I was laying down with Matt for the upteenth time on Monday night when Nate opened the door and said those words...
Our dog is broken.
I wasn't sure how to respond. Despite the fact that it was almost 10pm, Matt didn't want to go to sleep. We both got up to check on broken Otis.
He was laying on the floor, his rear end curled down, and his tail tightly between his legs. His abdomen was tight. He was in a lot of pain. This was odd... just 2 hours earlier, he bounded down the ramp to greet me as I got out of my car.
We got him to go outside to relieve himself, but he didn't want to go anywhere. He just sat down at the bottom of the steps and waited. Nate picked him up to bring him inside and Otis went to sleep quickly. He wasn't crying out in pain or breathing heavily, but he was not himself.
We wracked our brain for what could be going on. He'd had a rawhide the day before - could it be an abdominal blockage? Cancer? A bacterial infection? Hip dysplasia? The chocolate incident from 2 weeks ago?
In the morning, Otis got out of his bed like normal but immediately sat down. With assistance, he went outside. The typical routine in the morning is that Otis bounds in from outside and immediately devours his food. But this morning, he walked gingerly inside, took a mouthful of food, and dropped it all back into the bowl. Then he sat down next to the bowl and stared at all the uneaten food.
We called the vet and they wanted to see him that morning. By this point, Otis was refusing to even stand up. He would sit painfully on his rump before sliding to the ground in a rigid, tense state. And just stare. Please help. Luke stood by his side, crying that Otis didn't feel good and please make sure that the vet has a cage that is long enough for him.
Nate loaded him into the van. I got all the kids off to school, and transported Otis to the vet. In the ride, I had all sorts of irrational thoughts.
Otis, this can't be the end of the line for you. I got you a new bed for Christmas and you haven't even seen it yet.
Otis, you're only seven. I know they call you 'geriatric' now, but you're the most spry geriatric I know.
And some more rational thoughts...
Otis... please buddy. Be okay. Luke asks me when you're going to heaven. I told him not to worry because you'd be around for a long long time. He asked me again when you would die. I told him you'd live to be 14. Don't make me a liar today.
Two vet techs met me in the parking lot, and with a towel holding up his rear hips, he walked inside. They found him a rug to sit on while I checked in. Other dogs (some hyper - typically right up Otis' alley as a new playmate) would come in, and Otis just sat there on his rug, wagging his tail like he always does.
After all the paperwork was signed, the vet techs came back with their trusty walking towel and took Otis back to an exam room. I watched him walk unsteadily through the double doors and said a silent prayer.
Thankfully within a couple of hours of thinking the worst, we got a call. The exam and blood work had revealed a massive kidney infection. Otis back likely hurt as bad as someone passing two kidney stones at the same time (which is why he wouldn't walk or eat). They gave him an antibiotic shot directly into his kidneys and watched him for a few hours.
By the time I went to pick him up, Otis was up on his feet and wagging all around. I hugged him as hard as I could around the neck before we headed out the door. He walked into the parking lot slowly but surely. I gave him a boost into the van, and he settled in comfortably.
Big sigh of relief.
He pranced into the house, and there were cheers all around. Otis was home! He was sad, though, when he found out that he was not allowed to eat that night. He whimpered for a bit but eventually went to sleep. This morning, he sprung out of bed. He bounded down the stairs to relieve himself. He bounded back up them to attack his morning food.
Otis the geriatric dog is back. He might have been a little broken, but he's sticking around for a bit. And he's going to have the most awesome new doggie bed under the Christmas tree on Tuesday morning. We're so grateful he's going to be home to see it.