Saving a dog has had MANY ups and downs. We were determined to rescue a dog. We tried several times unsuccessfully. It has honestly left a bad taste in my mouth. That shit is for the birds. Now, I absolutely believe in it. I would recommend anyone attempting to rescue before going to a breeder but if they came across any of the trouble my family had to incur, I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they went out to get their desired designer breed. Fuck it. It is what it is.
Well we did it. We went dog shopping. We wound up with the cutest little French Bulldog you ever laid your eyes on. He absolutely is the the coolest dog ever. He is cooler then most humans I know. This little boy had stolen my heart. Someone this cool needed a name equally as cool. Cristina suggested giving him a name with a New Orleans tie to it which was an easily accepted idea as much pride and love I have for my city but what?? Many really good ones came up but my favorite was the first one Cristina suggested. She said we should name him “chop” but spelled T-c-h-o-u-p like the New Orleans street Tchoupitoulas. I was sold.
Well as apart of the breeder’s contract you have 48 hours to have your dog evaluated by your vet in order for the 1 year health guarantee to be in effect. Tchoup’s appointment was made and for whatever reason that day I had a bad feeling waiting in the lobby. Well my feeling was confirmed when I was told Tchoup had a rather moderate heart murmur. I was told to make an appointment with the cardiologist the next day and let the breeder know his findings. He also told me that if I wasn’t too attached to this dog I may want to consider getting another one because if this isn’t fixed he will die very soon of heart failure. The procedure to fix him would cost somewhere around $2500-3000. Tchoup’s heart murmur was graded as a level IV-V range. In case you don’t know much about murmurs, they only go up to VI.
The breeder came back with “well vet’s say that to make more money and some heart murmurs are innocent and dogs can live healthy long lives with them, blah blah.” I said yes that is true I had a dog that was diagnosed with an innocent heart murmur from this very same vet and she lived to be 12. My vet let me know with her that no further action needed to be taken but with Tchoup it was different. The breeder asked I get a second opinion. Fair enough.
Well on we go to vet #2 which happens to be my brother’s vet. I went into the visit not mentioning the murmur at all. Just stated I purchased a puppy and would like to have him checked out for the health guarantee to be in effect. I wasn’t in the room for 3 minutes before that stethoscope went on Tchoup’s chest and the vet’s (who was delighted to be examining a Frenchie) smile dropped to explain Tchoup’s condition was serious and needed to see an internist to have an echo-cardiogram done to evaluate how severe Tchoup’s heart murmur was.
A $500 internist visit later and well my initial vet was correct. Tchoup had Pulmonic Stenosis and needed surgery. I was sent to see the cardiologist at LSU where Tchoup would spent a couple days having tests done and being prepared for surgery. LSU was forwarded the internist’s echo-cardiogram but he wanted to have his own. *cha-ching* The silver lining though was that his eco-cardiogram showed the best of two possible scenarios. The leaflets in Tchoup’s pulmonary valve (feeding blood to his lungs) were fused resulting in the blood having to pass through a very narrow passage way causing the right side of his heart to be enlarged because it was working so hard to get the blood through the narrowed valve. To fix this the cardiologist would go in by Tchoup’s groin, insert a catheter, and inflate a little balloon in Tchoup’s pulmonary artery that would tear the leaflets and allow for better blood flow. Ugh. I was a nervous wreck.
Well the surgery was a completed. I was called as Tchoup was going under, once during the 3 hour procedure, and when Tchoup went into ICU. I made sure that the technician verified that Tchoup was breathing on his own off the machines as I have a couple acquaintances that have had a few bull dog horror stories about them and anesthesia, however that is another story for another time, but I could finally breathe easier. Now I can’t wait for my boy to be back with us.
The next day after surgery they conducted another eco-cardiogram *cha-ching* to determine if the surgery was a success. They compare the pictures before and after as well as the pressure he had in his pulmonary valve. Normal pressure for a dog in that valve is 0-4. Tchoup was a severe case and prior to surgery was 120. Post surgery his pressure is at 60. The cardiologist thinks in a month the pressure could go down more once the swelling in the valve goes down from having the balloon in there a few times stretching his valve. This will be determined with yet another eco-cardiogram *cha-ching* scheduled June 9th. Of course I’m hoping to hear even better news on that day which is that the pressure has indeed gone down but if it doesn’t a dog with the pressure of 60 in that valve is considered a mild case and expected to live a long, normal, healthy life. In fact a dog with that pressure wouldn’t even require surgery. Yes!
So we didn’t rescue. We tried several times and it wasn’t in the cards for us but we did save a life. The breeder asked a couple of times if I wanted to swap for a healthy dog but we refused because Cristina and I had already made up our minds that Tchoup was ours. We loved him and we couldn’t just give him back. I did ask the breeder out of curiosity what would become of Tchoup if we did give him back. The answer wasn’t a good one. We were praised by all the doctors we visited through Tchoup’s treatment (there were 4) because many people would have just opted for the puppy swap. Each told us breeders would just destroy the dog as it would be just another mouth to feed. Well we feel good about our decision and would do it again. Sure it was definitely the costlier route but Tchoup was apparently meant to end up with us and us with him.
Well its that time of year again: Flu season. Seems like every corner Walgreens are displaying signs out for the flu shot as well as radio stations playing commercials on different area locations you can get one. I’ve heard a commercial for a local hospital that went as far as providing flu shots via drive thru service this year. You don’t even have to get out of your car now! How convenient is that? Also convenient is that another New Orleans area hospital comes to my office building every year to administer them. MORE convenient than that? My company will pay for the cost of the flu shot for those folks who may be interested.
So this to me sounds like a no-brainer. You will come to my place of work AND its FREE. Cha-ching. Sign me up. But every year when this service comes around to my building you hear the chatter of “Are you getting it?” “Did you go?” “No way! I’m not gonna get sick!” Yep. It’s crazy to me that in 2013 there is still a myth that if you get the flu shot …..you will get the flu. Negative, Ghost Rider. You will NOT get influenza should you opt for the shot. It is simply impossible.
Impossible because the vaccine contains the dead virus. Dead. As in not living. A dead virus cannot infect you. Now there is a side effect of the vaccine that your arm will be sore around the area you were vaccinated. This, people, is just soreness. You do not have body aches from the flu. Secondly the the flu season also happens to be around the time that people get colds or respiratory illnesses. Should you get sick from a bug shortly after you received the vaccine, blame your co-worker that came to work with the sniffles. You do not have influenza.
Every year thousands of people in the United States die from the flu and many more than that are hospitalized. So do yourself a favor. Get the shot. In the long run you will feel better about it and realize you were worried about nothing at all. And if you don’t get it, call it for what it is: you are afraid of needles, its against your religion, etc. Because when you say that your reason is you don’t want to get the flu, it is obviously not a good one.