A week ago last Friday, our dog Lucy came down with Vestibular Syndrome, which has symptoms that closely resemble a stroke. Her eyes flicked back and forth, her head drooped to one side, and when she tried to walk she either staggered in a tight little circle or fell over completely. She emptied her stomach, seemed to have little control of her bladder, and a steady stream of drool dripped from her mouth. But the vet at the Emergency Clinic assured us she would recover, and so we brought her home and did our best to keep her safe and comfortable. It was hard to see her struggling, and I admit I had some real doubts about her quality of life.
But it turned out that the vets were right. Her head still tips to the right and she is still not as steady on her feet (paws) as we would like, but all the other symptoms have disappeared. She’s not only eating again, but she seems to have total recall of all the meals she missed when she was too sick to eat. Furthermore, she’s made it very clear that we still owe her those meals and she’d like them served immediately. She is back to giving me the “stink eye” when I don’t give her what she wants, and yesterday I caught her trying to dig a hole in the back yard. Believe me, if Lucy is trying to be bad, then Lucy is very close to being back to normal.
I truly wish my dog hadn’t gotten sick. I would have rather not thrown out two perfectly good dog beds because she peed on them before we figured out the trick of placing a puppy training pad between the mattress and the cover. I didn’t want to spend so much time worrying about if she would recover, and the decisions we would have to make if she didn’t. Most of all, I didn’t want her to suffer, physically or mentally. Which makes it all the more surprising that, when I look back on the past ten days, what I mostly feel is gratitude.
I’m grateful to have access to an Emergency Vet Clinic, and even more grateful to Lucy’s regular vet, who took the time on a busy Saturday morning to answer all my questions and reassure me that we were doing the right thing to give Lucy a chance. I’m especially grateful for the kindness and support we received from so many people, whether it was in person, on the phone, or on-line. It helped to hear from people whose own dogs had suffered from Vestibular Syndrome and fully recovered, and it was incredibly comforting to know that so many people cared.
I hadn’t realized just how much I had taken for granted in my life until Lucy got sick. I didn’t fully appreciate how many good, kind, and helpful people I know and what a true gift those relationships are. It’s so easy to get caught up with life’s troubles, both big and small, that we overlook the good things that are right in front of us, day in and day out. Which is why I’m glad that the events of the past week forced me to recognize that I have so much in my life to be grateful for. And I’m hoping that I have sense enough to remember it.