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No one can prepare you for receiving a bad prognosis from your vet – even if you’ve gotten them before… several times. Here is the story of my latest encounter of receiving bad news when it comes to my beloved dogs:
My boy, Capone, was being a normal, happy Boxer. We were at the beach with his girlfriend (a 6-month-old chocolate Lab) and they were wrestling. I started videotaping them so I could share it with her dad…then suddenly; Capone turned into a stiff stick figure and fell over!
I yelled his name over and over, but he didn’t move. I threw my phone in the sand (it was still recording) and put him in my arms and just yelled out for help. But, no one was around. I just held him and kept saying, “Come on Capone, stay with me.” “Come on, tough boy.” He came to about 40 seconds later, and seemed dazed and confused. I got him up slowly and we all walked back to the car. I couldn’t carry him as he was 90 lbs, and I had his girlfriend.
I immediately called the animal hospital I knew, and told them what happened. This was the same hospital I brought my last Boxer to, so I knew I trusted their judgement. The receptionist immediately transferred me to a nurse. They told me to bring him in immediately and they will do whatever was needed. They did tell me that it was good that he came to and was alert, but he could have some damage to his brain.
I drove as fast as I could to the hospital while holding his paw and talking to him… telling him it was going to be ok. As soon as I got there they took him to the back and ran an EKG, several other heart tests, as well as an x-ray on his entire chest. I remember sitting there shaking, looking at my phone, watching the video over and over.
The nurse and veterinarian came into the waiting room and told me he was stable, but he is showing an enlarged heart and signs of heart disease.
I told myself, “I need to be strong for him, and I will do whatever I need to make sure he gets the best treatment ever.”
I got to take Capone home that night, but he had to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours, so the veterinarian could see where, and/or why his heart stopped or if it was skipping beats. The results of the heart monitor were shocking. Capone had 24,000 irregular heartbeats.
Again, I started to get angry, sad, and all the feelings of losing my last two girls flashed back in my head. The vet tech in the cardiology department understood what I was going through and hugged me. She told me that with meds and keeping him very calm will help. I had a million questions going on in my head and just started asking them. The vet tech sat me down on a chair and explained EVERYTHING to me.
Even though I got my questions answered, I was still feeling hopeless. My best friend, my kid, my companion was sick. Sick with an incurable disease. From that pointon, I lived eachday to the fullest with him. Took him everywhere I could. Slept next to him, and held his hand while he slept. Stayed home (didn’t travel), etc. all while keeping him as calm as possible. My only words of wisdom are to stay positive, and I promise it will help with the health of your best friend.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Danielle Salice is a pet lover, and Boxer dog aficionado— she has owned three boxers during her adult life (CarlySue, AbbySue and Capone). She also has a penchant for German Shepherds, which was her family’s breed of choice growing up. Danielle is active in the animal welfare industry and currently volunteers at Last Chance at Life, All Breed Rescue and Adoptions. Danielle became a PetFirst Pet Insurance policyholder in 2009 and has been a pet insurance advocate ever since.