Tilly Tot’s Story – Part III

Last week saw the appearance of Tilly Tot into our lives. We had taken her to the vet, who diagnosed a number of stones in her bladder and recommended surgery as soon as possible.

One Very Sick Little Dog

An elderly sweetheart - starring Tilly Tot. Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman.

An elderly sweetheart – starring Tilly Tot. Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman.

The vet also recommended that we have Tilly spayed at the same time as the bladder surgery.  I agreed, and we took her home.  She was somewhat lethargic but roused enough when Ernest came home to lick his hand enthusiastically.  I was beginning to gauge the amount of courage this little creature had.  The vet said she must be in a lot of pain, but she didn’t whine or complain.  The stones had obviously been with her a long time and she had resigned herself to them, dealing with the pain as best she could.

That night, we gave her a bath to dispel the odour she had acquired, probably partly from the intermittent oozing of her bladder and partly from the grime acquired during her life as a wandering outcast.  I think she felt a lot better after the bath, because she wagged her tail.

She also managed to eat a bit of dog food and drink some water.  We didn’t want her to eat and drink too much, but she needed to keep her strength up.  Still, she couldn’t stand for any length of time and, mercifully, slept for long periods.  Ling Ling and Oreo weren’t quite sure what to make of her but, remembering the Corky incident, they adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

Tilly Tot Goes Under the Knife

The morning of Tilly’s surgery dawned clear and beautiful.  I got out one of Oreo’s old puppy beds, padded it with soft, garage sale baby blankets and an old quilt, and got Tilly comfortable on the back seat of Helen’s jeep.  It turns out that Tilly LOVES car rides, but all she could give it that day was a feeble wag of her tail.  She seemed worse that day, and I was praying that she would survive the trip to the Prairie East Veterinary Clinic in Langenburg.  It was about a half hour drive over bumpy roads.

Tilly's bladder stones.  Photo credit:  Kent Weir, DVM.

Tilly’s bladder stones. Photo credit: Kent Weir, DVM.

As usual, I was worrying too much, and all three of us arrived at the animal clinic no worse for the wear.  We committed Tilly into Dr. Weir’s capable hands and left.  He said he would phone us when the surgery was over, probably around noon, and let us know how things went.  I was crying when we started the drive back to Esterhazy.  So much for “not falling in love with Tilly.”

And What Did the Veterinarian Find?

Dr. Weir’s call came a little later than predicted, but he quickly assured us. The delay came from finding more stones than they had originally thought; many smaller stones had been hidden behind the bigger ones and were not readily visible in the x-rays.  He said the surgery went splendidly.  Tilly was recovering back in her little bed but was still pretty groggy from the anesthetic.  However, she was fine, he said, and would keep gaining ground as she continued to recover.

Ernst and I picked her up the next morning.  Dr. Weir had wanted to keep her overnight until she urinated, to make sure everything was tickety-boo (my words, not his).  She had peed beautifully, probably the first time in months that she had been able to empty her bladder completely.

Before we left, he handed us a jar of the stones he had retrieved from Tilly’s bladder.  My jaw dropped open at the quantity and size of them.  Dr. Weir told us that, if a human had stones the same quantity and size as these in his bladder, he would be in a lot of pain.  We all regarded Tilly with awe.

Tilly Tot, bright and perky.  Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman.

Homecoming – Tilly Tot, bright and perky. Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman.

Tilly Tot Comes Home

On the drive home, I held Tilly in her bed on my lap.  She still managed to stretch over to Ernest, who was driving, and lick his hand, then mine, in what seemed like loving gratitude.  I had tears in my eyes at that act of appreciation.

Tilly has been with us now for five years.  Being part of her forever family has been a delight.  She did indeed turn out to be the sweetheart she seemed way back when she was so sick.  And so, we all have, more or less, lived happily ever after.

How about the joy of discovering that
your really sick pet will recover…
ever been in that space?  It’s quite a boost, isn’t it?
If you would like to share that experience, please
just enter a comment at the bottom of this post
where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”


 (Next week watch for “The Proper Way to Cuddle a Dog)


Text and photos (except where otherwise indicated)
are copyright © 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
All rights reserved. (Volume 14-4.2 April 12, 2014)

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  1. What a wonderful story! Unfortunately, when my cats got ill, it was usually the beginning of the end. Jake has managed his diabetes for 6 going on 7 years now and does very well — no neuropathy and no bladder infections! Yay!


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