This Thing Called Courage

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fionnbhar the Dog Recovering

Fionn (FIN) the Dog has had a rough couple of months, which means of course that I have as well. It all began at the beginning of August, on a lovely day, when I was working up in Sandown, NH, building stone walls, a pleasant enough though arduous task, especially when one is in the Granite State and there is plenty of stone at hand, and when one is working cheek-to-jowl with a beautiful conservation land of woods and wetlands, as we were. From time to time we would set Fionn free in the fenced-in backyard, and let him chase thrown balls. On this particular beautiful day, he chased the ball readily enough, but once at the ball he wouldn't pick it up. Instead he turned and looked at me.

The next day my dear friend Dermot and I went to Castle Island in S-B for lunch. It was a scorcher of a day. En route, Fionn was sitting in Dermot's lap. Dermot shifted, and Fionn began yelping in pain as I had never heard him yelp before. Once we got out of the car I went over his body inch by inch, but could nothing that made him wince, nothing swollen or bruised or battered. Over the next few days he would do this intermittently-- again i could find nothing wrong with him. Then it became apparent that he could not, or would not, open his mouth. He stopped barking. He stopped yawning. He grew listless. I had to hand-feed him soft liquidy stuff. A trip to the vet (the first of many) resulted. They thought he had suffered a head trauma of some kind, and that, while the wound was healing, an infection had started and gone into the hinge area of his jaw. They put him on a strong antibiotic, and said if that didn't work, they'd have to go in there for tests and possible surgery-- it would be delicate, as the area was so close to his brain. The meds seemed to do some good, as slowly he got better, and began yawning again (though only halfway) and barking again. When the meds were up, he had recovered perhaps 75%, and I was loathe to have him be subject to invasive testing, as it seemed nature was taking her course and healing him.

Such was not the case. We woke up one morning and his face was swollen to twice its size. One eye was closed with the swelling. I thought it was some kind of allergy, as he kept rubbing at it, to the point where he rubbed away the fur and skin. It was a Sunday and I couldn't bring him back to my vet until the next day, where I was told that he had a very serious abscess-- the worst my vet had seen in 40 years of practice-- and that he needed to go immediately to the emergency hospital. We hastened to the New England Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn, a state-of-the-art emergency care hospital that is more like a modern day hospital for humans. They performed surgery on him the next day, and kept him there for most of that week. When he came home, whimpering still and all stitched up, and half his head shaved, we had a few sleepless nights while we fought over getting his meds into him, and to keep his bonnet on. That was four weeks ago today, and I'm happy to say that it appears he's made a total recovery.

We had a lot of time at home, and during that time I have (more or less) finished Happy Land, the novel I've been working on for about four years. I may self-publish an e-version of the book this winter, once I have a new website up where one can get e-book versions of my first three books, which started going out of print when my first publisher was sold several years ago-- so stay tuned for updates on that. And to all who sent prayers, notes, flowers, and other forms of encouragement during Fionn's time of travail, a huge thank you-- your support means more to me than I can say.


Blogger Nigel said...

My lady ran over her favourite dog, a miniature Daxie called Sharptooth. The skin was ripped from his stomach and at first the vet thought he was going to die. But he survived the first day or so, on a drip. The vet did a skin graft, and gradually he got better. He's such a little fighter. He was determined he was not going to die. He got so used to being at the vet that when we took him afterwards for an injection he trotted round saying hullo to everybody.

So glad Fionnbhar is better. We give them a part in our hearts. Proof if we needed it that love is more important than anything else.

9:36 PM  
Blogger BiscuitsBoy said...

Hi Nigel and thanks for the comment! You're absolutely right, they have such a will to live-- and glad Sharptooth made a full recovery! Let me know when/if you need more Happy Land....

9:41 AM  
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