Sunday, November 2, 2008

The worst mother EVER

Yesterday was a hard day for Elphie. Without going into too much detail, Elphie had been exhibiting some behavior that necessitated going to The Vet. While historically The Vet hasn't been a stressful place to go (since the first couple of visits), her last trip was to the Emergency Vet. That was pretty gnarly.

Add to that, our favorite vet ever has moved to London. As with any medical/patient situation, the doctor has a relationship with the patient. In the case of our seriously abused little dog, rapport is important, as is the idea of their growth and development. (Elphie still is a little twitchy around strangers, but she's made some exponential growth, developmentally.)

The prognosis was that Elphie needed to be sedated so that they could flush out the afflicted area. Since she doesn't know the new vet, she was not about to let Dr. A administer ANYTHING. Add to that, Elphie isn't treat motivated, and is wicked smart. So, we decided to give her a sedative first (which doesn't require hunting for a vein, then injecting, which is a time-consuming venture), let her calm down, then I would restrain her, again, to get the sedative shot into the vein.

Elphie makes TERRIBLE noises when she's scared. It's totally heartbreaking. Here I was, doing my best as her advocate/parent/owner, and she doesn't understand why I'm letting strangers (potentially) hurt her. The look she gave me said, "Et tu, Mama?"

She wasn't hurt by any of this, physically. This is important to know. They gave her the sedative, and in seconds she just went limp. I don't think I've been that upset in ages, watching her very lively, active body just. Go. Limp. I had a bad feeling, but I've always gotten good care at the practice, and was ready to wait in the lobby for her to wake up.

(Usually they send owners home, wait for the dogs to totally come to, then send them home. Since Elphie still hasn't gotten over her fear of being in a crate/kennel, we decided- we being the vet and me- that once she was alert enough to lift her head, I'd take her home and keep an eye on her.)

So, I sat and read. While she was under, one of the seasoned vet techs asked me if I wanted them to run her heartworm test- which they hadn't been able to do at her first couple of appointments, three years ago. I was thrilled that she remembered, and approved the test. Elphie got the full "spa treatment" (tooth brushing, nail clipping), all while she slept.

I waited a little over an hour, and the vet tech let me know that she was starting to wake up. We loaded her up in the car, and headed home. When we pulled up to the house, Elphie was awake enough to not want ANY of my help or attention, but I carried her in the house, and set her down on the rug. Then, I cried for a little while. Partly because I was exhausted and hungry, partly because I felt like the Worst Mother Ever.

It's those things that need to be done- vaccinations, doctor's appointments, whatever, that human children say things to their parents like, "I hate you" or "Why are you letting them hurt me?" or whatever. One cannot explain the necessity of these things to a dog. Believe me, I tried.

I SWEAR- for the rest of the day, Elphie was snuggling anybody BUT me. (Fortunately, Niki had no qualms about snuggling me.) After some breakfast, a nap, and a mandatory cup of coffee, I felt better, physically. Mom assured me that I am not the Worst Mother Ever, and told me one of her Worst Mother Ever stories.

Colleen came and sat with the dogs while we went to see Flower Drum Song, partly because I'm neurotic, but mostly because if something went wrong, Colleen would know what to do, and the dogs trust her implicitly. By the time we got home - around 11 PM - Elphie had forgiven me.

By this morning, she was bouncing around on our bed, making me feel like yesterday was definitely over, and today is a new day.

Just like that.


  1. Take heart in knowing you did the best you could for her. That look is heartbreaking though.

  2. I hate to say it doesn't get better with time. All I can say is that the rest of the time they're with you is sooooo worth having to live through that.


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