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Rescue, English Bulldog, Megan
Rescue, English Bulldog, Megan
It was a Wednesday evening just past eight. We were sitting in front of a TV in the garden club hall where we hold our monthly Bulldog Club meetings. We were watching a tape on bulldogs, put out by Animal Planet that had us all upset about the way they portrayed our beloved breed. We had only watched a few minutes when Diane Albers (president) and Donna Bartow (treasurer) were called into the kitchen. Shirley Davis (vice-president) had received a phone call and was very upset. She called Diane and Donna to the kitchen. They returned from the kitchen and Diane stepped in front of the TV, her face flush, with tears in her eyes. She said "Stop the tape, the meeting is over, Brian is dead". Brian Dawson was our club secretary and not even 30 years old. There was silence, then everyone started rushing around putting things away, and cleaning up so that we could leave.
As we went to our cars to leave, Diane called to me, "Sandy, you come with me". I locked my van and slid into the front seat of Diane's van and off we went, following close behind Shirley and Donna. After what seemed like a long silence, she turned her head toward me and said, "Brian's puppy was found in a crate next to his body. She's been there for three days and she's in bad shape". Megan was Brian's 12 month old English bulldog puppy that had her 1 year birthday that Wednesday.
I couldn't tell you the name of the street or the subdivision, in the suburbs of Orlando, as my mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts. We pulled up behind Shirley in front of a small but nice home with a well manicured lawn. All of the lights were on and a police car was sitting out front, still running with no one in it. As we approached the front door I remember Diane saying "This is like a dream, I think I'm going to wake up any minute". We rang the bell. Brian's sister, Darlene opened the door, and we entered. She led us to the living room where her husband and Shirley's daughter were sitting on the couch. From then on I can not tell you much of what was said except he had a heart condition. Hi died Monday and this was Wednesday, and Megan was found next to the body in her crate.
I looked around and saw Donna thru the glass sliding door in the back yard, her back to me. I could see a white furry mass on the patio in front of her. I opened the slider and as I stepped out Donna stood up and I saw Megan, with big brown eyes and a beautiful face looking up at me as if to say "Help, it hurts". The days in her crate with no food or water had taken it's toll. Unable to get out she was forced to lay in her own waste. Her legs and belly were red and blistered. Her fur was wet and the smell was heavy around her. I sat down beside her and she crawled onto my lap. As I petted and talked to her, she looked up into my eyes and I could see the redness around her muzzle, and all the little torn pieces of skin where she had tried to chew her way out of the crate. She was weak and dehydrated, but that was not the worst of her problems. On the day he died, Brian had returned with her from the vet school in Gainesville where he had taken her for an examination. The results, pyrometrya, considered a very dangerous condition. The only way of saving her life was a complete hysterectomy. Brian had made arrangements to have it done Tuesday, but never showed up for the surgery, and it was too late now. She was in no condition, to stressed and weak, she would never survive.
It seemed like we were there only a few minutes when I carried Megan out to the van. I must have lost track of time, because it was well past midnight when we pulled up in front of our vets office. He was waiting outside to meet us where he would carry Megan inside to his operating room. He carefully checked her over, took her temperature and blood, then went into the other room to check his findings. He returned with good news. Even though her temperature was over 104 and white count was 34,000, more than twice what it should be, she was in better shape than we thought she would be. But she was far from being out the woods. He gave her two shots and turned and asked who would be taking care of her. "I am, just tell me what I need to do". He looked me straight in the eyes and said "She'll need two CC's of Genicin every six hours". "Shots" I said, the reply "Yes, shots". I hate to give shots, but whatever it takes, I'll do. My job now was to get her strong enough to make it through surgery. He carried her back out and carefully placed her back into her crate. Turning back to me he said "bring her back to me Friday and we will see how she's doing". I said "OK" and got back into the van.
Donna left Brian's with us because she needed a ride back to her van. That ride back to my van was very important. I was with two of the top bulldoggers in the country and they told me step by step exactly what I needed to do. By the time we got back to our vehicles, I was assured that Diane or Donna would not be far away. That made me feel more at ease. Donna went home and Diane followed me back to my house with Megan in her van.
I lifted Megan out of her crate and carried her straight into the bathroom. Placing a towel onto the bottom of the tub, I lifted her gently in. She seemed to enjoy the bath and I am sure it took the sting out of her legs and belly. I dried her off and laid her on my bed where she would stay for the next two days. There was a lot of drainage from the pyrometria, so I placed large towels under her that could be replaced when needed. Diane and I talked about Brian as we watched her sleep, until Diane left around 5am. I was tired but I had to stay up. Her first shot came at 6:30am, then every six hours after. I gave her water from my hand and she drank a small amount. Later, I offered her some chopped meat and she was able to eat about a tablespoonful. Friday came and she ate a little more and drank from a bowl. I took her back to the vet. Great news, her white count was down to 22,000 and temperature to 102. But she was still too weak and unable to make it through surgery. Bring her back Monday.
The weekend went a little better. She ate and drank a little better, and was able to go outside on her own. Monday found us back at our vet, another blood test. "It's going back up" he said, "26,000". He was worried she needed the surgery but was still to weak. "Bring her back in Wednesday and we'll see if she is doing better". I had been on the phone with Diane or Donna ever since the whole ordeal started. I was tired but Megan needed me. "Don't freak out on me" Diane said. "We'll get her through this". The next couple of days went by slowly. I had given her so many shots she must have felt like a pin cushion. I offered her food and water every few hours. She was improving, I could tell. Wednesday came and back to the vet. I paced the floor waiting for the results of the blood tests. He came back into the exam room and the first thing out of his mouth "26,000, not good, but I think she is strong enough to make it through the surgery.. We'll shoot for tomorrow. Bring her in the morning and we'll see". It seemed like forever. Thursday morning came and back to the vet we went. She seemed to be getting used to going there. I gave her a hug and a kiss and as he carried her into the back room he said, "I'll call you, don't worry, she is in good hands". It seemed like forever, then at 3:30 the call came. "Megan is OK, you can come get her". I don't think I even said good-by. I was out the door in a flash. He came out as soon as I got there, "She's OK" he said. "There was a lot of infection, but I feel the surgery went well. Come here, I want to show you something".
He led me back to the operating room, where he had in two quart ziplock bags everything he had removed from Megan. It was the whole uterus. One side of the horn was large and red. The other side was as thick as my arm. It was blocked and would not drain. It would have been a matter of time before the infection would have killed her. The shots had kept the infection at bay long enough for her to gain strength enough for the surgery. I heard "Here she is". I turned and there stood Megan a little groggy from the anesthetic, but wiggling her butt all the same. I knelt down and held her face against me. "Thank you so much" I said. "You made it possible," he said. The rest of the conversation was about her care once I got her home. Watch for this and that, lots of rest and antibiotics. For the first day she would neither eat or drink. Then slowly she began to improve. First eating and drinking small amounts, then getting up and going outside on her own. Over the next week she still slept most of the time,. but I could tell by the way she got up and down, she was felling better.
The second week. PANIC, blood in her urine. She had developed systitis. Diane came right over. After calming me, it was vitamin C, cranberry pills, and a sulpher drug. It cleared right up. One more trip to the vet to remove the stitches and a check up. "Looks great", he said. He sat on the floor next to her removing her stitches, "How,s she doing? he asked. I said "I think she's doing good. Eating, drinking, going outside on her own, and playing with the other bullies as of yesterday". He said "Good, well she's all done, you can take her home now". As we drove away, I thought to myself. She is OK, my job is done. It will be time to find her a permanent forever home. I want every dog I care for to go to a good home. But this little girl is special. She belonged to a special friend of mine, Brian. He was my first friend in bulldogs. He helped me when my first little bulldog was sick. He sponsored me into the bulldog club, and was always there when I needed him. I was going to be there for him and Megan. This little girl got a special home. With a lady that would spoil her the rest of her life. From Me to Brian