Thursday, February 19, 2009

Such a good dog...

Well, it’s been a bit of a crazy week. When Rick got laid off, we made plans to fly back to Chicago one last time (on Dell’s dime, fortunately) to retrieve the car – we drove it up back in October so Rick would have his own car up there. That way, he didn’t have to rent a car every time he flew up, and he could keep extra shoes/clothes in the car to make packing his little carry-on bag much easier. He had negotiated a great rate at a downtown hotel and found a parking garage a couple blocks away where he could park for 9 dollars a day. That’s outright cheap compared to the 30 or 40 dollars a day most hotels charge.

But anyway, as I was saying, we had plans to fly up to Chicago on Sunday. On Friday night, Echo started acting a bit “off” – panting a lot and not showing any interest in her treats (which are usually her favorite part of the evening). Some time in the middle of the night, she started throwing up – and she was pretty much up all night heaving and pacing and generally not feeling well. So the next day (after steam-cleaning the bedroom carpet…) I kept an eye on her, trying to decide if I should go ahead and go to Chicago, or just let Rick go by himself and hope he didn’t fall asleep trying to drive the car all the way back by himself. But I managed to get her to eat some dinner (although I had to mix her regular hard food with a bit of canned soft food), and she kept it down all night. So we thought she was over her little stomach issue and took her to Rick’s parents’ house Sunday morning on our way to the airport.

Once we got to Chicago, we called for an update and learned that she was refusing to eat ANY of her food. Not even the soft food. Sunday night all she ate was a bit of chicken, so Rick’s mom and my mom took her into the vet on Monday. This is when I wish animals could talk – was something hurting her? Was it her teeth? Her stomach? Was she simply feeling nauseous, or was she in pain? The vet ran some blood tests, and her liver and kidney enzymes were elevated. Her liver enzymes have always been elevated, but usually just slightly – the medication she was on for arthritis is known for raising liver enzymes, so the vet took her off that medicine. But the kidneys are a mystery. She also has a high white blood cell count. But the vet had no definitive answers…

So after another day of barely eating anything (although Rick’s mom was able to coax her into eating some roast beef and a bit of cubed steak…), we made the decision to drive back to Austin as quickly as we could. We had wanted to take our time on the drive back – an easy drive to St. Louis the first day, another easy drive to Oklahoma City the next, and then a nice, pleasant jaunt to Austin on the third day. But after Rick talked to his mom on Tuesday morning, we thought it would be best if we just got home as quickly as we could. Unfortunately, since we’d been planning the “easy” drive, we didn’t make it out of Chicago until around 12:30 that afternoon. Which meant we were driving until 11:30 Tuesday night so we could make it to Tulsa. I don’t know what it is about driving all day that wears me out, but I was exhausted by the time we got to the hotel. (I think it’s worse in the winter, too – because it starts to get dark by 4:30 or 5:00, so then you’re driving in the dark for hours… and dark = sleep… It’s much easier to take a road trip in the summer, because it’s still light at 8 or 8:30…)

But we made it home yesterday afternoon, and have been attending to our poor, sick Echo ever since. The vet gave us some antibiotics and some anti-nausea medication, to see if those might have an effect. That’s a bit difficult, because Echo has never liked taking pills… she’s very sneaky… you can try to get the pill on the back of her tongue and then hold her mouth closed, but as soon as you let go, she just spits the pill out. So you REALLY have to make sure she actually swallows the thing before you let go of her mouth. She’s eaten a bit of chicken, and I actually just managed to feed her some potato, too. Although I had to surround it with chicken first – but I was encouraged, because she was finally acting like she WANTED the chicken. She’s been sort of reluctantly eating the little bits we’ve fed her, but this was the first time she looked interested in what I was feeding her. I only gave her a small amount, to make sure she keeps it down, but I’m HOPING maybe the medication the vet gave us is helping.

I have to thank Rick's mom and my mom SO MUCH for helping out while we were away and showing Echo all kinds of love. I'm so glad I have family that understands how important our pets are. :) We did have a couple nice days in Chicago, and I think once I’m not worrying about Echo so much I’m really going to miss the idea of moving up there. But maybe it’ll still happen eventually, who knows. In the meantime, I guess we try to enjoy the warm winters while we can…


Debbie said...

Poor Echo I hope she feels better!
It's kinda like having a "kid" of your own!!
Let us know how she's doing--

Love Eric and Debbie

Lisa said...

Thanks, you guys! :) She actually seems to be doing better today -- I finally convinced her to eat some of her usual food (instead of just slices of roast beef, which is all she wanted to eat). Rick and I went to Petsmart and bought her some soft food, and she ate a little bit of that, too.

Oh, and I made BLTs for dinner, and she was in the kitchen barking for bacon -- so she's definitely feeling better. Hopefully it was just some kind of infection and the antibiotics are finally kicking in.

Hope you guys are doing well! :)