According to some local vets, the prognosis for surviving it is about 2-9 % if untreated or, even if hospitalized in an early stage, some tens of percents. The symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. And with the escaping fluids comes a distinctive, lingering smell that still gives me cold shivers whenever I think I smell it somewhere. In the heat of Puerto Rico, the dogs basically just dry up even if you force them to drink every hour.
Michelle got over it quickly and that's partly why I wasn't as worried of the others as I should have been. But for Bungee and Joy, it was as bad as it can get. I took Bungee to an animal emergency room but it was too late, she passed away only minutes after I handed her to the nurses. When the vet told me the diagnosis, prognosis, and the price of hospitalizing the rest of the sick puppies, I knew that I wouldn't have been able to save her and might lost another one or two puppies. I don't have thousands of dollars, especially when the survival wouldn't even be certain. So I used some $100 to buy medicines to them, drove home and put Joy and Jumper into a bathroom so that they wouldn't mess up the whole house or try to walk around and that I could get some much needed sleep. The next morning I woke up with an agonizing fear of what I'd find in the bathroom where I had put the sick puppies the last night.
The mess and the smell were horrific, but the puppies were still alive. I gave them a warm bath and tried to give the meds. Jumper ate at least most of them but it soon turned out that Joy was already too weak and in pain to swallow anything. Ed and Linda (who had the puppies before me) came to bring some dog food for the healthier dogs and made me breakfast (at that point I had lost my appetite as well). After they left I went to see the puppies in the bathroom. Jumper was lying next to Joy holding a paw over her weak but still breathing body. I'll save you from the worst part of seeing and hearing her wither away and hope that you'll never have to experience that. I called to Linda for help and she sent our another colleague and my neighbor Tapasi to help me. Joy was gone a few minutes before Tapasi arrived. We took her and Jumper to another vet that Tapasi and her husband Chris who's also working at the observatorylike to go to. And they promised to pay the hospital bill for Jumper. Seriously... how amazing colleagues and neighbors can you have??? I never stop wondering how friendly some people can be...
Why I hadn't gone to them earlier is a question I've been asking from myself since. I guess that it's just so deeply cultural that asking help, especially from a neighbor, doesn't even cross my mind. By now I've talked with 3 out of 4 of my closest neighbors. In Helsinki I ever talked with up to one neighbor, and the only reason I could imagine to ask their help for anything would be forgetting my keys and phone inside after shutting the door and there's absolutely no other option.
Jumper had to stay for four days but she got better. The positive sides of the whole tragedy were that at least two puppies survived, and that it was me and not Linda who had to go it through. If I had helped to nurse the puppies like she did when Bubbles didn't, I probably wouldn't have been able to work the whole week. I'm also not comparing my loss to anyone whose dog that they had had for years or even over a decade had died in some awful way. Not to mention people who lose their own children or other friends or family. At that week the Facebook group Humans of New York was interviewing people at the children's cancer department. That really helped me to get perspective to the situation. Currently, the puppies are completely over the parvo and on Friday received their first vaccinations to prevent any further diseases. Now they've got the mange though... *sigh*
If I had a proper fence around the whole backyard, I probably wouldn't have to deal with this kind of problems. But there's one weak point that the puppies know to be weak and even if I fix that part of the fence, they'll break it again. Or in Michelle's case, climb/jump over (seriously, she climbs like a cat!). I keep Bubbles in a leash and that's usually problem-free but if I put the puppies to a leash they manage to tangle themselves to anything that's nearby. Even their own feet. On Tuesday at 3:45am, I found myself untying a huge knot of leash and puppy-paws to free whining Michelle from her suffering (I might not have even heard her if the on/off button of the remote control for the air-conditioning hadn't broken and I hadn't been awake anyway due to night sweat). So keeping Michelle in a leash is not a great option either for long times. So my weekly routine has become getting up at 6am, going out to get the puppies (or at least Michelle) back to the backyard, changing the leash from Bubbles to Michelle and going back to bed for an hour, getting up again, having breakfast, feeding the dogs, fixing the fence, washing up and going to work thinking: "Now it should hold!". In the evening I collect Michelle from the other side of the fence again, scold her, and fix the fence yet another time... *sigh*
The event of this week was finally receiving my social security card, relocation bonus, and as a result of the latter, my own car, so now I'm a real, living person in a Puertorican bureaucratic sense and able to drive a modern car with functional A/C, radio, steering and gas tank! Again, I have to give special thanks to my wonderful colleagues, this time Andrew who helped me with buying the car through the whole process, even by lending me money. I bought it as used so I really needed the help. Amazing people!!! The first night when driving home from the observatory I forgot the handbrake on... *sigh* (nothing unrepairable happened but Tapasi could smell it all the way to their house)
|The pretty side of my new Hyundai.|
Coquí report #7: Still no coquís on the yard but a huge katydid just flew in! Yesterday one huge cockroach had got into my bedroom and two days ago the puppies caught a rat and tried to eat it. I'd much rather have the coquís... [Late update on May 29th: I think I saw a coquí today! But I'm not sure because it was half-eaten by a puppy...] *sigh*
|A katydid in a Bacardi cup. |
It's almost in the same position as the bat!