There were lots of reasons I didn't want a puppy, most of them having something to do with the work, mess and loss of freedom. But aside from all those practical reasons, I didn't want a puppy because it was one more thing to worry about. In a heartache sort of way. I've had enough practice at this "life" thing that I know things happen. Things get hurt. Sometimes they die. Plants die. Pets die. People die. I didn't want one one more thing in my life that I cared about, that could cause my heart to hurt.
I knew eventually I'd probably cave in and love the little critter. Sure enough, she's wormed her way into my heart. Even though she's a girly girl and a drama queen (made even more evident by the story to come) and has made the entire family give up their laps, sleep schedules, and ability to walk without using a chihuahua seeking shuffle. So now I have to worry about her. And it's scary worrying about something so small that she takes up less space in the world then a comma in the middle of a sentence in the middle of the complete works of Shakespeare. She's the size of a mosquito. She could be swatted out of existence with so little effort, how does one go about protecting something that fragile?
Yesterday was her appointment to get her second shots. She'd had her first set of puppy shots the day before we got her, and she was fine when we brought her home. The breeder didn't mention anything about her having a reaction to the shot. I actually thought to ask our vet yesterday, but when he had an emergency come in (foxtail) and people and puppies were backed up two layers deep in the waiting room, I rushed out without remembering.
She seemed fine when we got her home, but was so tuckered out by the excitement of the trip to the vet that she took a nap. I ran off to a quilt meeting about an hour later and by the time I got home Rosie had slept most of the the evening away and was starting to look a little shaky. We all settled in around a couple of DVD's and took turns holding her, watching the movie and keeping an eye on her. She went from "she doesn't seem very happy" to "something is definitely wrong" pretty quickly.
I checked the internet to see what was normal, what was dangerous. The wonders of modern technology, sometimes the internet can answer the most obscure question in less then a minute. And sometimes what seems like a straightforward, useful, everyone would want to know this information and someone must have posted it to a zillion websites, is as elusive as bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or those weapons of mass destruction Saddam supposedly had. GRRRRRR. I found lots of information on life threatening symptoms (basically anyphylactic shock), but only vague references to "some puppies do have reactions" or "some reactions are normal" without telling us just WHAT those symptoms were.
Halfway through movie #2, I realized I'd gone from being comfortable waiting 'til morning to knowing I needed to make a phone call. Only, who to call? I knew calling the local vet would lead me through a maze of answering services and/or recorded phone numbers, with stern warnings to use only in the case of an urgent emergency. (Isn't urgent emergency redundant?) WAS this an emergency? I didn't know. I'm usually capable. I'm usually knowledgable and self sufficient. Hell, I'd just dealt with my niece slicing the tip of her finger off with almost nonchalant doctoring. I didn't like not knowing if it this was an emergency. After letting my brain run around in circles for awhile, I decided to call my sister, who had the good sense (or the misfortune, your call) to become a vet and therefore capable of telling me if I had to race my shivering little peanut to some emergency vet clinic 100 miles away (like when my dog Maybel was bitten by a rattlesnake in the outback of San Diego county), or if was safe to watch and wait for the sun to rise. It was 2:30 am her time (Colorado to my California) when I called her.
She's truly a wonderful sister. She was gracious. Concerned. Coherent. She had some good suggestions. And a few bad ones, like "check her gums and tell me what color they are" - I tried and almost lost a finger. Or "do you have a rectal thermometer?" Uhm, she wasn't happy about me messing around with her mouth, how do you think she'd feel about me messing around with her other end? The good suggestions she offered were to stay up watching her (like I could sleep anyway with Rosie shaking and shivering and whining and wobbling!) and make sure she didn't get dehydrated. She wouldn't accept water. My sister had the brilliant (if obvious - it's amazing how hard it is for brain cells to talk to one another when under stress) idea of tempting her with something wet with flavor. And to call our vet in town if she got any worse.
I thanked my sister (aka the built in family vet) for being helpful in the middle of the night and then rummaged in the kitchen until I came up with a can of canned chicken that fortunately was as much broth as it was chicken (sneaky way to make more profit). I offered it to Rosie and she managed to perk up her ears and pick up her head for the first time all evening. She was still miserable, but clearly well enough to be excited about chicken, and now I knew she safely had some fluids in her, so we went off to bed.
But not to sleep. Actually, she wouldn't sleep with me. Usually she's wrapped around my neck all night (which makes me feel like some 40's movie queen stylishly, if mordidly, wearing her fox or mink stole), but tonight, even through her misery, she was thinking clearly enough to decide I was on her shit list. After all, I was the one who had taken her to that evil vet. I was the one that poked and prodded her and made her try to walk and eat when all she wanted was to be be allowed to curl up miserably and be left alone. I had the gall to try to see if her gums were pink! Even the chicken broth offering wasn't enough to forgive the indignities she'd suffered at my hands. So we slept with her tucked up against Jeff on one side of the bed, me safely on the other side of the bed, her watching me with that evil eye look that one only sees in teenagers and toddlers dealt bitter deals at the hands of their parents (like being forced to share a toy or not being allowed to go to the unchaperoned party that EVERYONE elses parents are letting them go to), me watching her and wondering how we'd all live without her if she didn't get better. Why is it that "kids" do all the worry making and "parents" do all the worrying? It is SO not fair.
This morning she was still a bit under the weather. My sister called to check on Rosie. I called the local vet to tell them what had happened. The info was added to her chart. They suggested trying a different kind of shot next time. My sister suggested a more limited round of shots.
I'm beginning to come to understand how much of a little princess she truly is. The other day, she tripped over the hose. Yes, you heard me right. She's so small, she TRIPPED over the hose. She tripped and immediately went into frenzied limping in circles, even a few roll overs, yelping piteously, flailing her obviously broken leg. Upset, I delicately scooped her up to offer comfort, and then carefully put her back down to see which leg was hurt, if she could put any weight on it at all, already adding up in my head the cost of a vet bill for a tiny plaster cast. The minute her paws touched the ground she whined, looked up at me with her oversized bug eyes watering in pain, fell over dramatically, and pleaded for me to pick her up again and then.... she heard a sound. Her radar dish ears went sideways. Aha! A cat! And off she ran to play, on four perfectly sturdy NON-injured legs!
Now it's afternoon and, except for continued tenderness at the injection site, she seems to be returning to her squirmy, busy self. Whew. Thank the gods and goddesses. And thankfully, I've been forgiven. In part because she feels better, in part because I shared my toast with her. Rosie LOVES toast. She insisted on taking her afternoon snooze in my lap, even though it means holding my feet up at an unnatural position in the computer chair to create enough lap even for tiny her, and hunching my arms up and over her to reach the keyboard. Sigh. The things we suffer for love.