Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lessons on stress resilience - with your dog

My very exhausted dog...

This weekend was an interesting one.  My parents decided to throw me a lovely birthday party with close family and friends on Saturday evening.  All week long I thought up a plan of how I wanted to spend the day: I'd wake up early, get in an awesome morning workout, get a manicure, go to Nordstrom to pick out a birthday outfit, then spend the afternoon watching the Seahawks beat the Saints, then get ready for my party....

Those events did NOT happen.  On Friday afternoon, noticed Lucy (my dog) was not feeling well.  By the evening I thought she seemed relatively better, but on Saturday morning I was awakened to a mess on my carpet, followed by a few more messes in my entry way (I will spare you the gross details but it was particularly worrisome compared to other accidents she's had).  I called the vet and they told me I'd need to bring her in.  Of course, scurrying around to clean up the mess, change, gather my/our things, and get out the door was not easy. 

When I arrived at the vet parking lot, a huge rain and wind storm began.  I opened the back of my car to find more messes all over Lucy's kennel, leash, and on the carpeting.  Since I had no usable leash, poor Lucy had to sit on the pavement as cars zoomed by, while I tried picking up the mess with the wind blowing away every piece of debris in my car across the parking lot.  I eventually took a nice canvas bag, filled it with the disgusting items, and resentfully threw the entire bag in the garbage can.

When I actually got into the vet clinic, the person who assisted me was not helpful. They had to wait for Lucy's test results on Monday to give me a diagnosis (understandably), but they wouldn't provide me with guidance on what to do in the meantime - should I feed her? Not feed her? Watch her closely? What symptoms should I look for? etc.  In short, I drove home (after going to Target to buy a new leash and carpet stain remover) feeling completely helpless, fearful, and frustrated

After getting home, I left Lucy quarantined in the entry way on her pillow.  She was a trooper, poor thing.  I eventually watched the football game alone (without the family, friends, and kegs I had planned to enjoy), and around half time had to go back to the vet to get medicine for Lucy.  By the end of the day (once my birthday party was over), I crawled into bed feeling completely exhausted - grateful for wonderful family and friends, but not thrilled with the way the day had panned out.

Fortunately, after Saturday Lucy started to improve significantly.  She responded well to her medicine and was completely her normal self.  Last night we went on a walk together, and when we got back home we just sat down next to each other and hugged.  She then proceeded to goof off around the house and play with me.  At that moment it all sunk in: We got through this, Lucy. This weekend was insane but we survived, and everything is okay.  I still have a happy healthy dog and that's all that matters!  Observing Lucy recover over the past few days also made me realize that we really need to take care of ourselves - especially when we aren't feeling well.  Often times we think of our own self care last.  I felt proud that I was able to effectively care for Lucy and learn from my experience.

Here's to hoping that the rest of January will be a month filled with happiness, fun, and good health!