The weekend started out just like the first time we went camping, as a family of 4; except, this time we were braving it and bringing our dog for her first camping experience. We were trying another campground, and meeting my sister, friends who were visiting from England, and my husband’s best friend. When we first set up, I was very amused at the difference camping life is with small children and a dog compared to bachelor life. We set up and started grilling; skies were clear and we thought the impending storm was going to miss us. It didn’t. We scattered to grab what we could, secure everything, and move as much of the food (and whatever would fit) underneath the canopy.
Our dog took shelter underneath the picnic table, her favorite is to sit under people while they are eating to try and sneak whatever food is dropped. The kids gathered in our mini-van and watched a DVD. The thunder was growing closer, and the CRACK of the lightning even startled the adults. Many of the campers near us left in their vehicles for the night, but we decided to stick it out for at least one night. The evening was pretty uneventful, aside from our friends’ having a hole in their air-mattress. My daughter and dog snuggled in tight with me, and my husband got the top of our camping bunk-bed cots (I guess, my son called bottom bunk).
We cleaned up, the next morning, with our English friend, Salome, having to constantly tell our dog to get out of the rubbish (garbage). We moved my sister’s canopy to attach it to ours (after our bachelor friend took down his tent and belongings in less than 10 minutes to head to a softball tournament). My son loved pointing out we now had a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. I think these pieces all together are bigger than the first floor of our house. A few walks and naps were taken, and eventually Salome and I headed out on a bike ride. The afternoon and evening turned out beautiful, humid from the storms, but a fantastic day for weather. The adults played a fun game of Phase 10, with a break in between to take the kids swimming and make dinner. Then we all turned in for the evening.
The next morning, we were all anxious to get home, so we started taking everything down (which took way longer than the 10 minutes of our friend the day before). I told my son his job was to hold onto the dog’s leash so she didn’t get away. Eventually, I sent him on a walk down the path where we were camping, with two other children and another adult. They returned to let me know our dog had diarrhea; I went back with the two boys and cleaned it all up. Overall, I thought besides the crappy ending with my dog (literally), it was a great weekend.
As we got home, I started coming down with a head cold. Then Monday, I had a tummy ache. I also learned one of the other kids (not mine) had a gastrointestinal flu. I went to bed at 7:00pm to try and kick the sickness I was feeling, and of course my dog followed me as she always does. Tuesday, at 2:30 am, my dog woke me up to go to the bathroom. It’s unusual she needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but we also don’t go to bed at 7:00pm often. I let her out. Then she woke me up at 4:00am to do the same. I knew I would need to inspect in the morning and probably take her food away. Maybe she got into something. The humans were all feeling better, and my dog was acting completely normal. She turned her nose up at me when I tried to offer her bland rice. I took the kids to their ice-skating camp, and stopped by my sister’s to say our good-byes to our friends from England before they flew across the pond. On our way home, as we stopped for lunch, my husband messaged me that our dog was vomiting. I told him we were on our way. As I opened our front door, our dog was standing at the top of our stairs, wagging her tail as usual. Then she laid down and puked again.
I called our vet. They had me check her gums, I was asked what was going on, and they were trying to fit her in to see them. I was called back a few hours later, my dog had just drunk water, and I was told it was a good sign. The vet didn’t have any openings that day, but we set up an appointment to drop her off for monitoring the next morning. I had already called the Emergency Vet, and knew if we were going to get in… we would wait until 6pm. 2 more hours. THEN my dog puked up the water. She was very lethargic. She was breathing loud. She was in pain. I didn’t know what was going on. I sat on my living room floor, crying and singing to my dog because really I was out of options.
Once the Emergency Vet opened, we knew she need to go in and loaded her on the floor of our van, so she would be as still as possible. As we checked in, there were a few people in front of us. They checked her gums and instructed us to sit down. I actually wondered how sick you really needed to be at the emergency vet because I knew my dog was doing terribly. About 15 minutes later, the vet walked over because she said my dog looked significantly worse, checked her gums and immediately asked to take her back. I started to hand her to the nurse, but I realized I was wet. Initially, I thought my dog had urinated on my dark clothing, but I quickly learned it was blood exiting her rectum. My dog was rushed to the doctor, and she was immediately placed on an IV. The vet came in briefly and told me my dog was in a bad place. She asked about anything my dog could’ve gotten into. I told her about camping and about the 1 bone (EVER in her whole life) we allowed her to nibble on for a few minutes. I got a brief lecture how bones are bad (I know this. Horrible mistake.) A Vet Tech talked me through what was going to happen (and handed me a $1500 bill) before I was instructed to go home for the evening. My dog was to stay in the Doggy ICU. Then she asked me, “Do you have a DNR for your pet?” OH MY GAWD!!! I had NEVER thought of this. Never due to the fact I thought my dog would live forever and ever, but I seriously thought by dog would live another 4-6 years and die of natural causes.
The Veterinarian called at 11:15pm with results of her X-rays and blood panel; my dog was diagnosed with Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE). No signs of bone or anything else inside of her. Her glucose and liver levels weren’t normal. I was instructed to pick up my dog at 7:00am and she would need to be transported to her regular vet for continued monitoring. She was showing signs of improvement, but she wasn’t out of the woods yet. They would recheck before I was to transport her in my makeshift mini-van ambulance. I showed up at 6:45am. I was given puppy pee pads to cover my vehicle in the chance she had bloody diarrhea again (thank goodness she didn’t for many reasons), and I brought my dog with her little IV in her leg and bag of fluids to the next vet. My dog spent the entire day at her vet. She continued to get better, and showed signs of improvement. Her glucose was improving, but now her kidneys were showing concern. I was to wait out the afternoon to see if she would get to come home or we would go back to the doggy ICU. After our 5:20pm appointment, we learned our dog would get to come home; although, she was still very weak.
Our dog couldn’t move without us moving her. We placed doggy diapers on her for leakage, and we were helping her to drink small amounts out of a cup. We have no idea what caused for our dog to contract Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. It may have been the garbage she got into while camping, or maybe something unrelated after we got home. I am so glad we decided not to wait for our initial appointment at our regular veterinarian and decided to go into the Emergency Veterinarian because if we would’ve waited, she wouldn’t have made it.
Next month will be 8 years since we adopted our dog. She was 5 months old when we got her; she had, sacredly, come to Minnesota from a shelter in Oklahoma. We have been lucky and only have had her regular check-ups and grooming appointments, so far. She’s been the best dog with our kids, and I am so thankful we have more time with her; I know others aren’t as lucky. Needless to say, we’ll be a little more strict and aware of what our dog is getting into.
**I am so happy and thankful to report our dog is doing amazing, and she has quickly made a full recovery (and out of diapers).***