Mr. Tough Guy (aka: Rider)

What an emotional roller coaster the past 96 hours have been. I last wished you a Happy Friday Eve, but to be quite honest, it was anything but “happy” for my little family of three (Matty, Rider, and me), but it was mostly miserable for my furry baby, Rider.

Rider Komatsu

On Thursday morning I noticed that Rider had blood dripping from his “dinger” (I will reference this in many different ways throughout). I was immediately concerned and called his vet and they set up an appointment later in the day. I called Matty at work and told him what was going on and he made plans to come home with the car (we are a single-car-family home and I will talk about the benefits of this in a later post) and to go with us to the vet. I hopped on the computer after speaking with Matt and the vet and looked up what could be the cause of the blood and when I saw that it is *usually* a UTI, I had my mind settled that it was just that. In reality, my gut told me otherwise.

3:30pm came quickly and the three of us piled into the car and made our way to the vet. I kept looking back at Rider in the rearview mirror and I was overcome by emotion when I saw him trying to awkwardly hold himself up around corners and turns and leaving his nose marks on the windows. Rider really is the worst traveler in the car because he never relaxes and just leans into the turns, but he still jumps in the car each and every time the door opens. My mind was beginning to think awful things like what if there won’t be awkward car rides for him in the near future? I didn’t want to think about not being able to clean his cute nose marks off the car windows…

For the next two hours Rider was examined, we waited, collected urine samples, and waited some more and the whole time Rider’s “wee wee” was bleeding and there Matt and I sat in the waiting room with a paper towel wiping up all the blood. It was absolutely terrible not knowing what was going on with him. At the end of it all we were referred to come back the next day since they ruled out a UTI and they didn’t see anything via the ultrasound or during his physical examination. We asked if there could be tumors and the vet hummed and hawed (are those even real words?) and skimmed over the fact that it *could* be, but kept saying to come back tomorrow in hopes that his bladder would be bigger and they could see what was going on.

Thursday night stunk. Period. For those who think Matty K is nothing but a tough guy, then just ask him about Rider and you will see him melt into a big puddle on the floor. I am no different, but I suppose it’s to be expected. I hope Matty doesn’t mind me typing this, but he cried. We both cried. A lot. We also prayed.

That night I woke up because Rider was thirsty and was acting strange. I stayed up with him and prayed for him. It was one of the most difficult times I have had with God in a long time. I asked for his protection over Rider and for wisdom for the veterinarians who would be examining him in the morning, but the most difficult part was telling God I trusted Him…even if that meant that Rider would be taken from us. I didn’t sleep that night. That morning Rider vomited and Matt and I didn’t say anything to one another, but we knew it wasn’t a good sign. Before we retuned to the vet, Matt prayed for Rider and we walked out the door…

We were in and out of the vet within three minutes and we were told we would get a phone call later that day. I did get a phone call that morning from his vet and she stated that they didn’t see anything via the ultrasound once more but that they could take an x ray to see more, but she recommended we wait to see if this clears up on its own. I asked her to move forward with the x-rays because I didn’t want to wait.

Two hours later I received the best news within 24 hours. The vet said that they the x-rays had revealed that he had bladder stones in his bladder and one in his urethra which was causing the bleeding. She stated that surgery would need to be performed immediately since the stone in his urethra would cause a blockage even over the weekend. She explained that the vet who does these procedures usually leaves at noon (it was past noon at this point), but heard about Rider and was willing to stay to perform the surgery. She also explained it would take about an hour and a half for the surgery and that the stone in his urethra would be flushed back into his bladder. If that wasn’t possible then they would have to cut into the urethra to get it out. This was much riskier since there would be a potential of scar tissue build up and would require further surgeries. Oy! I didn’t like the sounds of that, but it wasn’t cancer and I said just that to the vet and asked that they proceed with the surgery.

When Matt heard of the news that he was “cancer free”, he was elated. Then we had to wait, but two, then three hours went by without hearing anything from his vet. I called to check on Rider and was told that he was still in surgery and that after multiple failed attempts to flush one stone back into his bladder, they ultimately had to cut into his urethra. The vet also stated that she believed that it appeared he had an infection for quite some time since the bladder was quite irritated and inflamed and the stone in his urethra had formed “spikes” and was stuck. Why didn’t the vet just stick a dagger into my heart because it probably would have been less painful than thinking that my Rider was such a tough booger and hadn’t *told* his mama and papa he was sick.

You would think that Rider’s adventure would be over post surgery, but it was/is far from being over for him. Thirty staples later and a catheter-like tube sticking out of belly concluded his surgery, but he still had a trip to the emergency vet so he could be monitored overnight since his surgery lasted four hours. Matt and I knew it was best for Rider and we wanted him to rest and not be in pain, but man oh man, I wanted to see him. Our vet was going to be driving Rider to the emergency vet and she gave us a call that she had dropped him off, but that there was an “episode” that occurred when they were putting him in the car to drive him over. Apparently Rider was pretty doped up when they put him in the car (without a leash or a muzzle on) and as they were putting him in the car, he “came to” and bit the vet technician and sprinted (did I mention he had just been in surgery and had thirty staples?) down a very road in Anchorage. The technician had to chase him down and tackle him to the ground. When I heard this I was in shock. Rider can be a little con artist with me and Matt, but with strangers he can be the perfect gentleman. I was in shock. When Matt and I picked him up the next day, they stated that they had changed his pain meds and he was acting much better. Apparently he was seeing pink elephants with the other combination of three pain medications…poor guy. Oh yes, and there was definitely proof that he had been tackled to the ground the day before because his white fur was dingy and there was evidence of mud on his collar and a gritty feel to his fur. Yep, he ran down the muddy streets post surgery. Thank God he didn’t get hurt nor did the tech who chased him. Phew…

So, here I am with Rider, in my office on Monday morning. He has attempted to lick his wound (a big no-no) a few times and I tell him “no” each time. He must be feeling more like himself because he has selective hearing – refusing to listen to me say “no” once. But I am definitely relieved and happy that I get to have my pup back in my house and hopefully, with a fun-filled life ahead of him. We have to return to the vet in a few hours so he can have his catheter taking out (and he can stop peeing sideways – it’s actually hilarious!) Let’s see if he lets me pick him up and put him in the car (no jumping for RiRi), and doesn’t freak out when we walk back into the vet. Ha!

No worries, though, I have stocked up on plenty of treats for him and Matt even made Rider homemade chicken stock so he can have broth (his appetite hasn’t returned to normal). He is spoiled, but I know he is a gift from God so I have different perspective; God has definitely spoiled me and given me much more than I have needed in this life.

Life is good. God is good.

Matty & Rider post race. Rider always cheer on his “papa” during his races…

Matt, his dad, & Rider before the Oosik Ski Race

Matt, Jen & Rider

5 thoughts on “Mr. Tough Guy (aka: Rider)

  1. Oh my goodness! The poor baby! What a scare. And he must have been in so much pain. 😦 What a tough cookie. I’m so glad he is on the mend and it wasn’t cancer, but wow…. that had to have been a rough couple of days for everyone. I’ll be praying for him that he heals quickly and completely without any harmful scar tissue.

    Sending you love Mr. Rider!

  2. my heart just melted a little (ok, a lot). we’ve been praying for Rider every day-usually all 3 (Leeron, Peal Jr, and Sister Mary Motto Motobu-her prayers go straight to the Big Guy since she’s a saint(:) of us before we head out for the day. Give RiRi a kishe (pronounced quiche, means kiss) from us!

  3. Hi Jen! I’m glad to hear Rider is doing better! Your post definiely brought tears to my eyes! I love your dog! He has quite the personality too. I will never forget that magical hole in your fence and trying to track him down throughout your neighborhood when I watched him. 🙂 He loves his little adventures, but he always came back! I miss you all and hope you’re enjoying Alaska! Hard to believe you’ve been there 6ish months already! I don’t know where the time goes!

    • Oh Lydia, I can’t believe I forgot that! What a big poo he is! Rider loved when you came to visit because you *always* scratched the top of his head. Miss you, too and I hope you are having fun out East…I definitely miss the weather right about now!

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