Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Yes, I am feeling guilty: Between the holiday activities and our dog getting sick, I haven't been out to the barn since my husband and I pulled blankets on Saturday... and I haven't ridden or done anything interesting with the horses since my lesson on Wednesday!

Most of it is just everything happening at once.  Overnight Wednesday night and during the day on Thursday, we got dumped on by at least a foot of snow.  I was having a hard time driving anywhere because the city doesn't plow side streets, and the snow was right up to the undercarriage of my car.  I did manage to get to and from my nanny job Thursday morning, but I almost got stuck a few times, and it was more like riding in a sled than driving a car.  My wheels acted as rudders in the deep snow, so I had to point them where I wanted to go and not stop if I could help it!

Since it remained cold and overcast all day Thursday, the roads weren't much better on Friday morning, except that they'd at least been driven on a little more.  But even if they had been clear, I had a very busy day on Friday and couldn't have made it out to the barn anyway.

Saturday was Christmas Eve Day, and although we did go to the barn to pull the horses' blankets, I was exhausted after my busy week and didn't feel like doing anything else.  We spent the day relaxing at home and (for a little while at least) at the cafe in Barnes & Noble.

Christmas Day we spent mostly at home by ourselves, although we did go to a late-night showing of War Horse (I'll blog about that later).

And yesterday we spent finishing up some Christmas shopping — we weren't going to see Michael's family until today, and as busy as we were last week, we decided to leave some of the shopping for after Christmas.

Throughout all of this, our brown dog, Emma, has been coughing and hacking.  It started on Thursday, but we didn't think anything of it because she was still eating, drinking, and pooping just fine.  We figured she had something caught in her throat, something more irritating than anything else, because her overall behavior was completely unaffected.

The cough gradually worsened, however, until we realized (on Christmas) that a vet visit was going to be necessary.  Our vet was open on Monday, but didn't have any available appointments when we called that morning.  Since as I said, her behavior and routine seemed largely unaffected, we didn't mind, and just made an appointment for this morning.

But starting yesterday evening and definitely by this morning, she was showing signs of feeling ill.  I noticed that she was breathing slightly more heavily than usual, and this morning she started coughing so badly she couldn't even keep water down, so we were glad we hadn't waited any longer to get her in.

The cough is intermittent, and tends to disappear when she is distracted, so she went through nearly the entire vet exam without coughing.  The vet was just telling us that she didn't think chest x-rays were necessary, when Emma abruptly coughed once.  The vet stopped talking and stared at Emma for a minute, and when she started talking again she was singing a different tune.  I had been getting ready to tell her that I thought Emma was getting worse, and the x-rays would be necessary, but I didn't even have to say the last part because the vet said it herself as soon as she actually heard the cough.

And sure enough, Emma has pneumonia.

The x-rays showed lots of inflammation and gunk in one lung (the other is more or less fine), which is why she was starting to breathe a little more heavily.  So we left with antibiotics, an information packet on pneumonia in dogs, and instructions to get as much fluids into her as we can, even by adding chicken broth to her water if necessary.  If she hasn't improved by the end of the week, we're to bring her back in on Friday.

We were pretty worried about her over Christmas, which of course dampened our holiday spirits, but now we'll be keeping an even closer eye on her.  It's a good thing I don't work at my nanny job this week (the family is out of town), as I will be home to keep an eye on her and deal with it if she starts worsening.

Of course, this means I probably won't be getting out to the barn today, either.  I'm trying to be philosophical about it and reassure myself that the horses will be fine, if a bit lonely, and that sometimes other things in life have to take precedence over horsey time...  But it's hard not to feel guilty!



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