Last night was pretty rough for Nozomi, my one-of-a-kind mini dachshund. Around 8:30pm she started vomiting, bringing up her dinner from a few hours beforehand, then later her breakfast from the morning. She had some trouble with the bathroom and pooped in the house where we don't like to see such things, and then she made things worse by walking around with goop in her paws. Typically when this sort of thing happens, I don't get upset with her as it's clearly a health-related issue. First I put her in her bathroom area in case she needed to evacuate more stuff from either end. Then I cleaned the floor, using boiling water to get the bulk of the mess and following up with disinfectant to ensure it was all clean afterwards1. Then I brought Nozomi to the bathroom for a quick shower. All in all it was half an hour's worth of work, and this is typically the end of the trouble.
However, Nozomi was really ill yesterday. More than I realized.
Around 10:30pm she vomited again on the freshly-scrubbed floor, though not as much as before. Once more, I cleaned the floor and made sure she was okay.
Then at 1:15am she woke me up with that sound she makes as she's trying to throw up. I managed to move some of the newspaper I put on the ground to catch whatever Nozomi was going to eject. This time, though, it was darker than usual. Either she had eaten disintegrated rubber, which would have been unlikely, or she had blood in her stomach.
At 2:00am she threw up again. This time there was no mistake about the blood.
Reiko called some of the vets in a 30 minute radius, but they were all closed for the winter holidays. 24-hour service is available for humans every day of the year. Non-human members of the household sometimes have to get by without this luxury. Doing what people do in such a situation, I quickly looked online for possible causes and remedies. Most people suggesting keeping her away from food and water for a minimum of six hours and seeing a vet immediately.
Not much help.
Fortunately, Nozomi managed to get some sleep around 3:00 and was snoring up a storm until six when I got up to give the boy a bottle of milk. By 9:00 she seemed to be back to normal, but without an appetite. Not willing to take chances, though, Reiko drove the puppy to a nearby vet who then ran a battery of tests on her, but not before Nozomi made yet another mess on the examination table.
Poor Nozomi. She's such a patient, gentle soul. Why does she have to feel this agony? Why does she have to bear it in silence?
The vet determined that, in addition to being a little overweight, Nozomi's gallbladder and intestines have a strange shape to them and may be infected. The cause was likely the combination of stress from being more isolated since a new member joined the family, as a lot of the time I used to spend with her is now going to the boy, and the rapidly changing temperature. While we do have heat and insulation in our apartment, temperature fluctuations outside can have a dramatic effect on the indoor temperature as well.
Nozomi's been put on some pretty potent medication to try and help her fight whatever's inside, and she'll also be spending at least the next night at the vet's for observation. A doctor will be there all night to keep an eye on her and a few other patients. Hopefully she can come home tomorrow; I miss her, and I worry for her.
I miss hearing her claws on the floor as she walks from place to place. I miss the way she stares at me and communicates her needs. I miss the way she is always so cheerful and optimistic. I worry that this problem might lead to something bigger …
As selfish as it may sound, I am not willing to lose Nozomi to eternity just yet. She's just seven and a half, so there are still a lot of good years remaining. When she's able, I want her to come home and recover in the comfort of her own bed which is very close to mine. I want her to feel relaxed and wanted. I want her to know that while my time is certainly a lot more constrained, I will always make time to take care of her and that she is special.
Maybe the way I feel is silly. Some would laugh and say that "Nozomi is a dog", as though being a species other than human makes her inferior and disposable. Some would say it's not good to be too attached to pets because of their much shorter lifespans. But regardless of what others might think, Nozomi is more than just a dog. She's more than just a pet. She is, in all seriousness, my best friend … and I miss her.
I generally walk barefoot in my home and, even with socks, I don't want to track any germs around the house where the boy can get them