Henry the Unicorn

IMG_1206Two weeks ago, I made a grooming appointment for Henry.

“Spa day,” as he calls it. After all, a Cavalier King Charles who descends from royalty deserves to be given the royal treatment now and then, right?

Yet, little did I know then, that I would be needing to cancel said appointment because, well, how do I say it? He’d be out of commission. And for this, I feel bad.

Very bad. Extremely bad.

Rotten-to-the-core bad.

But please don’t judge me. Let the record show that what happened next was with the best intentions, albeit stupid and for that I feel really dumb. Guilt-ridden dumb. If only I could go back in time, I would do things differently, of course. It goes without saying. But we all wish we could do that, at one point or another.

Oh, that it could be true!

Well, you’re probably wondering what exactly happened. Last weekend, I woke up to discover Henry was limping and half a day later, when he was still limping, I gave him a medication to help with the inflammation in his knee.  And though it did help because, frankly, the limping disappeared, it created another problem. A HUGE problem.

A life or death problem.

It turns out, that the medication proved to be very bad for him. Dire bad. It was enough to cause bleeding in his gastrointestinal tract and to lose so much blood to send him into a rather catatonic state.

But before it got critical, I took him to the vet where he spent the day on IV in order to stabilize him and to prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Well, it got worse anyway and I had minutes to take him to the hospital. During rush hour traffic, no less. There are no ambulances for dogs, as far as I’m aware. Besides, there wouldn’t have been time to wait for one. His vet impressed upon me the need for speed. And boy, did I ever.

Flash forward to today. Henry was just released from the hospital and I am thankful he’s going to be okay. He spent a few days there. That first night when I brought him in, I almost lost him, and had to make that life and death decision, which only caused me to burst into tears. Believe me, this hasn’t been easy because it’s hard to imagine life without my little noblesse oblige. There is nothing, nothing in the world like the love of a dog.

Henry has been a trooper, taking it on the chin. The hospital staff adored him and said he gave them oodles of kisses. He was given countless shots and at least four blood transfusions, to help increase his red blood cell count. The doctor has checked the count twice a day, to make sure it doesn’t go back down.

For now, it’s stabilized, but he’s gone through a lot, the poor kiddo. That’s what his doctor calls him. “Kiddo,” which I kind of like. But guess what? The doctor also calls him a unicorn.

Henry in his hospital suite. No crate for this royal. Heh-heh.

Henry in his hospital suite. No crate for this royal. Heh-heh.

Why unicorn? I asked. Because Henry is defying all odds and recovering rather well, the doctor tells me. (Translation: he didn’t have kidney failure, which usually is the case.)

He’s been taking his daily constitutionals and is now eating voraciously. I’ve been visiting him everyday and bringing him boiled chicken which he devours. And then he licks my face. Makes me proud he’s my little king, I mean, unicorn.

So, get better soon, Henry!  You’re home now, but you’re not out of the woods yet!

Oliver and I are thrilled to have you home. In fact, Oliver promises not to chase after your tail when you’re feeling tired, and I promise to let you sit on my lap even though you’re, ahem, too big for that. Plus, we got you a new tennis ball for when you’re feeling up to playing fetch again. It has your name on it. It says,


Editor’s note: Thank goodness I signed Henry up for pet insurance a couple of years ago. I am telling you, if you have a pet but no insurance, you are not thinking straight and even may live to regret it. The vets bills are expensive enough, but hospital bills–overnight stays and blood transfusions? Forget about it! Without pet insurance, there goes whatever you’ve been saving up for. Kiss your retirement/dream vacation or (fill-in-the-blank) goodbye!

16 thoughts on “Henry the Unicorn

  1. Monica, please tell me Sir Henry is back to his chipper self! Roxy and I are extremely concerned and very sorry we didn’t know about this sooner. This is what I get for being absent from the blogosphere for so long. I’ve just said a prayer for Henry and hope that by this time and he’s back to his cute self. Hugs!

  2. Oh the poor love. It made me so sad to read. You must have been wrought with worry. I could see you speeding with only mins to spare, trying to get him to the hospital. Why do they not have ambulances for pets, someone should work on that.
    Chin up Henry old boy, you handled it just as royalty would. We send you many gentle hugs.
    Oh I do hope his recovery is speedy and he is back to his old self ordering you to do things for him and chasing after tennis balls.
    Pets cost more than children these days. Thank goodness you had pet insurance.

    • Thank you, MM. It’s been terribly upsetting to see Henry’s health falter. It was a close call and when I got him to the hospital that night, I will be honest with you. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him alive again. But we got a second chance and I intend to make the most of this time. It is for this reason that I’ve decided not to make my annual Thanksgiving trek to Chicago this year. We are going to spend it here, with my dear little ones, Henry and Oliver, and feeling oh so thankful to be together!

  3. Bless his heart, Monica! Bless your little unicorn, I mean your little Henry. I’m glad you had pet insurance. At no point while reading this did I ever consider the costs of treating him. So glad you did! That’s a scary situation for your little guy. Glad he’s on the mend. I so want a dog.

    • Most of my life, I didn’t have a dog. So when I got Henry, I had no idea what to do. But I quickly learned and I love my two sweet pets. Dogs are amazing and the world is a better place because of them. 🙂

    • Allow me to recommend the insurance we use: Trupanion. It is amazing and they are friendly people who work there and very caring. I’ve been most impressed with how quickly they process payments. You choose how much of a deductible you want (the higher the deductible, the lower the monthly payment) and after that, they cover 90% of the medical bills with few exceptions. I’ve been very happy with it. Incidentally, this insurance is ideal for big ticket illnesses, accidents, etc. It is not meant for ordinary vet bills like annual checkups or vaccines.

  4. Poor Monica! Poor Henry! What a sad story — glad it’s got a happy ending, though! I know just what you mean. Dogs are family, and when they’re ailing, everybody is ailing. You’re blessed Henry survived this ordeal. Don’t beat yourself up over it, either. They tend to be so stoic that it’s next to impossible to know what’s ailing them, even for their doctors. Welcome home, Sir Henry! (Great tip about pet insurance, too — thanks!)

    • And poor Oliver! He had to be alone in the house for hours on end last week while Henry was in the hospital. Luckily my cousin was able to pop in and walk him, while I spent hours visiting Henry, holding his paw and taking him outside now and then, for a spot of fresh air. It was so very hard to see him suffering. But he’s doing well now, and I’m thrilled to pieces with his recovery.

  5. Poor Henry!!

    Can you please give hime a big hug from me.

    Also a hug for you as well, it’s never nice when a pet you love is not well, my late mother always reckoned she worried more about her pet poodle than me! She said I could tell her what was wrong and a pet couldn’t.

    Tell young Oliver to be on his best behaviour as well.

    You’re spot on about pet insurance, it costs more to treat a pet than it does a human these days.

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