“A very determined puppy that fights to be with his family”
Patti Whitney - Copyright 2010
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All night I waited for the phone to ring but it didn’t. I continued to pray and hope for the best. When I went to see Chance I was so sad to see him so sick. I held him and spoke to him the entire time. I could see in his eyes that I was familiar to him. And when the kids took turns holding him he began to whine very quietly and wanted us to continue to hold him. That night the doctor felt that Chance was improving.
The next morning I was informed that the animal hospital closed on Saturdays at 12:00pm and that I would have to transfer Chance to a 24 hour emergency animal hospital. I was so surprised that Chance had to be moved as sick as he was. I did not mind doing it because it gave us time with our puppy. My daughter and I noticed that he was very weak. I am not sure if Chance even realized that he had been moved at all. He just slept the whole time. When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by the critical care doctor. Her staff was waiting for us. They took Chance and assessed him right away. Afterwards, the doctor came in and spoke to us about Chance’s condition. She said that he was critical and not sure if he would make it. She also said that she had seen dogs as sick as Chance in the past and they survived. But for puppies as small as Chance the percentage was far less. All the hope we had was taken away again. I felt numb to hear that. As we left the animal hospital I was full of emotions. I knew that he was in good hands but I just wanted to take him home with us.
That night Chances bloody diarrhea came back with a vengeance. When my daughter visited Chance she got the mess all over her clothes. It was uncontrollable. But she felt the he was feeling better. He was standing and did not want her to put him down. The next morning I visited Chance. When I first saw him I could not believe how thin he was. I could see his little bones sticking out his sides. He was so weak and not interested in me. Chance just wanted to sleep. The critical care vet came in to speak to me. She said that Chance needed nutrients and that he had not eaten in a week. Chance had gone from three and one half pounds to one and a half pounds. We needed to make a decision on how to do this. The way they could do was to put a tube down his nose and into the stomach. But if the tube moved it could go into his airway. Another way was to surgically put a tube in his trachea or directly into the stomach. The least invasive way was to use a syringe and put food down his throat. I had to think about this for a while. It all sounded horrible. Our poor little puppy boy had had to go through so much. If nothing was done he would die for sure. So I agreed to let them use a syringe to feed him. Later that night I called to check on Chance and I was told that he tolerated the food and that he was stable.
In the morning, Dr. Kelly called me to let me know that I needed to pick up Chance and take him back to the original hospital. The reason was it is a lot cheaper than the critical care hospital. And it was clear that Dr. Kelly wanted to continue to care for Chance. She had bonded with him and felt that he had come this far and she wanted to make sure he made it. Dr. Kelly also said many times that Chance was a fighter.
When we walked into Dr. Kelly’s hospital the staff was so glad to see Chance. Everyone had in interest in our puppy. I was glad to be back. The critical care hospital took great care of Chance, but now Dr. Kelly and Dr. Bohman would be treating him again.
The next day Chance’s blood work was not good. He needed a blood transfusion and he needed it now. Dr. Bohman wanted to make sure that the blood they give Chance was from a stronger dog that has had many years of immunizations. Dr. Bohman brought in her own healthy dog, a black lab named Gertie. Dr. Bohman said that Gertie was healthy and strong and that her blood would be great for Chance. Chance needed this to help build up his own blood cells and this would give Chance a better chance to survive if there were no complications. I could not believe this. Dr. Bohman took blood from her own dog and gave it to my puppy Chance. What dedication and love they showed to my puppy.
After a couple days Chance began to show signs of improvement. His blood pressure was good and his temperature was normal. That evening we all went to bed feeling very optimistic. The next morning I got an early call from Dr. Kelly saying that Chance was very lethargic. His vital signs were good but Chance was not coherent. She suggested that we take Chance back to the critical care hospital right away because she was losing him. My husband and I spoke and we decided to let Chance go. He had been through enough. Our poor little puppy was such a fighter and no longer could hold on. Dr. Kelly agreed to just continue what she was doing and let nature take its course. As I hung up the phone I began to cry. I was questioning if we made the right decision. I could not tell the kids because they were on their way to school and I did not want to ruin their school day. We decided to tell them after Chance passes away. My morning was very hard. I was so emotional. All I could think of was our little puppy boy Chance. He fought for so long and I could not understand why he was so weak after so much. He finally had a family of his own and one that loved him and wanted him, even though we only got to spend two days with him. It may have been the best days of his life. Every time my phone rang my stomach felt like it went into knots. The call I was dreading finally came. It was Dr. Kelly. She said she went in to check on Chance and he was standing up looking at her as if everything was ok. She could not believe her eyes. Dr. Kelly said that Chance was amazing. She had never seen a dog as sick as Chance survive. So many times he had proven the doctors wrong. What a champ. I was so excited that my feet were not touching the ground.
Later that night, Dr. Kelly called me to say that Chance needed a new catheter put in and she could not find any veins. She said that Chance still needed a line in his veins for medical treatment. He also needed glucose every hour. The only way was to go back to the 24 hour critical care animal hospital so that one could be put into his carotid artery. I met Dr. Kelly there. I saw Dr. Kelly and the critical care specialist speaking to each other I overheard Dr. Kelly say to watch him carefully because we had come a long way with him and we couldn’t lose him now.
As I approached Chance, he held his head up and sniffed at my face and I saw his tail wag ever so slightly. It was at that moment I knew that our puppy boy was going to make it. Chance was admitted to the critical care hospital.
I sat with Dr. Kelly for a while and we spoke about Chance’s ups and downs. I shared with her what an emotional rollercoaster it had been for us. I thanked her for all she and her staff had done for Chance. She shared with me how she was so worried about him and what a struggle it had been. She also shared that she felt that Chance was better off at the critical care hospital where he could be watched over 24 hours a day. We spoke of the first day Chance was admitted to her hospital and how she was not so sure he would make it. This conversation was very emotional for us both. We both agreed that Chance was a fighter and a very special dog.
The next morning there was a lot of things going on in the critical care hospital. There were many other emergencies going on while we waited. We had to wait for a while to see Chance that day. We started to think back about Chance’s illness. We were already on day 13 of him being in the hospital. So much time had passed and we were still so worried. This poor little puppy had been through so much. Until he came into our lives, I didn’t know much about Parvo. I knew it was an illness that dogs get but I didn’t know about the devastation it can cause. And how many dogs that have lost their lives to the disease, which can be minimized by dog owners having their pets immunized.
When we visited with Chance we could see improvement. He wanted us to hold him. He really enjoyed being held. When I held him I felt that he was much more alert. Even his eyes seemed to be clearer. Chance was paying attention to what was going on around him. I had not seen this in him since before he was sick. When we left that night I really missed him.
The next morning I got up having to do the same routine I had had for the last two weeks, to go see Chance. When I arrived he was asleep. I called his name and Chance responded right away. He stood up and wagged his tail. That was such a relief to see our puppy finally recovering. I was able to take Chance outside to enjoy the sunshine. As I held him he was watching the leaves on the trees move in the breeze and the birds fly over us. Chance slept in my arms for a while before I put him back into his little hospital bed. I thought that the sunshine helped Chance so much that I came back later that day to take him outside again. When my children arrived, they came right over to him and Chance got so excited that he began to lick my son’s face, just as he did before he became so sick. The more Chance licked, the more my son laughed. It was such a heartwarming thing to see.
Sunday morning I received a call from the critical care hospital. I was told that Chance was doing great and today would be the day he gets to go home. We were all so excited. We had lots of things to do to get ready for our puppy boy to come home. The doggie gates had to go back up in the kitchen and we had to buy a new bed and toys for him. I could not believe that finally this nightmare was soon to be over. When we arrived Chance was ready to go home. We spoke to the doctor and he said that Chance was still healing and was still very weak. I was given medications to give to Chance. We were to feed him every four hours with special food. And we were not to forget to keep him warm, which was important because he had lost so much weight on his tiny frame.
The first night home was a long one. I fed Chance every four hours. And I gave him medications at different times throughout the night. Chance wanted to be held all night. I didn’t mind that at all.
Just as before Chance used his puppy pads. However, the signs of his illness were still there. Chance was still lethargic and needed a lot of sleep and rest. It is just like bring home a new baby. Everyone wanted to see him and he was given a couple of new toys. It seemed to me that Chance remembered his home with his family.
The day after Chance was released we had to return to the critical care hospital because it was a holiday weekend. Some blood test were taken. The doctor said that there were signs of continued improvement. That was a huge relief.
We had an appointment with Dr. Bohman the next day at the regular animal hospital. My daughter had bought a shirt for Chance that said “Tough Guy”. It was very appropriate for him to wear. When we arrived, we were greeted by all the staff. Everyone was so happy to see Chance. They were so happy to see him feeling better. Dr. Bohman said that Chance was doing great and he also gained a few ounces. Chance does have a way to go but it looks like he will recover. What a long road for all of us. Chance would have never made it without the expertise and total dedication of the staff from these two veterinary hospitals. He had the odds stacked against him, but he beat them. As Dr. Bohman said with great exuberance, Chance is their “miracle puppy”.
Chance continues to grow stronger every day. He is finishing up with his medications and eating larger amounts of food. I took Chance in for another check up. As we arrived at the animal hospital, we were greeted with such a loving welcome. The staff was so excited to see Chance. He was held by many of them and he loved every minute of it. Dr. Kelly checked him and said Chance was recovering well. I thanked everyone for all the love and dedication they had given to my puppy. As I left, I realized that Chance was not only my dog but he also belongs to everyone at East Ventura Animal Hospital.