Thursday, May 12, 2011

Roxy's heart

My BRAT Roxy is my heart. I freely admit it. I love all my dogs fiercely and they are the love of my life--but Roxy has my heart in a way that the others cannot. It's because she has had such a tough life. All fosters and adopters probably feel this way. Her story probably isn't all that unique--no one knows her background; she was found wandering the streets, grossly underweight and heartworm positive; we think she's somewhere between 12 and 14 years old. She's no show dog, that's for sure.

But she has responded beautifully these past two-and-a-half years, regaining most of her weight from the 14 pounds she arrived weighing. She survived a grueling heartworm treatment--one we were all unsure she would survive at her age and condition. And she occasionally blesses me with a baroo to let me know just how happy she is to be in my home. Life has been moving along nicely.

Then she started fainting. In the middle of roughhousing with the boys. In the excitement of seeing me come home from work. In the middle of the night for no apparent reason--and usually falling off the bed. It is her heart. It was permanently damaged from the heartworms. She's responding well--again. This time to medication. While we don't have the dosage quite right--she is still fainting, just not as often--she should regain much of her quality of life, though long walks are probably out for good.

As you would be, I have been extremely concerned and so thankful to live in a city with a first-class university vet school. She's in good hands.

But I can't stop worrying. She's still waking up every night about 2 a.m.--and immediately fainting. I have learned to wake and hold her tight to help her through the episode and prevent her from falling. And as we sit there in the dark, and I hold her tightly, I can feel her heart beating horribly fast, then slowly calming down. And I hope that she can feel my heart beating--loving her as much as I possibly can and sharing this pain. Because that heart holding her is all hers--unconditionally and for as long as it possibly can.

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