I couldn’t blame her for being upset. If someone denied me breakfast I’d be pissed too. But her barking and howling seemed to have a feel of sadness, like she knew what was coming today. She was scheduled to get spayed, and the road to her procedure had finally reached its end.
The fiasco started a week ago, with a phone call to the vet clinic to confirm her surgery appointment. But instead of confirming, Pickle’s spay appointment was put on hold because the vet thought she was too small. This made sense to us, she was emaciated when she arrived from Georgia and was a small dog in general.
So we forgot about the appointment, planning on getting her checked again once she was bigger. The spaying was important, just on the back burner until it was approved. That is, until the text came yesterday from the rescue saying they wanted us to go ahead with the surgery.
Confusion ensued. Was Pickle too young, too small, was she ready for a hysterectomy? A series of panicked phone calls essentially led to me figuring out that the vet I thought was doing the procedure was not the vet doing the procedure. Long story short, there was an appointment at 8:30 the next morning at the Seattle Animal Shelter and Pickle was going under the knife.
And in the morning we were there, getting Pickle spayed and chipped. (Not sure if you’ve ever seen one of those chips, but holy crud!) After a big miscommunication with the rescue and having to scramble to even get the chip, here we were at the front desk checking in for Pickle’s procedure.
Now, I don’t know what it is with pets and the vet’s office, but the instant we walked through the door Pickle was shaking and whimpering. As I tried to hold her and fill out the preliminary questionnaire, her anxiety worsened and she almost squirmed out of my arms a couple times.
And then she was gone, behind the doors to the kennel area, only her barking and howling to escort me out to my car. Off I went to wait until the procedure was done and I got the call to take Pickle home.
When the call finally came, I struggled to hear the voice of the secretary over the barking of what I was sure to be Pickle. “I think she’s ready to come home,” was all I could make out. The SAS staff was very clear with helping to understand the procedure, assuring me that everything went normal, and steps necessary to help Pickle recover quickly and correctly, and Pickle weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds during her exam! She’s getting so big! Honestly, though, I was just happy to have my puppy back in my arms.
The car ride home was a bit heartbreaking. Every bump in the road, every time Pickle shifted in her crate, led to a slight whimper from the back seat. With each whimper, I don’t know which one of us was in more pain.
The major positive to come out of all of this is that now we can officially adopt our sweet little Pickle. Washington State law prohibits rescues from adopting out dogs that are unaltered, so we have been in limbo with the adoption process for the past week. As her foster parents she won’t see any change in our status as her mom and dad, but now we’ll officially be her parents!
As far as the spaying, the challenge now is figuring out how to keep a 10 week old puppy from getting too active. We were assured that puppies tolerate the pain well and are generally so distracted with the world around them that they don’t play with their incisions. Luckily Pickle is only highly active in short bursts, and like any baby, enjoys her naps. Now we are crossing or fingers the recovery process is smooth for her. After being flown in from Georgia, separated from her siblings, shuffled between houses and now going through a stressful surgery, it’s time for her to just be a puppy.
UPDATE: We had quite the scare last night. Pickle did not handle the food she ate after her surgery and at around 5:30 started to throw all of it up. Her little stomach couldn’t handle the effects of the anestesia, and was rejecting everything.
By the time my girlfriend, Kira, got home from work, Pickle was clearly uncomfortable. “She looks emaciated!” was Kira’s shocked response to the skinny, miserable puppy that welcomed her home. “Call the vet, now!”
An emergency clinic in the U-District assured me it was just a response to the drugs, and I reluctantly took their word and tried to reassure Kira. Pickle would have to go the night without food, but was drinking water, so that made me feel better. She stopped throwing up, and found a comfortable spot on her blanket and slept all through the night (she didn’t even wake us up to pee during the night).
When breakfast time came, Pickle was more of her tail wagging self. She wolfed down her food and hasn’t thrown up this morning. We did notice, though, that she is hesitant to pee outside right now, either because she can’t hold it due to some uncomfortable effects of the surgery, or if it’s because the weather is miserable. We don’t know, but Pickle will get some slack, for now.