I brought Dixie home from SAGE yesterday after a little false start. The SAGE nurse had given me 6 different medications, explicit written home care instructions, a stern lecture on isolation, and placed her in her crate in the back of my car. I called Dave and told him we were on our way. Dixie even let out a little yip saying “Hi Daddy! I’m comin’ home!” Then I called our vet to let them know that she looked good and we were on our way home, but I would call them if anything changed and I needed to make a pitstop with them. The first thing Dixie did as we pulled onto the freeway was look straight at me with a glint of rebellion in her eyes and rip the bandage off her now IV free arm (yeah, that’ll show ’em, Dix). Who knows whether it was the first sign of a Fall chill in the wind, her excitement to bust out of jail, or that she really had to poop, but within the first 10 minutes of the drive home she started shivering. I freaked out, as you do in cases of driving 70 miles an hour and looking back at a sickly dog who has just been discharged from 5 days at the hospital. I called Dave. I called our vet. I called SAGE. I flipped the car around and drove back to the hospital.
Clearly, SAGE didn’t think it was a big deal, but I was a wreck. It took them a while to come out to my car since Typhoid Dixie, Princess of Distemper (trademark pending) can’t walk in the front door of any hospital for fear of spreading her germs. They took her temp, 103.3°. They examined her and of course at this point she had stopped shivering. I asked when was the last time she had pottied and they didn’t know, but said it was worth a shot. Sure enough, Miss Dixie left a parting gift for the people at SAGE. I’m sure this was her version of giving them the paw on the way out.
We made it home. It’s a 3 hour drive door to door. Dixie slept most of the way home and I drove with Miranda Lambert playing at negative decibels for fear of waking the sleeping dog. I found myself counting my blessings and talking to myself about how how we are going to beat this stupid, preventable, horrible disease called Distemper. I reflected on how brave I am becoming about things like blood, needles, and seeing my babies not feeling well. I quietly thanked Dave for putting up with my love of wayward animals who inevitably end up costing us a zillion dollars, but who give us so much love in return. I gave gratitude for our amazing vet and his team who had kept Dixie for 2.5 weeks, loved on her, and kept her safe. I am especially thankful for our vet who has fought so tirelessly for this little gal. He has been her biggest cheerleader and when he doesn’t hear from me in the morning (even now) he calls or texts requiring his Dixie Dog Update. Finally, I recognized how blessed we were to have gone through everything we went through with Finn’s IBD because that is what led us to SAGE years ago.
I feel like we are on our way to recovery. There is a glimmer of hope and a spark of rebellion Dixie and I share.