Lina suffered an injury to her left hind knee roughly three months ago, and that required surgery to repair ligament damage and her meniscus.
With one leg out of service, Lina put too much strain on her right hind leg while recovering from surgery, and a week ago (11 weeks post-op) we were told her right leg needs the same surgery we had on her left leg. This was a huge shock, as Lina had been in great spirits and had been rehabbing ahead of schedule.
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On Monday, Aug. 20, I dropped Lina off at the vet. The procedure went well, but the morning after, she had a high fever and was nauseous. Her 10 a.m. discharge was pushed back to 12:30 p.m., but when we arrived at the vet at 12:30 to get her, she was still heavily sedated.
I was able to visit with her briefly, but she was very out of it. Because her temperature was north of 105 degrees, Lina was on her side on a special table with a fan and a cooling pad. Her tail wagged when I met her gaze - which was solidly fixated on the floor - but that was about it. Her tongue was hanging out the side of her mouth. She wasn't in good shape.
I was told that she needed to stay at the vet longer. Not long after I made the 30-minute trip home, the vet called and told me Lina's heart was still beating, but she was not able to breathe on her own. The instant I heard that Lina had failed a test that determined whether or not there was brain damage, I knew it was over. I had to give permission over the phone to end her life, and the exact details of it I will keep for myself.
The thing they don't tell you about making those life-altering Tough Decisions is how easy the call is to make. It's not that there are 47 options with varying shades of gray; often there is really only one option, you just don't want to have to give it permanence by choosing it.
Later Tuesday, I spoke with the extremely sympathetic surgeon on the phone, who was dumbfounded that she took such a bad turn after how good she looked Monday night. He said he suspects a blood clot / stroke / pulmonary embolism was the likely culprit.
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During the initial rehab period of the first injury, we discovered (via a series of expensive blood tests) that Lina also had Cushing's Syndrome, a common endocrine disorder, which we were all set to begin to treat before the second surgery came around. All in all, my vet bills for the last 3 months total more than $7,000 - and I don't even have my Lina to show for it. That figure doesn't include any of the cremation costs to come, nor any additional charges for any life-saving attempts after the $2,428 surgery bill was paid Tuesday afternoon.
I have a difficult time accepting help. When I qualified for unemployment between jobs, I passed, because I didn't feel like I needed help as much as other people needed it. I even have a hard time accepting free promotional post-cut pampering at my haircut place, and I usually end up declining. I'm simply not very good at "taking," and I'm even worse at asking for help.
Lina was my world. My affinity for her will never be able to put into words, so I won't even try. I am having difficulty processing this, and once the dust settles, I'll be looking at some pretty unsurmountable bills. Some amazing people reached out to me and pushed me to set up this GoFundMe. I hope no one feels obligated to help with the memory of Lina, but if you want to help, I will never forget your help in my time of need. I have no expectation of reaching $1,000 - that is just what the site suggests if you don't have a figure in mind.
To anyone who ever scratched her behind the ears, yelled "Who Let The Dogs Out?" to make her bark, took her outside for me, smiled at her or even Liked a picture of her: thank you. Thinking about you interacting with my dog reminds me and proves to me that Lina had a very full life. Think about the characters she met in those 11 years - some of the most creative, brilliant, artful, thoughtful (but mostly bizarre) I have ever known. I know she had a great life, and her memory will be carried on by all of us.