Monday, June 29

Oh, what a night . . .

Atticus is a big dog . . . a huge dog actually.

He weighs almost 140 pounds -- about twice what a normal German shepherd weighs. But, his heart is twice as big too.

His size draws comments everywhere we go. And his personality wins folks over.

Always has.Because of A's size and build, I am very aware of his risk for bloat. Perhaps too acutely aware.

Last night, after a late dinner, Atticus started to display symptoms of bloat. He was whining, retching, licking, pacing.

I took him to the 24-hour emergency vet. We spent 2.5 hours and more than $500 there.He's okay. Didn't bloat. Came home with meds for his upset stomach and gas. Yes, gas.

But, I witnessed such heartache in that waiting room in the middle of the night, last night.

I am so, SO fortunate, not to be among those aching folks I saw there.

The people with the sick cat who couldn't breath. The giant schnauzer's folks who brought his body in for cremation. The couple with the mutt who couldn't walk.I've been there before, and I'll be there again.But, that's what happens when you love a dog. . .

It hurts to lose them,

It hurts bad.

But living with them . . . well, it's worth it.


  1. Wow - memories.

    When I saw the thumbnail photo in my sidebar, my heart skipped a beat, because it reminded me of my Asha who was with me for 12 years and died last September at age 14. She was a big girl, too, fluctuating between 88 and 94 lbs.

    The bloat story brought back memories also, because I was always afraid of that, although it never happened.

    And then the veterinary hospital part of the story - I volunteered for a couple of years at the shelter part of a vet clinic, and walked through the lobby many times a day - regularly saw things that broke my heart and filled my eyes with tears.

    But your last few sentences reminded me of why we go through it. So true.

  2. Dear Stiffie:

    I am so relieved that this late night visit to the canine emergeny room didn't end like thew last one, when I brought poor Gatsby in. You will never know the dark thoughts that ran through my mind, as I sat in the car, in the parking lot last night, until 2am, waiting for you and Atticus to come out.

    And I had no idea what I would have said, had you come out alone. "Not another Gatsby tonight, Dear Lord," I prayed.

    Gatsby's collar still hangs on my desk, where the rising sun shines through it every morning. Atticus doesn't know it used to belong to his Uncle. I looked at Atticus this morning, and thought, "Today is better day for having his black velvet nose shoved in my face before breakfast."

    The big guy's nails continue to click on the floor... And another summer with Atticus begins. There is somethig about spending hot summers with Atticus Finch.

    My love for you is boundless... And your dogs too.

    The man in the next room,

    PS: I put my ice cream down on the kitchen table tonight, to put the container back in the freezer. I turned around just fast enough to catch Scout licking it. This house is a hot bed of canine conspiracy.

  3. Phew! For you all. Glad everything turned out aok.

  4. Thank goodness everything turned out well. I'll never complain about gassy smells again.
    Give Atticus a big hug for me.

  5. I know how those middle of the night terrors can be and you are right they are so worth it! I went through back surgery with my mini weinie and that was so traumatic for all of us! So glad your gorgeous Atticus is alright! yay!

  6. Your dog is so gorgeous, I'm so glad he's OK. My Izzi is almost 14and is currently being held together with a variety of medications. It's quite costly but worth every penny.

  7. Dear Stiffie:

    It was somewhat shocking to discover that when I die, you have reserved a place for me with the garbage cans at the curb... But that the slightest reflection of Atticus's mortality causes all molecular activity to cease.


    The ambulance driver and the guy in the front office,

    With all my love,

  8. You photos of Atticus and Kiran are awesome, as are they.
    It helps to count our blessings, doesn't it?
    Happy days,

  9. seeing the puppy picture brought back memories of when his tail was bigger than he was. I wondered if he would ever grow into that tail....he sure has, and then some!

  10. What a beautiful post, Leslie. Oh how those furry companions become such big parts of our lives and of our hearts. And at the end of the day, we would do anything to keep them healthy and/or from suffering even for a minute!

    Looking forward to seeing you in August, dear Leslie! :-)

  11. I forgot how little he was. I'm glad it was nothing other than gas. Dogs with their unconditional love are so important in our lives. If only humans could love the way a dog can.

  12. oh I do know these happy this is not the time yet for dear Atticus.


  13. Oh my goodness... so glad to hear he's ok! Hope he's feeling better now :)

  14. Oh, heavens! You are very wise. Bloat is a horrible thing and often people don't know about it, even people with big doggies. Atticus is a lucky boy to have such a good mom!

  15. atticus is so beautiful, leslie... when i look at him 'evolved soul' always pops into my mind. every time...

  16. Dearest Leslie... so glad Atticus is OK... I love this gentle guardian, even though I've never run my fingers through his fur... I know, every second with these precious animals... is a gift, one I never take for granted... especially as our little Nikki fades... please give Atticus a pat for me... XO

  17. Dear Leslie,
    So glad your sweet Atticus is ok. I want him to live for MANY more years!!! Oh how I feel for you!

    I just loved my German Shepherd, Gretchen. I will NEVER get over loosing her. She was kind of like a sister, a companion, a playmate, a loyal friend. It is the HARDEST part of having an animal, to loose them!!

    It is appearent how special you Atticus is! Look how sweet and gentle he is with Kiran!!!


  18. Glad Atticus got back on his paws. It is hard to face the mortality of our family, isn't it? All we can do is LOVE them.

  19. I never heard of bloat is a scary thing.
    Is Atticus well now? His little buddy would be devastated should anything happen to him.

  20. I am glad that everything is very well with Atticus. I know what means to LOVE our pets! I LOVE my dear Flora too!

  21. So glad Atticus is OK.

    We do love our animals so..and they love us
    really very important and wonderful relationships.

  22. oh my Leslie
    so thankful to hear that everyone made it through this scare
    thankful for that big dog of love
    thankful for you
    thankful for the rest I hope you have gotten after this long night...

    xox - eb.

  23. I am so happy that Atticus is all right... he is such a beauty and a gentle soul... Roxanne

  24. Atticus is certainly a handsome dog. Glad he is better.

  25. Awww... Yes, living with dogs (or a cat, in my case) is worth it. Lucky Atticus, lucky you. :)

  26. Gorgeous dog, I am in awe of the realtionship between your son and him. Wow! on another note, good to be aware of bloat and I am glad that he only had gas.

  27. Beautiful dog you have Leslie. And that adorable child. Must be your grandbaby? Great photos - love the last one. Enjoying seeing your art too...amazing! So glad to have met you this weekend.