freezing room with tiny benches to hear something about her condition. Thank goodness for good friends... I was a wreck and she was my rock that night. Finally, the doctor on call that night came in to tell us of the situation. BB was in labor--but no sack had peeked through, yet. She was having irregular contractions. Blood work needed to be done. I had to consent to it, being I was taking responsibility since her owner was unreachable at the time. "DO IT! Whatever needs to be done!" was my response. Pray, pray, pray out loud was all Charlotte and I could do---really just open thoughts of her being well was what we were trying vocalize. The Dr. finally came in again to tell us that BB's blood work was the PITS! Her pH level was too low, which made her blood & body acidic--OMG, how much more! Well, her sugar and calcium levels were all off too! She would need a C-Sec, could she be spayed? Well, no, I am not her owner--can't make that kind of decision... But, before her C-Sec, she would need to be stabilized with the fluids. So, at 8 am there was no Dr. to operate on her--could this get any worse??? Well, I had to take her to my vet, Dr. Hill, in Casselberry also who luckily opens on Sat--Thank God for Dr. Hill, or else BB and her puppies would have been buried together.

I went home and closed my eyes for an hour--mind you I had not really slept well all night for the past two nights, hearing BB's uncomfortableness--I turned on my night light to check on her being nervous about her condition; did that the previous two nights. At 7 am I was back at the ER picking BB up, by myself. Well, they handed her over to me and she had a sack that was very much protruding--NOOOOOO! "Just carry her gently and try not to touch the sacks." Easier said than done... I was not going to put her on a seat, so she was in my lap as I was trying to drive to my vet who would not be in for another hour. "Carlos, get my whelping kit over to me! I am in Dr. Hill's parking lot. BB is going to start having puppies on me here!" I screamed over the phone to a very groggy husband of mine. He could not get there fast enough in my mind. BB was pushing but, with very little strength. "SOMEBODY HELP!" I nervously chanted in my head. There was no one around and no Carlos, yet. Finally, I saw the receptionist drive in. "Julia!" I screamed. "Come help!" In we went. Carlos also arrived.

Luckily, all her paperwork had been faxed over by the ER so, they had her blood work in hand. She was rushed to the back. Dr. Hill came out to tell me--he would continue to stabilize her with fluids and see if she could deliver on her own. She still needed the fluids for a bit before he could even consider putting her under anesthesia. By this point, I was thinking this was all a bad dream that I would wake out of... It was 8:30 am Sat morning. BB could not be touched until around 11:30 am--Dr. Hill phoned to say that he waited as long as he did because he thought he would instantly loose her on the table, just by her lethargic look. But, by 11:30 am or so, she seemed to have perked up from the fluids. She had 5 puppies via C-Sec, four of which were completely fine. One puppy was still being worked on to get him to breathe regularly. He was a tri-color (black, white and tan) male, beautiful with a bit of a cone head;first one in the birth canal it seemed. Well, he came home along with BB and the rest of her pups to my house. I picked BB up at around 2pm. All seemed fine. BB was out of it, due to the anesthesia... We all took turns at working on the tri-colored male, my kids, my niece and nephews. Charlotte came to help. We made BB as warm as possible along with her pups. They all started to suckle. And then, BB convulsed. "Charlotte, stick some Karo in her mouth!" Off to the ER vet we went again. The Karo brought her back to life and it seemed she would be OK... So,we thought.... Into the ER she went; all there were familiar with BB by now. Explained what happened. And they calmly took her to the back.

The Doctor, a different one from the am one this time, came to speak with us. BB would have to remain in the ER until Monday morning. There was no milk in her nipples. The puppies would have to be bottle or tube fed, depending on whether they accepted the bottle or not. Well, they are in good hands we thought... I was EXHAUSTED, mentally more than anything else, by this time... But, I thought, "OK, I'll pick her up on Mon and she will be as good as new. And hopefully, she will start producing milk. The pups will then be able to nurse from her."

Later that Saturday night, at about 8:45pm we got the call--the one that no pet owner wants to ever hear... "BB, has gone into cardiac arrest and has been resuscitated. She is in a coma right now." "And, the tri-colored puppy did not make it." "I'll be right over," I said feeling my stomach sink... "Carlos, she's gone," I cried in pure agony. The tears did not stop for the next day and a half from that point.

BB was laying on a sterile cold steel table, although covered in a towel, connected to an IV and oxygen mask. Her breathing was labored and hard. The gaze in her eyes was vacant. It was one of the saddest animal moments in my entire life. I gushed tears and squeals like a two year old. Hell, I didn't care. The doctor's words seemed so far in the distance--I could barely hear what she was saying. BB could not continue like this. She was comatose and suffering--struggling just to breathe. The humane thing was to euthanize. "What, I shouldn't be the one here to decide this--to see this, to be the last person to hold her!" were the thoughts that deafened my mind... "Can I sit next to her?" "Will it be quick?" "Yes," the Dr. reassured me. "It's an overdose of the anesthesia."

So, I held BB for her last breath of life and cried over her little body. I told her that her owner loved her and would have wanted to be with her. I told her to go in peace to that great place on the other side where she could play, run and sleep all she wanted, when she wanted. It was a very sad scene. I felt guilty for being the one with her at her time of death--I so wanted her to have had K there with her. It was all very conflicting for me. The puppies would remain at the ER until Mon 7 am. It was somewhat of a relief that they would be in their care because I was beaten to a pulp by then...

But, there were 4 pups that were alive and well and needed to have our attention and care. So, on Mon morning Charlotte, Carlos and myself headed over to the ER to pick up the remaining puppies. Two girls and two boys. Beauties... Life had pulled through the gallows of death and was squeaking at us in that box it came home in...

K called later that morning, while the pups were home and being bottle fed and stimulated to urinate/defecate (all that BB would have had to do). K could not even understand me until the end of the conversation--"Wait I am not getting you here. You mean you have 4 live puppies at home with you?" she said quietly. "Yes," I cried "And, they are beautiful."

Well, today is Saturday night, exactly a week after all this transpired. And sadly, there are only the two boys left. But, the happy end here is that Canela had her puppy on the 20th and has taken the boys in as her own. So, they have that good and warm breast milk to thrive on... And thriving they are...

And although, I feel priveledged for BB to have chosen me to be the one there with her in her final hour and feel that I can only be stronger and wiser from this experience--I can sincerely say that I would have much rather learned it by reading it from an article in a magazine authored by someone else...

BB you will be missed...

2 comments:

chi mum said...

Ana,
this was beautifully written.

Heather said...

I'm very sorry to hear what you went through that was a really touching story.