Friday, March 9, 2012

Kali's Curveball

2012 started badly. I'm writing this post as a narrative because it's been hard to keep my head (and heart) together.

On January 2, our little brown rescue dog, Kali, was savagely attacked in our yard by a feral cat. We immediately rushed her to the vet clinic (it was just after 5 p.m. so of course our regular vet was closed for the day, isn't that always the way?) We were told that she had trauma to her right eye and were given drops to release the pressure and some painkillers and told it would take a week or so for her to heal. A couple days later, my gut told me things weren't getting better and we took her to her regular vet. More exams, more pills, more drops and told her recovery should be 10 days. Kali is always my shadow but in those 10 days, she was like a crazy glue stick. If she wasn't in such pain, I think I would have taught her how to cut glass, she was that close by all the time. I hope you are as blessed as I am to know dog-love, there is nothing like it.

I am one of those people who sees the glass as half empty and frequently battle depression (despite my attempts to turn it around). I think I knew from the very beginning that she would be blind in that eye and that was o.k. with me, because I still had her and things could have been much worse. My husband on the other hand is a Pollyanna and is frequently in denial as to the reality of some things. I don't always whistle a happy tune.

After 10 days and then 14 passed by, I knew she was in trouble. She was still in pain and her spirit was damaged as well as her eye. I noticed that she was walking with her body to the right wall to compensate for the lack of sight (to give herself boundaries). Back to the vet we went and were advised to make an appointment with a dog opthalmologist. Fine. Get us in asap. Anything for my dogs. Of course, the appointment couldn't be made for another week and this opthalmologist was the only game in town (actually several towns). And of course, he confirmed what I knew all along, Kali was indeed blind in her right eye. We were given 3 options, one which I wouldn't even consider. The other options was enucleation (complete removal of the eye) or having a prosthetic eye put in for cosmetic reasons only. The prosthetic could cause future problems (infection, possible rejection by her body which would mean another surgery to remove it, etc.)

As you can imagine, I did more than a fair amount of research in January and knew that for Kali, enucleation was the best and most humane thing for her. My spouse was still in denial and "couldn't do that to her". To me, a prosthetic is merely a cosmetic fix and honestly, Kali does not care if she looks like she's winking all the time. I don't care; the day I rescued her from the side of the road, she also rescued me and I was strong enough to do what was best for her. Within 2 days, she had her surgery scheduled. She had her eye surgically removed in February with no prosthetic put in. I do not give a flying crap what people think and what their comfort level is. She is beautiful to me.

Her recovery went as well as it could although she hated the collar she had to wear for 13 days). We moved a mattess onto the living room floor as she couldn't go upstairs to the bedrooms or downstairs to the studio. I think her being confined in that way was the worst thing for her. I moved all the furniture (couches, etc.) in the living room around so she couldn't get onto them. After 10 days when she was able to jump small heights, I moved the couches back around and the first time she jumped onto one, I held my breath but she smiled that doggy smile and took a nap. After another 13 days, she was cleared, her stitches were removed, and she could then reclaim the beds for naps. Life was good for my pup again.

We're travelling this road of adjustment together, Kali and I, the rest of my family, and Kali's 2 dog "sisters" Daisy and Lanah. Life is a bit different now, she's not quite as feisty as she was before and is always with me. In time, hopefully that will change because Kali is a warrior, fierce and independent.

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