Animal “ER”

Gidget & Me

I have yet to bring myself to watch “Marley & Me.”  I love dogs. I’ve heard the ending makes people cry.  I can put two and two together: the dog dies. Translation: I can’t watch the movie.  I know my limits.

So recently, when my dog, Gidget, ran onto State Road A1A and was consequently hit by a car, I had to determine new limits.  Our dog, a 4-year-old Corgi and Jack Russell mix, was barely alive, but alert enough to know my voice and my touch.

Upon arriving at the Indialantic Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Patricia Shockency gave Gidget an injection to treat her shock.  After taking two x-rays, our veterinarian of eight years concluded there were no broken bones and she referred us to the Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Brevard for further treatment.

After parking my van under the drive-up entrance, a woman came out the front doors and carried Gidget into the operating room.  I was escorted into a private examining room to fill out paperwork.  Within 10 minutes, Dr. Kevin Brackett came into the room and explained how the dog was in “pretty bad shape.” My heart raced as he continued in a calm, straight-forward manner.

Dr. Brackett explained what could be done to save her: further treatment for shock, an ultrasound and subsequent surgery.  The procedure could be costly — in the $5,000 range.

Decision time.  What price tag do you put on an animal?  What price tag do your children put on the family dog?

I walked outside to call my husband and discuss our choices.  We opted to go ahead with the procedures.   Staying for another hour and getting reports on her condition every 10-15 minutes, I felt a little more comforted.  Surgery was set for the next morning.

That night, I could not sleep.  I worried about the dog and the money. The operation began early the following morning.  The first phone call came around 11 a.m. from Dr. Jeff Christiansen.  The second phone call came an hour later.  The surgeon discovered a dislocated knee and splinted her leg.  A final follow-up phone call came around 5 p.m.  Gidget was just coming out of the anesthesia.  He suggested visiting the next day.

I promised the kids they could come with me to see their dog. When the kids and I arrived, the assistant at the desk escorted us to the post-op area where Gidget lie in a large wire cage. Gidget raised her head upon hearing our voices and stirred slightly in her cage.    She appeared comfortable.

Throughout her six-day stay, I received a phone call each morning from one of the surgeons.  Every day, after the doctor’s phone call, I headed to the clinic.  Sometimes the office was busy, sometimes it was quiet; but every time I visited, the staff was helpful and friendly. I met Gidget in the private visiting room, complete with an oversized lounge chair, ottoman and large floor pillow.  She seemed content and improving as the sparkle grew brighter in her eyes every day.

Gidget finally came home, but we returned several times for bandage changes and rehabilitation work with Dr. Curt Barchard.  Today, she leads the life of a healthy dog.

Luckily, our story did not end like “Marley & Me,” thanks to the doctors and staff of the Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Brevard.

Our family is once again complete.

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SpaceCoast Living is the premier lifestyle publication serving Brevard County, Florida's Space Coast.

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