First thing in the morning we ran out to see our puppy. She met us at the door with her new friend and excitedly covered us with licks and squirmed all over while we pet her. She still loves us! All we could think was, “man, leaving crying kids for the first time must be REALLY hard!”
But we had a big decision to make. Bella is not spayed, and many, many male dogs around here and in farm country are also not fixed. As we have learned in the past week, it’s practically impossible to keep her away from them as we ride. Plus, on any nights she’s not allowed inside, it will be doubly next to impossible.
I called the man who ran the dog kennel who had given Bella her first shots. He said most dogs come in heat twice a year, but some do every two months if they don’t get bred. Great. He also said that they need to be kept away from males for three weeks. Great again. Not gonna happen.
Richard called a couple vets in the area and asked about birth control for dogs. We were trying to avoid spaying her because of the two week recovery period. They said that birth control has a 90% cancer rate, even if used for only a short time. They refuse to prescribe it, understandably. He mentioned another procedure we read about online that had a 24 hour recovery and is not invasive, but removes only the ovaries. They said that it is rare to find a vet that does it, and they often end up with worse side effects and the same recovery time frame despite what they tell you online. Besides, they said that spaying techniques have been improved and the recovery rate is down to 7 days instead of two weeks. They said that a good 5 days of rest and she should be good to hit the road again. We made the decision to spay her. It seemed the only good way to ensure we don’t end up with a litter of puppies in our entourage too!
Thankfully, there was a friendly vet in town who had availability to spay her if we brought her in right away! So after her first night alone, potentially her first car ride, and her first vet visit, she went into surgery. Poor thing. Perhaps this is grooming us for being parents?! We were nervous and felt bad doing this to her so soon after getting to know her, but felt confident it was the best choice.
After the vet, we stopped in at the paper for a planned interview, then went home and finished trimming the horses’ hooves before our afternoon treat. Heather had gone out of her way to set up a massage for us today. Karla, who owned Massage 4 Health, had only been in business for a year. But we were wowed! She is truly gifted and gives a fantastic massage. What a treat! Thank you to Heather and Karla for your generosity and gift of relaxation. It was wonderful and a perfect distraction from our new baby in surgery!
We picked Bella up and were once again amazed. First, God’s time is shocking because the fee for a spay in this area if far cheaper than I have ever seen it. But more importantly, the vet had gone out of his way and taken the time to do the smallest incision possible- only an inch- so that she would heal even faster! It never crossed my mind as a possibility, and we were so grateful for his consideration for our situation. Before we left, he informed us that she is about 20 months old- just a young’un. She was definitely out of it and confused, but we spent the rest of the day doting on her and making sure she felt loved. Richard and Matthew stopped at the store, so Bella is now the proud owner of a bright orange safety collar, complete with a rabies tag and our phone number. That makes her legally and officially ours!
We had a great evening visiting Matthew and Heather over a halibut dinner he had caught in Alaska. Matthew told great stories about Alaska as well as the huge tornado that had “splattered” Stockton a few years ago. We should “durn sure” be out of tornado alley before spring hits! I love his accent and interesting terms.
Heather wanted to be sure Bella was not bothered after her surgery, so she offered us to bring her in the house for the night. We were surprised, but grateful so that she could rest near us and without getting bothered by the other dogs. She spent the late evening winning their hearts and being as cute as ever while we continued to visit till late at night.