Prepared in Advance
Mar 26, 2023 | by The Fellowship
Last Friday evening, my husband and I were about to put our daughters to bed when I decided to give our two 7-month-old brown French bulldog puppies each a new Nylabone. They started excitedly chewing on them. When I checked in a few minutes to see how they were doing with their new chew toys, I noticed Lady seemed to be struggling with her head lowered. Looking for her Nylabone, I could not see it anywhere. My husband grabbed Lady who was struggling to breathe. Telling the girls to stay in the house with our other puppy, my husband and I took Lady to the backyard. I had a very bad feeling.
Since there was no way Lady could have chewed up a 4.5 inch bone so quickly, we knew she must have swallowed the whole thing. My husband put his hand in her mouth to try and retrieve the bone, but she bit his hand as a reflex. A few seconds later, she started going limp and we could tell she was not taking in air at all. My husband immediately began chest compressions. My heart was dropping while my head was reliving how we lost our 14-year-old dog just 1½ years ago when CPR had also been necessary. I was crying out to God: “Please, please, please bring her back!”
In what seemed like forever, but was probably only a minute or so, Lady started regaining consciousness. The compressions had somehow pushed the bone past her airway so it was no longer obstructed. But her breathing was short and she was tremoring. We had to get her to a veterinarian right away.
I went back inside to grab my cell phone which providentially had a list of 24/7 pet ERs in our area. (That was because the night before, Lady had ingested a small piece of chocolate cookie accidentally dropped on the floor. Chocolate can be lethal to dogs. Since Lady weighs only 17 lbs. and is still a puppy, we watched her closely for symptoms of distress -- which did not develop. But in the meanwhile I researched a list of 24/7 Emergency Pet locations in our area and saved it to my cell phone Notes.) I called the Veterinary Emergency Group closest to us and between sobs told them what had happened and that we were bringing Lady in.
We hurriedly told our daughters to stay with the other pup. They assured us of their continuing prayers for Lady. Wrapping our puppy in a towel, we kept her on her side so she could breathe easier, and I held her in my lap as my husband drove. The entire way, Lady was conscious but still tremoring and struggling to take breaths.
When we arrived, the vet techs were waiting at the door and immediately started asking questions for intake. They said Lady’s gums were too pale and put her in an oxygen chamber cage. Next came X-rays of her esophagus and stomach to see where the bone was located and to assess the situation. Once the X-rays were completed and Lady was back in the oxygenated cage, she started standing up and pawing at the glass as she could see us. I felt some relief that she was up and moving, but nevertheless was an emotional mess. It was one of those times where I could not pray much except, “Please, God, please let Lady be OK.” It reminded me of the Bible verse that says we may not know what we ought to pray for, but the Holy Spirit will intercede for us with groans that words cannot express. During that time, I texted an update to our daughters.
We were at the ER until midnight. It was determined that the bone was not obstructing her esophagus and had passed to her stomach. However, X-rays showed foreign material in her esophagus, but not obstructing it, and either pneumonia or a bruise from the CPR in her middle lung lobe. Lady was definitely more alert after a few hours of being in the oxygen chamber. Supplied with medication for pain and for her throat, we took Lady home with instructions to monitor her strictly for the next few days.
On our way home with the exhausted puppy in my lap, I messaged our family and close friends, including our LIFE Group at The Fellowship, asking for prayers. Answers were quick in coming as Lady - within 24 hours - was less lethargic and started acting like herself. She has always been our “food-motivated” dog, constantly by our feet in the kitchen or wherever she hears the crinkle of a food wrapper being opened. She is still healing and it may take time for her lungs and breathing to get back to normal.
I know with all my heart that God provided in advance everything that was needed -- my husband’s CPR skills, the list of pet ERs in my phone from the chocolate incident the night before, and the urge to call ahead which resulted in instant care upon arrival. Hearing my oldest daughter, (who has started straying away from obedience and is questioning faith) assuring me that she and her sister were praying brought additional comfort. I know that God is not done working! My gratitude overflows for the people and the fur babies that He puts in our lives.
… your Father knows what you need before you ask him.