October 18th, 2016
Bailey won’t be celebrating Mother’s Day. She was spayed on October 5th at 20 months of age. In technical terms, Bailey was given an ovario-hysterectomy and we received an $800 bill. Giant breeds cost more because of their size. At least, the nail trim was thrown in for free. Was it worth it? You bet. An unplanned litter of puppies is not an easy thing to take on. Besides having the expertise to breed healthy Newfoundland dogs and the facilities, you really need to be committed. The first few weeks are spent monitoring the puppies for 24 hours, 7 days a week. It may sound easy. However, staying awake after several days of little sleep and trying to function can be very challenging. Bailey was not going to be a mom.
As Bailey’s surgery date drew closer, I found myself getting quite anxious about her going under general anesthestic. With this type of surgery, there are risks associated with it. It was these risks that kept me preoccupied. What if she was given too much anesthestic? I had read of this happening on several of my Newf Facebook pages. I guess that’s why I made sure that upon check-in, the veterinarian staff knew she was 109 pounds. I repeated the number quite a few times. I also realized how attached I had become to our sweetness. If she did not survive the surgery, my life (our family’s life) would never be the same. The day before the surgery was spent trimming and bathing Bailey. With her looking and smelling wonderful, my attention turned to washing down her kennel pen. It was spotless before long due to channelling my anxiety. Bailey refused her dinner. I knew she would not be happy when the food did not appear in the morning. Did she know something was up? Now, we just needed to get a good night’s sleep before taking her in the next morning for 8:30 am. I tossed and turned the entire night. Morning came just as l was falling into a deep sleep. Bailey and I took a long walk – the last one for the next week as she would be recovering. Bailey routinely enjoys gulping and spraying water after the early morning walk. She was mystified that her water bowl had disappeared. Her attempts to jog my memory were in vain. The dish did not materialize.
We arrived on time and the paperwork was quickly filled out. Bailey, not liking the smoothness of the vet’s office flooring, made a dash for the rubberized-coated scale. Taking her weight was not a problem. After one last rub, we handed Bailey on the end of her leash to a staff member and watched as she was led away. Bailey was gone but, not forgotten. The day dragged despite a multitude of chores that needed to get done. Finally, it was 3 pm and we could bring our gal home. She was a bit groggy. Yet, she could still manage a tail wag for us. On each of her front legs, she was sporting two rectangular bare spots that had been shaved for the IV fluid drip and the monitoring apparatus. Bailey’s furry underside had also been partially shaved and we could see how trim she was. We were given instructions to keep Bailey to a sedentary way of life for 7 to 10 days and to limit food intake for the first day. She also came home with medication and “the cone of shame” as it is referred to in dog circles. I was glad that Bailey was only 109 pounds as we lifted her into the van. The ride home was uneventful as Bailey was so drowsy.
She was not too energetic and seemed content enough to stay in her kennel. I had put a red fleece blanket down on the concrete in the hopes Bailey would find it comfortable. Usually, she loves lying on cement – chewing anything lying between her and the cement’s coolness. My husband assembled the cone with its powdered blue dog prints. He enlarged it to the widest setting. We figured out how to get it on her with a minimal struggle. Bailey was not pleased with her new look. She reminded me of a flower. At this point, Bailey did not care to fight it and simply went back to sleep. She perked up later in the evening and joined us in the living room. I gave her a quick brush on her head and back to pacify her about not having the full nightly spa treatment. Apparently, Bailey does not see her grooming time as an optional activity.
Bailey returned to her old self over the next few days. She seemed bewildered that outside excursions were limited to business breaks. We had to restrict her play with fetching “Stuffie”. Bailey would defiantly shake her Stuffie as if to say, “Fine, I will play by myself.” Stuffie was taken away for a while and only returned when Bailey had settled down for a nap. The hardest part was not taking Bailey out for her three daily walks and playdates with Cas. I suddenly had the time to catch up with many of the fall chores. The cone remained off during the day because we could keep an eye on her. It was worn at night time much to Bailey’s dismay. One family member did not share Bailey’s disdain towards the cone. One day, I came into the garage to find it sitting on my son’s head. I had to take a photo for future blackmail as evidence of a new teenage fashion statement. He does not seem eager to wear it to school though. It has been more than 10 days and Bailey has recovered completely. With a snowfall warning in effect for later today, I am hoping that her bare areas will grow fur quickly before winter’s arrival in a few short weeks.