There was potential for this to be a tremendously heart-breaking blog.
Instead, its just a sad blog in lots of ways.
Because Ike isn’t a Fyfe anymore and even though Hims is the goodest boy ever he has one of the most terrible vices a dog can have.
Ike ate another large rock and it got stuck again.
See, back in February when Alistair and I decided to take a chance on this love-bug we told each other that it was a one-chance type of deal. He had eaten a rock that got stuck back in December and his previous owners were still paying that surgery off. Ike is young (2 years now), kind, and nicely trained so we went for the surgery to remove the second stuck rock after hours (thank-you, again, Dr.Sami and Cody) and a few days later Ike came home.
To Fyfe Life.
I mean, you have to be smart about these things. A young dog who is a repeat offender for chasing cats or barking at the UPS truck is one thing. Generally you can try to change these behaviors. Retrievers, in particular, are very trainable because they truly want to please you when you are upset about something. (Unlike, say, a Jack Russel Terrier who might clearly recognize that you’re mad but they don’t really give a hoot as to why.)
But rock eating, not unlike fence-jumping if you live on a busy road, tends to have life-threatening consequences. A one-time situation isn’t a deal breaker in my head (unless you honestly can’t afford the surgery and, hey, this is a no-judgement zone on that one.)
And the two-time situation back in February was questionable for sure.
Ike’s previous owners knew there was a chance for a three-peat and elected euthanasia unless we could re-home him with someone willing to pay for the second surgery.
We just wanted to give the cute little fella another chance.
And boy, did we have fun!
Hims got to travel to the ND Fyfe Farm and bond with Alistair and even our neighbors for 3 weeks and they travelled back here where he got to bond with his new canine bestie, Jazz Champion for 3 weeks.
They ran, they leapt, they smashed into each other, they played, they found body parts in the forest, they got treats, they cuddled on the couch, they rolled in the snow and they cuddled with Richmond & Paige Champion when they spent the night before taking Jazzie back home to her world in Stevensville.
That was Saturday night.
I already had worries in my head at that point because I saw a rock in Ike’s poops the day before (yes, I know whose poop is whose… Jazzie’s poops are dinosaur-sized!)
When you’re a veterinarian you look at your pet’s poops. When you’re a veterinarian who adopted a rock-eater, you do so with even more scrutiny.
The rock wasn’t hidden or anything, either. It was a decent size and I had it in my head to be on the worry for Ike.
Who didn’t poop on our walk Saturday evening.
Or Sunday morning.
Or Sunday evening.
Or Monday morning, for that matter and while we do have a forest behind our home and he often runs around in there while I’m walking the driveway, usually he did his ‘thing’ close to the road. But I had the worry and the concern in my head so it was no real shocker to me when he vomited his mostly undigested kibble Monday afternoon.
And he vomited a couple more times through that night, too.
Alistair was in ND but he was aware of everything every day and we kept reminding ourselves what we had agreed upon back in February.
I’ll add that I spent a great deal of time crying Monday and Tuesday but you probably knew that already.
I could have taken care of things on my own at the farm here but, I’ll be honest, after recently doing that with Sport and Bebe the mere thought of it almost made me ill to my stomach. Alistair didn’t want me to do that, either so when Ike was pretty subdued and glued to my side on Tuesday morning’s walkies we decided to go for some confirmation.
I called my Internal Med vet friend in Missoula and asked about taking some x-rays. His technician on the phone was all cheerful and friendly until I explained that if there was a rock the appointment would then be a euthanasia.
I had some more snuggles with our lovely boy and then we loaded up and drove the hour to Missoula together.
Where my Internal Med vet friend and I took x-rays that revealed what I already knew to be true.
That big radio-opaque honker is the rock.
My Internal Med vet friend and I discussed the why’s of canine rock-eaters and neither of us had an answer. He agreed that three lodged rocks in five months’ time was too many and the final decision should be made. I told him I hadn’t brought my own drugs so, barely getting the words out, I half-sobbingly asked him if I could use his supplies to put Ike down.
Which is when he told me that his technician had already said she would want to save the dog after she and I had talked on the phone earlier.
And she called her husband (like I had done in February) and they chose to pursue the surgery to remove the rock and then take Ike home to their house (like we had done in February.)
I mean, that’s great, right?
Ike was getting a third chance to prove he knows how to stop eating rocks!
But I worry that we just passed the buck here.
My Internal Med vet friend and I both explained to the technician (who I don’t even know, to be honest- I had never met her before that day) how these types of repeat offenders tend to have a habit of breaking human hearts. I tried to make it very clear that this was NOT a money issue because she seemed a teensy bit judgey and made a comment about “not being able” to pursue the surgery.
I’m not slagging her at all.
She and her family saved Ike.
And the very next day when I was vetting in Deer Lodge I got email confirmation that the rock is out and Hims was recovering nicely. I will connect with them this coming week to get them his microchip information and briefly touch base one more time.
My Deer Lodge vet day was perfectly messed up on Wednesday so it was a terrific distraction. Only Dr.Sami knew the situation because, frankly, I would have lost it if I had shared what went down with our staff who all loved what had transpired back in February.
Last Wednesday we were ridiculously short-staffed but we still had a wonderful team. We all pulled together and helped each other and what could easily have turned into a massive shit-storm turned into a pretty cool day. Our packed parking lot up front was a clear contrast to the almost empty staff parking lot out back and there was every opportunity to feel overwhelmed but we chose to focus on being the best versions of ourselves that we could be.
And all of our clients were very understanding and appreciative.
And the sun was shining all day and it felt good to go out and talk with people about their pets.
And the Universe rewarded me afterwards with puppies.
Because, you know… puppies.
I do think the Universe sometimes gives me these things when I am faced with terrifyingly sad or frightening things that I absolutely have to do.
Like sending Sport and Bebe over the Rainbow Bridge on one day together earlier this month.
And like bringing Ike in for conformational radiographs and being ready to do the really difficult thing but then choosing to let someone else give him another chance.
Maybe the Universe is saying, “hey, Fyfe, you frigging tried, alright? No more you can do here. In the meantime, here’s some puppies.”
Big, fuzzy, tubby Newfoundland puppies.
16 of them, to be precise.
Yeah, that’s not an exaggeration, either. My technician and each I carried a small bear cub of a puppy into and then out of the clinic where we would then march back to the puppy-strewn Suburban and trade off for 2 more fuzzballs.
8 times we did this.
(I know the folks in the red pickup truck were jealous!)
And I was telling a realtor friend of mine about Ike and then the crazy vet day on Friday and sharing how everything went down when out of the blue, in marched a client with his brand new Harlequin Great Dane puppy I had a huge part in arranging for him. He had just picked him up in Deer Lodge and the dog is so stinking cute and my client is so stinking happy.
I turned to my realtor friend and said, “See? Puppies!”
So all is good, albeit sad without Ike in the house.
I guess we were just meant to be Ike’s foster family.
I’ll hike with the barn kitties (who aren’t complaining, by the way… in their words if they want to choose to climb a tree they’d like to choose that on their own, not with a black dog chasing them up!) down the driveway or we’ll hike without any animal for awhile now.
While we were able to save sweet Ike for ourselves, we couldn’t save him from himself.
Maybe his new folks can.