Have you ever been in one of those situations, where you just stand there with your mouth hanging open asking god or whoever “what the heck just happened?”
Well that’s what happened to me this week!
It was a perfectly normal day, untill my guide dog Gailanne started vomiting. I was a little worried, like “Oh no, she must be getting sick”. So we kept an eye on her. The next morning the same thing… So, I knew we had to take her in to the vet. I honestly expected them just to tell me she was fine, that her stomach was just upset. THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED… So the vet turns to me and tells me Gailanne has lost about 10 pounds and she wants to do blood work and a few X-rays. We’re talking 600$ and rising… awesome.
My next step is to talk with guide dogs for the blind and get all of this approved. After playing phone tag and literally monkey in the middle we get it approved, and I go home feeling semi ok about the situation so far. Ring Ring Ring goes my phone… it’s the vet. Gailanne’s blood work is great but the X-rays show something is blocking off her stomach.. WHAT!? What the heck could be blocking off her stomach? She doesn’t eat anything other than her food. She’s definitely not the kind of dog to eat toys or really anything for that matter. The vet told me she’s want to give her a medication to see if it will pass it out. ok… Again the question on everyone’s mind, how much? Will guide dogs approve this? WHEN WILL MY HEAD STOP SPINNING??? So here goes round two of the million phone calls to California, back and forth between my vet and guide dogs. Now my vet is annoyed because I cannot give consent to go ahead without the schools approval (that’s just how it works, they have to approve every step in order to pay for treatment) she was feeling, I guess like the school didn’t trust her skills or opinion. This was not the case at all, it was just protocol we had to go through. I on the other hand, I’m freaking out! Worrying what the heck is happening to my poor girl!
We went ahead with the meds FINALLY, and waited. Ring Ring Ring- Guess what, the medication didn’t work and now Gailanne needs emergency surgery! RIGHT NOW. WHAT!? What the heck is happening? At this point I need to sit down. The vets telling me if she doesn’t have surgery today she could get worse and die. How did we go from stomach bug, to her stomach will destroy her? If you can imagine another 100 phone calls went out back and forth and back and forth. This is probably the only downside with attending a school in the U.S is the long distance phone calls. Other than that they have been nothing but amazing. Even with the phone tag. Everything gets approved and within the hour Gailanne was prept for surgery. There was nothing I could do but just sit there by the phone.
Now I’m sure you’ve all had a close relationship with your pets, but there’s something about this dog . She’s more than just a dog, she’s my eyes. I am with her 24 hours a day and sometimes you take that for granted. I know I do. There are times where I just want to be alone and not have her around me all the time begging for belly rubs or attention. But now that she wasn’t there it was like I lost my senses all over again. I got ready to go out and my first instinct was to call her to go, and she wasn’t there. There was a possibility that she may not be there ever again. Talk about gut wrenching. I probably sat there with my phone in my hand the rest of the day, trying to will it to ring. Once it did it was like a wave of relief.
Gailanne had made it through surgery and was recovering perfectly. What they found in her stomach was another story. The vet went on to tell us that what they found in Gails stomach is extremely rare in dogs. Apparently Gailanne has been eating her own hair! GROSS! It can be caused by over grooming or like an obsession of licking herself or her bed. Over time it built up into one GIANT hairball. It’s common in cats but rare in dogs, and even happens with people to! Its called Trichotillomania.
Honestly, it’s pretty gross, but can be caused by anxiety. The vet said this must be like her safety blanket either when she’s stressed or bored. There isn’t really a way to prevent it, other than being extra meticulous with grooming. Looks like gailanne will be getting a few more brushes and baths than she used to! Gailanne has always been a little fussy with her grooming. She likes to be well kept. (She’s high maintenance apparently!) Everytime we’ve noticed her licking to much, we always tell her to stop and she does. So I was shocked to say the least, when the vet told us that’s what she found. She must be doing it at night while I’m asleep or during the times she stays home and we go out. The vet suggested to leave her cone on every time she has to be alone for about the next 6 months, in hopes that will break the habit.
Worth a shot for sure! SO yeah, I don’t know about you, but this last week has been one for the books. I am just so thankful right now for our vet who found this, and especially for Guide Dogs For The Blind who helped cover all of Gailanne’s emergency vet bills. If it wasn’t for the amazing school, I don’t know where I would be today. It is because of their training and care, and continuous support for all of their dogs and graduates that help keep teams like myself and Gailanne going.
Let’s hope next weeks surprises will be happier ones!
Until next time,