Roxy, the one-eyed wonder

Roxy, the one-eyed wonder
Roxy Pirate.JPG

Here I sit at my desk in the Modern Dog office next to one of my three favourite dogs in the world - my Roxy. She is a bundle of resilience and wonder that we came frighteningly close to losing this past weekend. I received the call from Jeremy Thursday night as I was boarding my homebound plane after five days abroad at another pet related industry trade show. I knew immediately that this phone call was not simply a "Hi, how you doin?" type of call. "Something's wrong with Roxy's eye," I felt my stomach rise up into my throat, this was the phone call I had been dreading for months.

Back at the beginning of May, we noticed that Roxy's eye began to protrude significantly from her eye socket. A rushed visit to the vet revealed that Roxy had glaucoma in that eye, and that it was putting pressure on her brain. The ocular specialist advised us that it would safe for the time being since she didn't appear to be in any pain, but that it would eventually need to be removed. I was devastated; Roxy is a proud dog who, despite being blind since four months, cared deeply about her appearance and how she was perceived by the other hot dogs in the canine community. I just couldn't envision her without both beautiful brown eyes, but her comfort and health obviously take precedence over her vanity.

Sensing the panic in my voice, Jeremy opted to bring Roxy with him to the airport to pick me up. A quick once-over of the sore eye told me everything I needed to know; it was quickly filling with blood and could possibly cause pressure on her brain - she needed medical attention ASAP.

The vet agreed to take us as an emergency walk-in and made an appointment for us to see Dr. Jen, the eye specialist who had dealt with Roxy's eye troubles in the past. Her initial diagnosis corresponded with my own - the eye had been impacted and was filling with blood, the best option would be to remove it. A ferocious torrent of panic and despair flooded over me as I stared desperately at my helpless Roxy. "I don't want to choose for you, why can't you tell me what to do?" but she gave me no response, I would be forced to make this decision on my own. So I took a deep breath, grabbed Roxy's paw, and told the vet to take it out. Everything from there moved very quickly. They took her into the back room to draw blood to make sure her organs could handle the anaesthetic while I began placing calls to update our family and friends of this unexpected turn of events.

We were given the option of leaving her at the clinic while waiting for her turn, but we opted instead to take her with us and enjoy these last few hours of two-eyedness together. We started out with a shopping spree at a local pet store where we stocked up on her favourite toys, balls and treats. We then made our way to the closest park to let her frolic freely in the sun with her new found treasures. I tried to participate whole-heartedly in her games, but couldn't get past the feeling of absolute devastation that plagued me. I knew that enucleation (the process of removing an eye) was a serious surgery, and Roxy is no spring chicken (she'll be eight next month) but what other option did we have? The eye would continue to be problematic and would only cause more pain and problems in the future.

The call came from Dr. Jen that the results of Roxy's blood work were great, so she was ready to be admitted for surgery. We reluctantly packed her into the car and made our way back. Up until this point, I had done a fine job of holding myself together (except for the clump of hair I was missing) but knew that handing her over would be the hardest thing I would ever do. I tried so hard to remain calm and positive for her sake, but she knows me better than anyone, so my efforts to disguise my anxiety were futile. We said our goodbyes and handed her over (along with her teddy) so that the technicians could begin prepping her for the procedure. My heart broke as I walked out of that clinic, what if that was the last time I hugged my Roxy? I had spent the last seven years and ten months of my life with that dog and I couldn't bear the idea of a world without her in it.

I was too distraught to entertain the idea of going home, so we plunkered down in the car in the parking lot and settled in for a long, anxious wait. After about two hours I could wait no longer, and decided to check in to see how things were going. The girl at the front advised me that they had just finished the surgery and would be transferring her to the recovery ward shortly, everything had gone well and she would be fine. I was ecstatic; the worst part was over, no matter what happened she would come home. Now came the tricky part, seeing her for the first time short one eye. I brought Jeremy into the examination room with me, afraid that I might turn and run at the sight of her missing eye. They brought her in and she immediately perked up her ears at the sound of my voice which was good enough for me, this was a sure sign she was going to be fine. We gently hugged and kissed her and told her what a brave girl she was while she gazed up at us confusedly, tongue protruding ever so slightly just as her brother's does. We had to wait a few more hours, but were able to take her home later that evening. I have never seen Cash so happy to see another dog in my life! He has spent the last five days hovering over her like an over protective mother bear. Chance, on the other hand, offered her no pity and continues to harass and annoy her. So here she sits, beautiful, proud and pain free, brave and wonderful and amazing. My Roxy, with many, many, many good years to go.

PS Many thanks to Dr. Jen and the staff at the Langley Animal Hospital, you are the best!

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