Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Tragic but True Story

The following is a very difficult story to share. It has nothing to do with animation art… but there is an important reason for sharing it. If you are a pet owner, or simply love animals, please read on…

Last Thursday, I dropped off our three year old dog Lulu at the vet. A chihuahua mix, she was in perfect health. As good pet parents, we had scheduled her spaying. She came home Friday morning. The vet gave us no indication anything was unusual.

She seemed uncomfortable and disoriented. She was also not eating, and was drinking very little water. And occasionally vomiting a little.

My wife Rebecca was up around the clock for most of 48 hours nurturing Lulu. She also called the vet’s office several times, of course, and the staff casually responded that it was not unusual for these symptoms to persist for up to three days.

Sunday morning Rebecca took Lulu out at dawn. I was still asleep. Lulu actually wagged her tail a bit, which Rebecca took for a good sign. They came in and went back to sleep around 7 am. My alarm went off at 7:45. As soon as I saw Lulu I could tell immediately that she had died, cuddled close to Rebecca.

We took Lulu’s little body to another animal hospital for an autopsy. We received a phone call at midnight with the results. The vet who did the surgery left a surgical sponge in Lulu. This resulted in a massive abdominal cavity infection. Our dear little pet didn’t have a chance. As she stayed overnight after the surgery, the sponge and infection had already had 24 hours. Even if we’d had a clue what was going on, there was little chance she’d have survived a second surgery.

The secondary vet who inspected the body said the vet who did the surgery should never have even released her if she wasn't hungry and thirsty Friday morning. Further, it is standard operating procedure to take a post-surgical x-ray to make sure nothing is left inside the animal. This step was skipped with Lulu. And she had no post-surgical antibiotics (even though these are often considered prophylactic).

To think that we entrusted our little friend to this vet, and his reprehensible negligence brutalized Lulu enough to kill her... it's agonizing.

My wife Rebecca is completely and utterly devastated. She actually delivered Lulu three years ago. She wasn't breathing and Rebecca coaxed her into life. My nickname for Lulu was "umbilical" because they were so completely attached to one another.

There have been so many tears since Sunday morning our whole family is feeling completely empty.

Losing a pet that's lived a full life is hard enough. But to have one so young, taken this way... you can imagine how deep our grief is.

Why share this sad story here?

To prevent anyone else from going through this.

When you spay or neuter your dogs, insist on a post-surgical x-ray. If your dog isn’t back to near normal in 24 hours, insist on the vet examining the dog right away. Don’t be dissuaded. Your pet’s life depends on it.

Finally, take time tonight to give your animals a little extra love. These dear little creatures live only to love.

Please pass this on to all pet owners you know. That way, hopefully, we may prevent this tragic and unnecessary loss from happening to anyone else.

In memory of Lulu, “Ludeedoo,” 2005-2009.

Rest in peace, little one.