To me, it's not so much a cone as a halo.I'll get right to the point. Petey's eye had gotten worse, to the point where we made a visit to the emergency veterinary clinic on Saturday night when he was squinting, unwilling to open it, listless and clearly uncomfortable, hiding under the bed. The initial exam did not look good - there was pressure on his eye that made him feel like he had a 24-hour migraine. The vet on call did an eye exam and said he'd probably lost all vision in his eye. She sent a photo of his eye and her report on his exam to their veterinary opthomologist who said that he may have a tumor causing the problem and would probably need to have his eye removed. I literally felt my blood turn to ice water as she told me this. Petey was given new drops to help control thepressure and it had gone down from 75 to 60 by Sunday afternoon when he went back to our local vet for x-rays and bloodtests to see if there were signs of cancer spreading. (Good news, the x-rays were clean and clear.) He also had new pain pills so he was more comfortable and almost back to his old self. I, on the other hand, was a shattered wreck.
Waiting, waiting, waiting through the long holiday weekend for our appointment on Tuesday morning. On Monday, Petey took me for a long walk in the morning and in the afternoon, we joined his pal Bear for a little walk (and some cookies at his favorite stops). There was a new ice cream cart on the corner called Je + Jo and the girl working there said that her boss was a big "dog lover" and gave us a free cup of vanilla for the dogs. Petey was thrilled and stood with his front paws on my knees so he wouldn't miss a drop. Since he wouldn't be able to have anything to eat after midnight in case he needed surgery on Tuesday, I felt it was perfectly fine to indulge him.
Waiting patiently for his next spoonful of ice cream.
In the pouring rain on Tuesday morning we went back to the NYC Veterinary Specialists (aka the emergency vet) to see the ophthalmologist, a very nice young woman named Dr. Jennifer Welser. As she examined his eye, I babbled about spoiling him with ice cream the day before and showed her a little video on my phone. (I wanted everyone there to love Petey as much as I do so they'd take extra good care of him.) "Where did you take that?" she asked suddenly. I told her and she laughed and said that Je + Jo ice cream was her sideline company! She was the "Je" of Je + Jo - the "dog-loving boss!" I told her that she was already taking good care of Petey before she'd even met him!
Anyhow, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that he does NOT have glaucoma and his right eye is perfectly healthy. His pathology and x-rays were clean and clear. However, a sonogram showed a massive hemorrhage and possible tumor in his eye and it would have to come out. My beautiful boy with those shiny brown eyes that smiled when you entered a room and would follow a tennis ball with laser-like focus would now have a permanently closed lid. (I'm teary just typing these words a day later.) I sat on the floor next to Petey while he dozed in a makeshift bed, just crying and stroking his coat and whispering silly songs and sayings to him. He so often is told that he resembles the dog in the Traveller's Insurance TV spots and the phrase "protect what you love the most" kept ringing in my ears. I carried him into the surgery, covering his head with kisses and more salty tears.
About an hour later the doctor came in and said that everything had gone fine, he was in recovery sleeping off his anesthesia. When the vet tech brought him back into the room, his tail was wagging. She put him on the exam table and his nose went right for the container of liver treats that had been forbidden beforehand. He eagerly ate about a dozen then and there, even giving the vet tech a "high five" before he got one (with the little catheter still taped to his paw!). Then he settled back down on the bed in the corner and I sat pressed next to him for the next hour and a half while he dozed in his big plastic cone, his shaved eyebrow giving his closed eye a bit of an "ah ha!" look. More tears, not so many this time, and many words of reassurance. Angus of http://wilfanddigby.blogspot.com/ wrote poignantly yesterday that "As blind dog owners learn 'to be trusted is an even greater compliment than to be loved.'" And while Petey is definitely not blind, he is disoriented -- as someone eloquently put it, his brain needs a bit of rewiring.
Got home in yet another downpour almost 11 hours after we'd left. Petey wasn't too interested in food, but I got him settled in his bed and ran across the street to the deli to get a roast beef sandwich for my dinner as I too had not eaten all day. I could only face a half a sandwich and since Petey was refusing to eat his own dinner, he proceeded to eat the lion's share of mine. Then allowed himself to be hand-fed another handful of kibble. To bed at 10:30, slept soundly until I insisted he get up this morning at 10:00 AM for a walk around the block which he did quite well. Still not interested in kibble, but more roast beef allowed me to get his antibiotic and pain pill in him. A little snooze in his own bed, then he walked into the kitchen on his own accord and drank some water and finished his kibble. Progress!
He is indeed my brave little soldier, now with a battle scar to prove it. Or as he told me, "Mom, now all the girls will think I'm winking at them!" Once I see him pick up a tennis ball, this ball of ice will finally melt inside of me.
In the meantime, many thanks for your kind words and encouragement. The power of the paw!