Day 12 and 13: Downs and Ups

Wednesday, June 9th: originally, this post was to be a daily post – but the events of the day were over shadowed with worry about Ivy, our Brittany.

Ivy's the one! We had four puppies from Ivy's litter to choose from and Olivia and William look them over in the back of the car.

We had gotten Ivy when she was almost eight-weeks old on somewhat of a lark. In early April, on our return trip home from the cottage in Michigan, we had made a detour to shop and in the parking lot, there were local dog breeders selling puppies. Does this sound suspicious or odd? It did not at the time but when I retell it I feel, well, rather silly. I bought a dog on the side of the road from someone I did not know and drove home with a puppy the day before Easter. There was no planning, nor did we have an idea what we had in store for our family. Yet, this misadventure has turned into a something wonderful for our family.

Wednesday started as a routine summer day and it turned by midday, and even more so in the late afternoon. Beth had made an appointment for Ivy to get her vaccines. These appointments are wellness for dogs, yet they are not covered by our health insurance. As what often happens in the summer and really, year round, I had made an appointment at the same time, so she had to take Olivia with her and leave William at home.  When I returned home to a serious family gathering in the kitchen, I asked, “Where is Ivy?” Beth and Olivia replied, “She is still at the vet’s and ….” she began to explain what had happened. Ivy had had a severe reaction to the vaccine and she had gone into anaphylactic shock. A reaction severe enough, the vet would not release her to come home. It was clear that both Olivia and Beth were upset. Beth told me she was very worried that Ivy was struggling with breathing as well as her coloration in eyes and gums – which had gone almost grey. We called the vet and were reassured that she had stabilized but the staff would continue to monitor her.

another pup pick - choosing from among four!

We tried to go about our day but it was difficult. The kids were worried and both Beth and I were concerned. Ivy was part of our family. When I get up in the morning she is the first thing I greet. I make my coffee and take her outside to go potty. At four months, she had matured well in this area. I still remember that first morning eight weeks ago, a small little puppy would get up, go potty, then go back to sleep at my feet while I got ready for school. Each morning I would take her outside and wait patiently as she took care of her business. Some of those mornings were cold frosty spring mornings. When it was clear, the sky was amazing. Until we got Ivy, I had no reason to go outside and look up at the night sky at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning. Now Ivy was not well and it did not sound good. We were all worried. Olivia took it hard, she has always wanted a puppy and Ivy was her’s. Though in reality Ivy was Beth’s because she was the one who took care of her during the day when we are all off at school. Ivy was part of our family and we were all clearly worried.

In the late afternoon, Beth got a call from the vet who told us that Ivy seemed well enough to come home. We all piled into the car and took off. It was my first visit to the vet’s office and we waited for Ivy to be released. The vet brought Ivy out and she very tentative and it was obvious she did not feel well. The vet warned us that Ivy should not be excited and the kids – well, they are kids and kids are excited and loud most of the time. Beth tried to calm her; she came to me and I got down on the floor to calm her by softly petting her on her back and around her ears. She was not herself. The vet explained what had happened, the course of treatment, and what we could expect for the evening. We all could see that Ivy was not well and the vet told us that she could see that Ivy was not well and offered to hold her over night – at her home so she could observe her. Sadly, we left Ivy at the vet’s and came home to get Ivy an overnight bag – her blanket and a few toys. William and I returned to the vet. The vet greeted us and explained she had spoken with the vaccine manufacturer and had been advised of another course of treatment that included medicine to reduce Ivy’s bronchial spasms and lung congestion.

The house was quiet, no barks, yelps, or whines. The pad in the kitchen where she spends her day was empty. All of us were sad. The vet called us to check in with us early in the evening and later, before we went to bed. She reported that Ivy was looking better and responding well. She shared Ivy’s improved alertness and a including how Ivy had tried to sneak a bag of candy away from her as she watched the Blackhawk game.  The vet said she would call us in the morning to report and Ivy would be able to come home in the morning, if all went well.  We went to bed relieved, but still worried.

At seven Thursday morning, the phone rang very early and Beth answered it. The vet reported Ivy was doing better – I could hear her barking in the background – and she could come home. William and Olivia were soon in our bed asking all sorts of questions. Beth relayed the good news – Ivy was coming home. They all got dressed and took off to bring her home.

They brought her home. Even though she was better than the previous afternoon, she was still not herself. The vet had given instructions – plenty of water and that meant lots of potty time. She lay down on her cushion and slept. She would open an eye and look at us, yet she did not have the eager and frisky personality we had come to expect. She did not feel good and we let her sleep most of the morning. The morning became the afternoon and Ivy started to feel better –the tail wag was back, the eagerness returned, and she slowly became the puppy we knew. By evening, she was well enough to go to Olivia’s softball game and it was good to have her back. Ivy had a great game and Olivia did, too.

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