Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Time Has Come...

to blog again. Not because I've had some life revelation, not because I feel a deeply ingrained need to express myself on a public forum, and not even because I feel like I have a whole lot to say. I'm starting again for two reasons. 1) I really need to stay in practice with my writing. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward. 2) I miss my blogging community. It's a positive force in my life, so back to the grindstone I go. I'm not going to make any silly promises of "Oh, I'll be sure to blog every day for x days," or "I'm going to start a theme presentation that will keep me going for the next x weeks." I'll try to blog every morning since I have the time and I just want to follow my thoughts and see where they lead me, linguistic errors be damned.

Today I'll write about what I think is probably the biggest joy in my life as of late, which is my puppy, Yoko. Named after the infamous Yoko Ono (I wanted a name to do with the Beatles, but Lucy was too popular and Eleanor sounds strange for a dog), MY Yoko came into my life unexpectedly in late November of last year. A good friend of mine who is closely involved with one of the local shelters came to me one morning during class and said, "Hey, you wouldn't want to take a puppy we just rescued, would you?" Apparently it was close to euthanasia day at the pound and my friend took Yoko home with her (I'm not quite sure of the legality of that move, but what I don't know won't hurt me) to save her from certain death. Seeing as I have a fenced in backyard where I'm staying now, I agreed to hold onto Yoko. This is how our story began.

That day I came home to a small black puppy with a head three times too large for her body who enjoyed playing tug of war with her rope toy. My roommates and I weren't sure whether or not we were going to keep her - there was some disagreement between the three of us for the ensuing week or two on the issue - but that night sealed the deal for me. That night, you see, Yoko got VERY sick. She went from playful puppy to bedridden babe in about three hours. She had severe diarrhea and vomiting, so I took her to the vet the very next morning. The diagnosis: Poor Yoko had flat and round worms, kennel cough (think bronchitis for dogs), and - you guessed it - parvovirus. Parvo, the virus's shorthand name, is like dysentery for dogs. With out patient care, most dogs have a 35-50% survival rate. Yikes. And with all the other ailments draining her immune system, I feared the worst. Most people would have put her to sleep right then and there, but I'm a big softy. Her big brown eyes had stolen my heart and I was ready for the fight.

The next week was intense for me and my little labrapei (that's the name I came up for her breed. Half black lab half shar pei). She didn't eat anything for about eight days. She didn't move either. She just sat curled up in our laps all day long. Every few hours I would have to force feed her pills or small amounts of pedialyte, or a nutritional gel the vet gave me, but aside from that she just looked sad.

The third day of parvo was the trough. She didn't sleep at all (which meant I didn't sleep at all) and she had a strong resemblance to one of those Ethiopian children you see on television who have no food. That morning, having not slept at all, I drove her to the vet as soon as it opened. I was ready for the vet to tell me that she needed to be put to sleep because she was doing so poorly, so that entire drive was heartbreaking for me. I sang James Taylor to her while she sat in my lap. I actually showed up an hour before the vet, so they let me sit in the waiting room with Yoko for an hour and they brought me coffee. I spent that entire hour holding her like a child and talking to her. I promised her lots of things about how happy I'd try to make her if she kept fighting, about how much fun we'd be together, and I assured her how much I loved her no matter what. It sounds sappy and silly, but it was a really strong experience for me.

Despite her appearance, the vet said she still had some fight in her. We pumped her full of fluids once again and I took her home to rest. The next day she turned the corner and started to slowly perk up, and it was all progress from there. Over the next few days, she started walking again, eating on her own, and having solid bowel movements. Again, it sounds silly, but you should have seen the smile on my face the first time she was able to eat on her own or even the first time she had solid poo. I'm officially hooked.

Since then, she grown exponentially (though she still hasn't quite grown into her ginormous head), learned all kinds of tricks, been potty trained, and just two days ago she learned to jump onto the bed for the first time. She's great for me. She gives me a reason to come home, something warm to hold onto while I watch movies, someone to snuggle with at night, and a constant playmate. You can see a few pictures to chronicle growth here. The first one is her at a few weeks old taken at the pound, the next one is her in December post-parvo (it was my Christmas card), and the last one is one I took this morning. She's only about halfway grown too!


Anonymous said...

Hey I saw your link on facebook - cute story!

Lydia said...

what a tail...tale....:)
sounds like a hero to me.
Hello Yoko! I'm glad you stayed with us-maybe I'll meet you sometime!

Anonymous said...

Having met her, coming home to a hamster is just not the same. ;-)