Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.



Just last Saturday I was winging my way over snow packed fields toward sunshine and family.  Katie was safe at the kennel, work was a memory.  I enjoyed my time with family relaxing for a long weekend and we did a lot of fun stuff, some of which you’ve seen on Facebook; climbed the fire tower, went for a boat ride, ate, slept, read.  It was lovely.


I knew this week would be a challenge; the combination of a dog home alone all day, a busy full time job and two community band concerts made for interesting logistics.  I flew home Tuesday afternoon, landing at 5 which gave me just enough time to stop at the house, grab the clarinet and head off to our last rehearsal before the concert Friday night, followed by our big community band festival in a town an hour away Saturday morning.

I thought I had things all figured out.   I had permission to leave work early on Wednesday to get Katie out of the kennel before they closed at 5 p.m.    I had a dog walker scheduled to come to the house and play with her every workday.   I had permission to leave work early on Friday so that I could go home, feed her, let her out and still make it back to town for our concert that evening.  Yep.  I’m a master at making lists and planning.  And you know what they say about the best laid plans.

They say that I didn’t adequately factor in Katie.  That’s what they say.

So let me tell you about the last four days.  Settle in.  This might take awhile.


Wednesday afternoon I picked Katie up from the kennel about 4:30.  They said she was perfect, liked her food, didn’t mind her meds (she was finishing up antibiotics for an urinary tract infection), liked to go outside, liked attention.  That’s my girl.  I took her to the doggie bathroom before we drove home hoping to avoid a 30 minute howling session.  She peed.  We got in the car and she howled the whole way home in her voice hoarse from barking at the kennel for 6 straight days.  At home she was a little terror, barking at me, running around checking stuff out, barking at me, wanting to go out, wanting to come in, barking at me, wanting to go out again but not doing anything while we were out.  Did I mention barking at me?  Wednesday night I was up and taking her out several times during the night.  I was exhausted at work on Thursday.

Thursday night after work I was settling in for the evening, glad I was home after a drive through sleet on icy roads.  Thankful I didn’t have any reason to go out in that weather again.  Then I noticed Katie standing still, head up against a wall panting.  Not normal.  I took her out, but nothing.  I figured maybe she was tired from her stressful week.  Well, so was I.  Maybe we’d take a nap.  I carried her into the bedroom and she lay on my pillow slowly, as though it pained her to lay down.  Then she got up and walked carefully to the end of the bed and gingerly lowered herself again.  Then she got up and tried a new spot, walking stiffly, inching her way down.  This was not normal.  I picked her up and noticed the whole back end of her was trembling.  Out on the sofa and she sat on a pillow leaning against the back of the sofa staring at me.  Now her whole body was trembling.  Not good.  So we went to the emergency vet, a long way away, through the sleet on ice covered roads.

The vet was busy, with two critical dogs coming in after us.  We waited a few hours, with Katie panting next to me on the bench, moving as little as possible.  Finally they took her back and had someone look at her, drew blood, did xrays and gave her pain meds.  After the pain meds kicked in she was a sleepy but happy camper.  None of the tests were entirely conclusive so I left her there overnight for an ultrasound in the morning and drove home on the ice covered roads, making it to bed close to 1 a.m.


Friday I went to work thinking they’d be releasing her to me sometime in the afternoon.  I had a concert to do that evening and I didn’t know how I was going to go get her, get her home and settled and then leave  her to go perform.  But I figured it would all work out.  Turns out they wanted to keep her all afternoon, so I arranged to stop by after the concert (love these 24 hour emergency clinics!) to see if she was being released or not and to discuss the ultrasound findings.  The concert went well, the ultrasound findings were not particularly conclusive.  But there was evidence of a slightly inflamed pancreas and in combination with high white blood cells they figured it was pancreatitis.  They had sent out another blood sample to an outside lab to confirm, but I could take her home.

Katie was very happy to be home and it took awhile to settle her down.  Actually she never really settled down and we were up and down all night.  At one point I put her in her crate at the other end of the house, went back to bed and closed the bedroom door.  I lay down and I could feel my heart beating, not just in my chest but I was aware of the pulse at the ends of my fingers and toes and the intense overall exhaustion in my legs, neck arms and shoulders.  I lay there and wondered if a person could just get so tired that their heart burst.  I was OK if it did.  Katie howled from her crate for an hour.

Eventually I just got up and got ready for the Saturday morning concert.  She seemed normal but I didn’t trust her enough to leave her loose in the house.  I hadn’t been able to get her to pee for several hours.  Her path through the snow was covered in ice and she didn’t like it.  Being a princess she just decided to hold it until there were better conditions in which to pee.  Unfortunately the snow in the yard is higher than my knees, so the path is all there is for her.  So we were at loggerheads.

Finally I started packing the car with concert stuff, instrument, music, clothes, purse…she watched me with narrowed eyes.  She’d already been packed away in the car and delivered to a kennel, then a hospital.  You could see the wheels in her head turning.  I turned to her, planning to put her into her crate since she hadn’t gone to the bathroom yet.  She backed up.  No way was she getting in that car with her Mama.  She didn’t know what hellish place I might be taking her this time!  So I just said “Katie!  Crate!” and she joyfully trotted in, sat on her pillow and all but told me “Have a nice day Mama, I’ll wait for you right here!”  And so she did.

Our concert this morning went great, it was wonderful, such a relief to immerse myself in something that didn’t have dog hair, blood tests, or poop involved.  We played a slow piece, “Seal Lullaby”  by Eric Whitacre that just about had me in tears.  The lyrics:

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas

I just thought about Katie waiting in her crate and all the stress and emotion we’d been through in the last two days, and that hopefully we were almost through with the bad stuff.  Our band played this beautifully, as beautifully as the link above.  Give it a listen.  I think our conductor had tears in her eyes too as the last notes slipped away.  Those are amazing moments, when they happen, musical moments to treasure.  I would have stayed and listened to other bands as I know people in several of them from across the state, but Katie needed me so I hurried home.  As I merged onto the freeway a bright orange truck was going the other way.  “Hey Dad” I thought and smiled.  Then I turned up the radio and sang all the way home.IMG_5875

She was all happy face and crazy tail when I got home, none the worse for wear for spending a few hours in her crate napping.  I called the vet and her test results for pancreatitis came back so low that we can’t really say she has that problem.  Though seriously she had some sort of problem Thursday night.  So there is more detective work to be done, but for now she’s happy.   But boy do I need a nap.  A good long nap.  I guess I’ll play Seal Lullaby again and see if she and I can get some shuteye.

She doesn’t seem to be in the mood.  Princesses are like that you know.


Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

27 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. What a week! You need another vacation, or at least a normal week without drama and stress.

    Hopefully Katie just had a nasty bug of some sort, and it’s working her way out of her system.

    Fingers crossed that this week is better for both of you, and that you get some much needed rest tomorrow.


    • I think the coming week will be much more routine, and Katie needs routine. No concerts, not even a rehearsal this week, her favorite teacher to visit her every afternoon while I’m at work. New wet food she apparently LOVES…should all be good, though I think I’ll fit in a visit to our regular vet as well.


  2. Love your reflections, pictorial and verbal. Poor Katie – perhaps her body reacted to her stress missing you all week. Hope she’s all better and it’s nothing serious.


    • Could be, who knows. I wish they could talk! So far we seem to be ruling out stuff, but I’m not really sure it should all be ruled out. Trying to get the vet that saw her to talk to me…instead of the technicians who just say, talk to the doctor. 😦


  3. Oh my what an ordeal you had (and Katie too!!!) I am so glad the concerts went well but you must have been beside yourself with worry. I am praying that whatever happened was just an isolated occurrence. Maybe the stress of you having been away? I pray that all is ok. Oh I just saw that Carol above said something similar, I didn’t read that til now. I agree. Dakota sends her healing licks and love and I send love and kisses.


  4. That is a beautiful piece of music. Very soothing. I hope it turns out that Katie was simply stressed, and that all will be well now. I also hope you got that nice long nap. 🙂


  5. We liked the reflection, but we loved the story about Katie more. Glad she is okay.

    Sherman & Dog Dad


    • I hope she is OK…still not sure, but she seems fine now. LOVES the new wet low fat dog food the hospital sent home…don’t know if maybe that is creating it’s own problem though…she’s begging all the time for more.


  6. Hope Katie feels better soon. And hope the snow melts quickly. Potty in the snow is no fun.


  7. Oh Sheesh Dawn! You can’t catch a break with your poor girl lately. I’m glad she’s feeling better, but I’m sure you’re still worried about whatever was causing her issue Thursday night.
    You should find a way to photograph the band you play with or your instrument, because it is always so clear in your writing that it’s something you treasure deeply. It’s good to have something like that to lose yourself in.
    Hope you’ve had your nap!


  8. We are glad to read Katie is doing better. Maybe she picked up an infection at the kennel that was like a 24 hour thing…or maybe just the antibiotics upset . It is a mingling how we cope with all the odd things that suddenly happen…but we do.


  9. Gotta love dogs!
    I actually left Cole behind a couple years ago when I had to go out of town for two days to do a landscaping job. On the morning of Day 2, my neighbor, a retired vet, called to report that Cole had projectile messiness coming out both ends and I should come home. A full day at Urgent Care, +$500 later, Mr. Cole was diagnosed with some mystery gastroenteritis.
    I learned something valuable: my dog is neurotic and psychosomatic disorders may start in their minds but end up in your pocket book.


  10. Hoo boy! Hope you and Katie are enjoying a restful Sunday today.


    • Katie and I napped off and on all day Sunday. It was restorative. And in the evening she had the zoomies…so I think she’s almost back to her normal barky annoying lovable self.


  11. This must have been so harrowing! I do pray everything will turn out okay. Our dogs are our babies — when they hurt, we hurt. Almost makes you wonder why you left her in the first place, doesn’t it (though surely you couldn’t take her). When you find out, let us know, okay?


  12. I’m so happy Katie is feeling better. I saw bits on Facebook and was going to e-mail you. You know you can always call me. I’m not a vet but I can be pretty reassuring in a pinch. Pancreatitis can sure make a pup sick but Katie lives a pretty healthy life to be struck with it. I’m sure you have checked in with the Kennel. Is it possible she got another pups meds? A seizure medication maybe? Accidents happen. I know she has separation anxiety but you’ve left her before and all was well if not happy. I always tell people-I know I take the absolute best care of your pup that I can so I am never defensive if you call me and tell me something is up with your pup when you both go home—in fact I want to know. And 0f-course stress can cause lots of problems, We once had a camper that would start limping the moment he saw his owner suitcase come out of the closet–he would limp all the way into camp and once the car drove away he miraculously cured. I took a video for the owners :-D.

    In any case sounds like you had a heck of a home coming. The bright orange truck me smile. 😀


    • Thanks. No I haven’t contacted the kennel, the emergency vet and I discussed whether something could have gone wrong while she was there and when I told them where, we discounted that thought. It’s such a good well known place, but you are right I should let them know. Thing is I don’t know yet what exactly it was. The emergency vet is now always too busy to talk to me and I have a gazillion questions. So I’m going to all our regular vet and take all this paperwork and the dog and go talk about it.


      • I would want to know….Heck dogs can catch things from any place or just get sick, it’s not a blame game it is an information game. Just like home or at school or on a walk things some times happen….I run a terrific place but we have had a case or two of kennel cough, we also had one dog come down with pancreases. The quality of a place doesn’t mean that nothing will ever happen. Oh and feel free to ignore my uninvited advice


  13. Holy cow, Dawn! I am wishing you a happy, healthy, quite Katie, an easy work week, and as much sleep as possible!!! Oh, and some kind of good diagnosis for whatever was going on with Katie, too. xxxooo


  14. Thanks PJ…we’re going to our regular vet in the morning to see if he/she (we always get someone different there) can interpret all this data I got from the emergency vet.


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