Now here is a change of pace for this blog – a feel good Mother’s Day story about a well loved little dog who survived the odds. Many years ago in veterinary practice I observed what I consider to be miracles in the way animals recovered from horrendous injuries. They appeared to cope in ways that I could not have imagined. I will never forget a German Shepherd pup whose leg had been badly mangled in a car accident. He needed an amputation but stood on our examination table wagging his tail. As long as we did not touch his leg – he kept on wagging his tail. Fortunately his outcome was good…the owner caring and the dog not at all self-conscious of being a 3 legged pup – meant that it was doggy-business as usual once the mangled leg was amputated! To this day I still wonder about the reasons behind animals remarkable pain management skills. Whether it is because animals don’t have to worry and stress about who is paying the rent on their kennel while they are ill…… or if they have enough money to buy their dog biscuits for the next week; or if they can plan their retirement; I am yet to discover the reasons for their management and sometimes astounding healing abilities…
So – here is the miracle story of Lucy. My daughter graduated last year in veterinary science as a mature age student and is now well ensconced in practice in a N.S.W country town. A recent visit from me for the weekend unfortunately coincided with her busiest “on call” experience so far. It took me back to another life in the 1970’s when to have a life outside of our veterinary practice was challenging. The number of times that someone’s cow would be calving on the very night we had tickets to the opera or ballet was uncanny! Much to the chagrin of fellow theater-goers, we would often arrive during the second or third Act; the feint aroma of farmyard manure wafting from our clothing!
The Miracle of Lucy: We were awoken in the early hours of Saturday morning to the distressed and yapping sound of a little dog. Called out late the previous evening, my daughter had brought home Lucy ; a Jack Russell terrier for what in in human terms would be be considered intensive care! I found my daughter half asleep in the lounge room next to Lucy’s cage. The little dog was certainly worse for wear experiencing some impressive seizures despite being heavily medicated. As I had done in the old days of veterinary work; my daughter ministered to her little patient all night.
As it turned out, Lucy had a nasty depressed fracture of her skull (see image left) after being chomped on the head by a kelpie with whom she cohabited. Throughout the weekend we all became involved in Lucy’s veterinary care, changing infusions and providing sedation and anti-seizure medication. Come Sunday evening – the owner called in at my daughter’s home to make a decision about Lucy. It was not looking good as she had continued to fit more regularly and severely throughout the day. She was cold and barely breathing .
But – it was then I witnessed a small miracle. Lucy, virtually unconscious under heavy sedation when her owner arrived; wagged her tail just a little and then a lot!!
Not a seizure twitch – but a real tail wag!! We all stared in silent amazement! The more the owner stroked Lucy – the more her tail wagged. Lucy’s owner sat with my daughter for about an hour cuddling her much loved and favorite Jack Russell terrier but although there was a tail wag – there was little if any hope that Lucy would survive – or so we all thought!
Lucy’s owner took her home heavily sedated; not expecting her to last the night – but in the morning. Lucy was still breathing and still fitting! Where there was life there was indeed hope!!
A few days later Lucy was still alive and although still having seizures it was decided that it might be worthwhile trying to surgically repair Lucy’s skull as the owner was still keen to save Lucy…she never gave up.
Amazingly, the surgery was successful and within a few days, Lucy was eating, drinking, looking around, wagging her tail, walking like a drunk…a few days later (left) she is racing down the Clinic corridor after a ball and….. business as usual!
Lucy is testimony to where there is life there is hope!
Happy Mother’s day to all the Mums!
until next time…