We got Rally from a shelter. The tag on her cage said she was a 3-month-old German Shepherd/collie mix, and since we already had one dog with that mix, we thought she’d make a great companion for the older dog. In time, we would come to realize that Rally was really a Heinz 57 varieties mutt, with a lot of terrier and almost no detectable German Shepherd or collie, but by then, it no longer mattered – she was our little nut job.
The shelter’s records also showed that “Nutter Butter,” as they had named her, had survived Parvo, something that kills about 90% of the dogs that contract it if they are not treated. Clearly, this little puppy was a survivor, but the illness had taken a toll and she seemed somewhat subdued as I took her out of her cage, held her in my arms, and fell in love with her. Minutes later, as I went to take her to the desk to complete the last paperwork in the adoption process, I found out why she was so subdued. The staff ran a final check on her and discovered that she was running a fever and had several infections. They took her away from me to examine her further. When they came back, they gently suggested I pick another puppy, as they didn’t think she would make it.
“No,” I told them. “She’s my puppy and she’s going to get better.” They tried again to convince me to pick another puppy. I resisted again and told them that they had to save her.
For the next week, she was in ICU. The staff would call me and give me bad news and suggest again and again that I find another puppy. And I’d refuse and ask them what they were doing to help her recover. Every night, my family would drive to the shelter and visit her in the ICU. We’d hold her and explain to her that we wanted her to rally and get better so she could come home with us.
And so after yet another call from the ICU suggesting we let her go and pick another puppy, we turned our baseball caps backwards, formally re-named her “Rally,” and asked everyone to keep her in their prayers.
That was 11 years ago, and for the last 11 years, Rally has brought us laughter and love. Her early illnesses took a toll on her system and she’s had some problems, but overall, she’s done remarkably well for a dog who had such a rough start in life.
Tonight, though, Rally collapsed in the back yard. Suddenly unable to walk, she cried pitifully.
We rushed her to an emergency veterinary service who sent us to another hospital where they would be able to run an MRI. They gave her a pain injection to try to ease her misery and anxiety as she was in obvious and severe distress.
We do not know what caused this sudden problem – a slipped disc, a tumor, a stroke? We’ll find out more tomorrow after the surgical team evaluates her. I don’t know at what point they’ll run the MRI, but I expect they’ll need it to make the differential diagnosis. And what happens next, well, it will all depend on what they find.
So if you happen to see this post, please keep Rally in your prayers. She could use lots of positive energy right now.