“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives
~ Roger A. Caras
Last Wednesday my precious dog Gunner went in to the veterinary hospital for a routine surgery.
That night I left him in the ICU fighting for his life, while I went home and wondered if he would make it through the night and how I could possibly live my life without him.
Gunner survived the night, but he was still bleeding internally. While the vet opened him back up and performed another surgery, I reminisced about the times we shared together, especially during the last year when he offered me the unconditional love that only dogs know how to give.
Gunner spent a second night in the ICU. Losing hope, I said my goodbyes. As I looked down at his lifeless body, I kissed his head, thanked him for being the most loyal companion a girl could ever hope for and begged him not to leave me. Seconds later I watched him being carried off on a stretcher, not knowing if I’d ever see this vibrant, happy dog alive again.
The next morning I got word that Gunner was indeed still alive, but he needed to be observed all day in the hopes that he could possibly come home that night. I was allowed to visit him at lunchtime, and I was truly amazed when I saw that Gunner was not only up and around, but he was practically jogging outside in the sunshine.
My dog Gunner is a fighter, and late that night, he was back home where he belongs. I slept on an air mattress beside him, waking to every twitch and every medicated dreamy moan.
We both spent the weekend resting. I’m constantly watching him for irregular breathing, bleeding and changes in the color of his gums. I hand-feed him chicken and rice and keep charts of his medicine schedule. Other than the cone he has to wear to prevent him from licking or chewing his stitches, you would never guess there was anything wrong with him. You certainly wouldn’t guess that a team of veterinarians were giving him less than a 50-50 chance of survival.
It is now 5 days after the initial surgery, and Gunner continues to improve. He still isn’t out of the woods, and no one seems quite sure how the cancerous tumor they removed from his abdomen has affected his body or what his prognosis is. But he’s already proved he’s a survivor. I don’t think he’s planning on changing now.