The attachment that I have to my dog, and that she has to me, definitely borders on unhealthy. It’s hard for me to leave for more than a few days because she’s, honestly, my bestest friend in the whole wide world.
Jessie Rue is my Toy Australian Shepherd that I purchased after almost six years of saving after my Sophomore year of basketball season in college. Purchased when I was at my absolute lowest, I was coming off back-to-back-to-back relationships, a loss of identity and a torn shoulder that left me with limited mobility while I recovered from surgery.
I had planned on getting a Labrador retriever but the pain of losing my childhood one was just too much and I couldn’t do it. In fact, I don’t know if I could ever get another Labrador, as much as I love the breed and all that they do, as my own personal dog again after that traumatic experience. That changed to my next favorite set of dogs; the large breeds.
Irish Wolfhound. Malamute. Giant Alaskan Malamute. Husky. The list goes on. I even got as far as looking at any of these breeds in any of the local shelters and I think the only one that may have stood a chance would have been the Irish Wolfhound IF we had been able to find one. Nothing stuck and then, one day, randomly on PuppyFinder.com this advertisement popped up for a toy Australian shepherd.
After talking to the breeder, it turned out that no one wanted this little female who was already twelve weeks old because she was “too big.” There was a strong chance that she was going to be too tall for the toy registry and would have to be a mini. In that circle, it was a tragedy. For me, it was nothing of the sort.
From the day that I flew Jessie Rue to Oregon from Iowa, I knew that I had my soul mate. She has slept on my bed every night, hated every boy that has stepped foot into her presence (except for my current boyfriend) and has been an absolute joy. We’ve gone through multiple houses, human best friend-ships, tragedy, loss, depression, joy, adventure, and more. She’s sat in on college basketball workouts, practiced the mile with myself and teammates, hit the courts for extra shots, shagged baseball’s at a practice, and gone to almost every rodeo in the state of Oregon.
Oh, she also has her long list of accolades as well. She’s competed in agility competitions and obedience. She’s also been the ultimate nurse and therapy dog for both a roommate overcoming an extreme accident and my current boyfriend when he was recovering from emergency surgery. She knows when people are sad or are having a bad dream and will always do what she can to help you.
Last night, I woke to a weird shaking on my foot. Glancing down to Jessie I thought, for a brief moment, that she was having a seizure. That thought was probably fresh on my brain because our older hunting dog, Molly, just started having more and more frequent seizures. Scared, I started talking to her to see if maybe she was asleep and having a nightmare.
Jessie seemed to be struggling to get her upper body/neck comfortable in laying down. Then she got up and moved into a true downward dog pose. In that position, she let out a loud wheeze and moan of troubled breathing. She then started licking her lips.
Instantly I was worried! This was not normal behavior AT ALL for her.
I moved to the family room despite it being 11:00 pm to see if she’d move around and feel better. Jumping off the bed, shaking herself out and trotting into the other room – she seemed normal.
Then it started again. The stretching, the wheezing, the moaning, and the licking. She was obviously in distress. I made the decision to call the closest veterinarian hospital to see what their thoughts were about gong in. With it being the middle of a pandemic, I wasn’t sure what the protocol would be.
As I was talking to them, she seemed to get stuck in downward dog – unable to put her hind end down and unable to get up. That scared me enough I headed in.
While it almost seemed like bloat, the veterinarian technician said that that was highly unlikely in small dogs. She said that maybe it was GI twist but not likely. The next thought, the one that made my blood run cold, was Pyometra. An infection of the uterus, it’s deadly in little dogs and life-threatening in full-size dogs.
I have worried about this for a while after a vet-friend from school recommended I get her fixed. Jessie’s main vet said that she was old enough that that was risky in and of itself. I was scared. I had tried to breed her once, we almost lost her. Then she didn’t have a heat cycle for three years! This is just her third one back, I thought that she was infertile and that she wouldn’t have one! That all changed a few years ago.
It was the longest night last night. I found myself meditating and praying to God, trying my hardest to not think of the worst. It made my heart go out to everyone that is losing loved ones to COVID-19; that one person waiting, all alone, in the hospital with no one else able to be there with them.
After much testing, tests, bloodwork ran, x-ray’s taken and more, the vets were just as baffled as me. The one thing is that the x-rays showed that she had an absolutely stuffed full belly; my dog had literally ate too much.
What’s weird is that I don’t know where it came from! She got the same amount of food as always and it was all the same kibble in her stomach that they could tell from the forced vomiting that they induced. There was no horse feed, any of the big farm dog food, or any of Phoebe the Pandemic Puppy food. It’s just so strange!
They gave her IV’s with fluids to help her with her hydration and we went home. Where we had no time to sleep as it was almost 5:00 am so a cup of coffee, organize some work and off we went. I spent the day with a side eye on Jessie, hoping to see her poop or her belly bloat to go down. We aren’t 100% out of the woods yet, but hopefully after 36 hours, everything will be all better!
It wasn’t how I expected to end my Memorial Day weekend, but I am so thankful that I have Jessie Rue with me. I fear life without her, even though I know it is inevitable, and just wish everyone could know the joy that a true canine-companion can give.