The Happy Golden
When we first bought Pollo, he was 8 weeks old, this little ball of energetic blonde fur. He was a golden retriever, and from the time he came home, his tail has always wagged. In the eleven years with Wendy and I, and eight years with our daughters, he has never been want for attention and affection. All he expected was to be fed, have his stomach rubbed, and occasionally allowed to swim in the pool. The tail always wagged. Pollo is the first pet (and I hate to call him that at this point in our lives) that I have had for its entire life. That tail. On the other end, is the biggest smile a dog could ever have. You have probably seen the greeting cards with the animals with the huge bulging eyes and exagerated smiles. That is Pollo. Even his groomer refers to Pollo as “the happy golden”, his tail never stops wagging and a grin that never quits.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that our fine furry family member had fallen ill. Rapidly increasing symptoms gave me just cause to take him into the vet for an emergency visit. Pollo walked in on his own will, but something was clearly wrong. He spent the next forty-eight hours there undergoing tests and observation. I received a call early Sunday morning that his symptoms had cleared up and was good to go home. It has been a long and emotional weekend, not great company for long distance visitors who came up from Viriginia to spend some time.
An exam room door opened and there was that smile and wagging tail. He saw me and wants to come home. And in that same moment, he collapses. The vet reacts that it must be the slippery floors and he cannot get his footing. I just wanted to get him home. I got him outside, and walked him to the grass, collapsing every two or three steps. The final time, as he lay, a puddle of urine appears from under his belly. Something is horribly wrong.
We get him back in to the building, and x-rays and bloodwork are ordered. We are approaching a very unwanted territory, “how much do we afford to go” with not having pet insurance? Everything is coming back negative, but he cannot stand up. We made the decision to talk him home. If anything were to happen, he would die at home. Over the next several days, we confined him to our den, not having to deal with any steps. It looked so hopeless. We had to do everything for him. Put his feed and water bowl right under his nose. Standing up without our assistance as a major goal, so far from where we are. On Tuesday, I call our regular vet for his opinion. Alright, I was calling him to see if he would consider euthanasia. Pollo was getting better only barely. We spoke on the phone for near half an hour, but not one time did he ever mention putting him down. “It’s going to take time to recover.” It was hard to keep him confined to the one room in our house to prevent any further injury by slipping on our hardwood floors. It was sad just to see him lay there nearly every minute of every day, unable and unwilling to do anything. And so, from that moment, I put everything into making that dog get well. I take care of animals for a living. But now, my skills would be recheaching a value of reward to me that had no reason to be hoped to be seen.
Each day brought a new measure, eating, walking, standing, laying down, get up into a sitting position, lifting himself which he is now doing 75% alone. I still get to hear his heavy sighs which means you know he is relaxed. His tail at 12 years old still won’t stop wagging. He is now trotting across the yard. I have gotten so much time with my friend, Pollo. We get to take walks again as he gets excited to see his leash. I miss him when we go away which fortunately we don’t travel great distances. To have him at the vet hospital for those few days left a huge hole in our house.
I am so thankful to everyone for offering prayers of hope and recovery, Dr. Wagner and Dr. Alvwerniri. I am going to be spending yet more time with my “box of rocks”.