A life update on Remy… Well, we’re a month into summer, and it’s been a very difficult time for this household. We haven’t been able to enjoy the warmer weather as much as we’d like.
I’m really glad I decided to start blogging again, because writing has always been a great outlet for me to relieve stress and emotions. I tend to keep things bottled up, and I try not to bother other people with my problems, but sometimes that’s not the best way to deal with things.
Aforementioned Life Update on Remy
Remy and I have been to the veterinarian 5 times over the course of the last month. 5 unexpected, unplanned, and unhappy trips, when we normally only visit once a year. I’m supremely grateful to Lamb’s Gap Animal Hospital, and I can’t recommend them enough. They’ve dealt with frantic phone calls, crying in their offices, and even lent me towels during one unfortunate trip that resulted in dog vomit in the backseat. They’re the best practice in the area, and I’ll never take my fur family any place else.
At the beginning of June, I noticed that Remy wasn’t eating his food well. While normally a ferocious consumer of dinner, Remy actively avoided his bowl. Weirder still, he’d take pieces into his mouth and then let them fall back out without chewing. I tried adding water to make it softer, thinking it might be hard on his teeth, but that didn’t help either. If I hand-fed him, I could get him to take a bit, but he wasn’t eating his normal 2 cups a day. I grew really worried and brought Remy in. They poked, they prodded, they stretched, they straightened. Nothing. No determination for his odd behavior.
A few days later, Remy stopped eating entirely. He seemed normal, if not a bit subdued, but he refused to eat. This concerned me, so I recorded his behavior and reviewed it with his vet again. She agreed this was extremely odd for him, so we ordered a full workup of his blood. But everything came back normal. Better still: according to his physical examinations (2 now) and his blood work, Remy was in perfect health. We chalked it up to a picky dog that just didn’t like his food anymore. I called the dog food company and received confirmation of a slight formula tweak.
“Great!” I thought. “Now we know why he’s not eating. I’ll get him his old food, and that’ll be that.”
Last week, Remy started heavily panting and drinking tons of water, even though the AC (and a ceiling fan) were on in the house. His head felt extremely warm to the touch. I couldn’t explain why, since Quincy wasn’t experiencing similar symptoms. But I assumed Remy just didn’t deal with the heat well.
On Independence Day, Remy threw up twice – basically all water, with a few treats he got from Petsmart. I got him shaved (the featured image of this post), thinking that maybe he was just overheating himself. I got him a cooling pad (which he loves) and a life-vest, with the intent to take him swimming the following day. The shave seemed like it helped…. he seemed like his old self, but he still didn’t want to eat all his food.
On Wednesday, Remy had severe diarrhea. He stayed with me that night. At 4AM, Remy started panting heavily. It was fast, it was loud, his head was burning up. And when I placed him on the floor to try to cool him off, his breathing became so shallow, that at one point, I couldn’t discern if he was still breathing.
I’ve never been so panicked in my life. And I’ve never felt so helpless either.
People often kid and make jokes about pet parents. That we make a big deal about things, that they’re just animals, that it’s not like having a real kid, etc. I’ve heard them all. But what I felt last Thursday at 4AM? That was fear, dread, helplessness; an overwhelming sadness that brokered sobs I have experienced since the loss of a close, personal friend. And I don’t care what anyone thinks, but don’t tell me that what I felt is any less that what a “real” parent might feel. It was a horrible, horrible experience that I would never wish on anyone.
Saying All That
We made it to the vet the same day – and I’m so, so grateful to Lamb’s Gap for that. They not only dealt with me crying to them on the phone, begging them to help me, but they walked me through everything I could do to keep Remy comfortable, and what to look for in the meantime, in case I needed to get him to an ER.
Remy still seems absolutely fine. He was happy to see everyone again at the vet. He showed some stiffness in his hips, so that’s one of the things we’re considering. But we don’t have an official diagnosis on what’s been going on with him. He’s currently on 3 medications to get his gastrointestinal issues settled, and 1 joint supplement to help with the stiffness. The plan is to slowly wean him from the medicine to see if his problems were solely stomach related, and if not…. well, then we’ll keep eliminating possibilities until we figure out why my precious Golden is feeling the way he feels.
I can’t tell you how stressful and worrisome this has all been. But I’m happy that Remy is seeming better than he was before. His appetite is still spotty (he’s refusing to eat carbs, and just wants to eat the chicken of his bland diet), but he’s not vomiting, and he doesn’t have diarrhea. Which, that alone, I am thankful for.
All I can do is keep trusting in the wonderful doctors at Lamb’s Gap, and hoping we figure out what’s going on. Because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Remy yet. Neither is his brother. Neither is my family. Remy has been with me since he was 8wks old, and he’s the first pup I raised entirely on my own. In every way, he is my eldest son.
And I need him to be okay.