Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Laila's Escapade


Last week, our usually calm German shepherd dog, Laila, got very excited by a guest exiting their car, and smashed through a pane glass window that faced out on our driveway. In the process, she cut her left eye on the glass. Sean took her to our vet and with a stain, they confirmed that indeed she had cut the cornea of her eye, but could not tell how deep the cut was, and gave us the phone number of various dog ophthalmologists that we could go to for further help. They told us that it might heal on its own, but that we ought to seek an opinion from these other doctors. Sean brought Laila home and she looked fine to me. We considered that calling in a specialist would cost a lot of money (the quote was at least $1,200). So, we did nothing but did use an Elizabethan collar on her and apply the antibiotics ointments the vet gave us and hope for the best.

The afternoon of the following day, around 5:00 pm, Laila started wincing on that side, and there was pinkish water running from that eye and she would not eat her dinner. We put her on our bed and she was distressed and her eye shape was not rounded on the left. In a panic I tried to call some of the ophthalmologists I had the numbers for and they had all closed for the day. One of the numbers had a call back service and I used it. The doctor himself called back within minutes and gave me a bleak picture. He said that so much time had passed since the original injury that there would most likely be no saving the dog’s vision in that eye or the eye itself. We made an appointment to see him at 8:00 am the following morning. His office was 1 hour and 15 minutes away.

Sean and I felt terrible. What had we done to our dog? She was going to lose her vision in one eye, even lose the eye? We felt like such fools. We did not deserve to own a dog. We hardly slept at all that night. The next morning we set out with Laila for the doctor. Her eye looked fine now. We were glad, but what was the deal? When we got there we were shown in immediately. We took Laila into the exam room and the doctor came in. They cornered her and the assistant had her sit and crouched over her, holding her collar and nose, Sean held her too, and the doctor peered into her eyes. He applied medicines as needed and proceeded with his exam. She was a very good girl, though she whined, letting us know that she was scared. When he was done he stood. He said that we were really lucky, because the cut had opened and then closed and healed, but the new healing was extremely fragile. He could still fix the eye and preserve her vision. He said that the cut was very deep and asked if we had another dog at home. We said that we did. He said that in order to heal without surgery Laila would need complete quiet, no activity at all. Sean and I both looked at each other and knew that would never happen in our house with that crazy Jenny mutt around.

The crazy Jenny mutt in question

Then he told us that the surgery would cost $1800. I had sticker shock and replied that frankly that was just not in our budget. He said, “Okay, let me give you guys some time to think this over.” Then he left.

Sean and I just looked at each other. Sean said that maybe we could keep the dogs apart. I thought about it and said that I felt that we really had another bite at the apple here and shouldn’t make the same mistake twice and end up feeling like idiots again. Sean agreed right away. He supported the idea by saying, “If it wasn’t for the money, would you do it?” And I answered, “Absolutely.” So, we decided to put it on a credit card and pay it off over time.

When the doctor returned he was quite surprised that we had decided to go ahead with the surgery. He fit it into his schedule that very day.

We drove home knowing that we had done the right thing by our dog. Later that day, when we picked her up, the doctor said that the cut was deeper than he had thought and the healing part was still oozing. He said that he put in extra stitches to make sure it held. He gave us anti-ulcerative drops and antibiotic drops as well as a new e-collar. Our next follow-up visit is on Friday at no charge (it damn well should be no charge).

What did we learn from all of this? A day goes by very quickly when you drive 5+ hours in it. Worrying about your dog’s sight is a sure recipe for a migraine. Spending $1,800 on eye surgery for your dog is what you live for. Wait, wait, it will come to me yet. Being an adult means taking care of your responsibilities. Shit, I think that is it.


Doug said...

Poor baby....She must be worth every cent.

Sue said...

She really is.

Shaney said...

You did the right thing Sue...Pets have long been seen as family members & the loss can be compared to that of a 'human' too many pet owners. 15 years ago I owned my first moggie- Jessy, she was a stray kitten I had picked up one night while out walking, there were others but it was dark & I could not catch them. They had been dunped in bushland, nearby the housing estate my parens lived in. She became everything to me, my companion, my solice in hard times & my friend. When she was 5 I came home one day and found her panting profusley & excreting from the mogg-agina (hmm what else do I call it) My dad rang the vet, the vet knew of the symptoms & said it would cost $500..I paid what I could afford at the time Sue, which was $50 to have my gorgeous little friend put to sleep. It was the saddest day of my life, that is why I treasure my "Sheekah" to bitz.
Your dogs are gorgeous Sue & by the looks of the snapshots, they rule the roost A little spilt are they? xoxox
I hope Laila is doing ok now...

Sue said...

She is fine. They do rule the roost a bit more than I would like. But what is one to do when one's spouse is okay with it? Sigh...

Yeah there is this dominance thing in having 2 females.

matt said...

you did the right thing not letting a loved onee suffer I ahave a dog and me and my family spoil Bailey rotten! If anything happened to him I would do wot ever it takes. Soitscostly but atleast your dogs fine and without pain

Sue said...

Oh, there was pain Matt. But she is fine now. It will be one week tomorrow and she seems totally healed. Thanks for commenting. :)

mr tickle said...

oh, the savings you could've had, had you not been *blinded* (pun intended) by $1200...
just ~rubbin~ it in.
your dogs are just really lovely...jenny mutt is too.
keep us posted, man.

Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog