Results Are In

Disclaimer: This post contains a picture of an actual organ. 

Good morning everyone. I will start by thanking each and every one of you who’ve sent love, humor, and good intentions our way — for me, Isabella, and Velma.  And, of course, thanks to everyone who played Name That Obstruction (winner announced next post). I truly appreciate having an online community to turn to in times of both happiness and unmitigated disaster.

I didn’t post anything yesterday because, as it happened, the surgery was much more complicated than we were hoping and expecting. The object (soon to be revealed) lodged in a delicate crossroads of Velma’s bowel, where the pancreas and bile duct and bird hunting instincts come together to help her digest things. Normal things, like dog food and the occasional pigeon. Because the area is so thin, the tension of the object caused a perforation, a small hole which had allowed her body to become contaminated with bacteria before surgery.


So… three hours and two surgeons later, the hole was repaired, dead tissue removed, and a little intestine-patch placed in the area for good luck. Thanks to everyone at Aztec Animal Clinic  and VCA for your excellent care and support.

And now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for…. here it is, the offending, intrusive, and still-mysterious thing.

Kind of sexy there in the morning light, isn't it?

Kind of sexy there in the morning light, isn’t it?

Yes, it is in fact some kind of ball. It’s hard. It bounces. It was absolutely the perfect size to fit inside Velma’s duodenum. But it remains mysterious because I have no idea what it’s for (the inside of another ball?), where it came from, or what would entice Velma to suck it down her gullet (unless marinated in bacon grease. Or manure. Highly unlikely.) As I said before, she doesn’t like balls. She likes my shoes.


Velma remains hospitalized and recovering well, although the vets said they won’t know for another few days whether the surgery was successful. Translate: If any dead tissue remains in her duodenum, the entire surgery could fail. And so could she. So, I will humbly ask my friends, family, and online buddies to continue sending lots of love her way. I wouldn’t have been able to get through yesterday as relatively in-tact as I did were it not for the continuous notes of encouragement and laughter. Thanks.

As for the cost? I have no idea. I stopped counting after the first thousand. It’s better that way.

What I can tell you is that if you ever find yourself in this kind of situation, with an unspecified dollar amount waiting to devour you at the end of a diagnostic rabbit hole (the only other choice being suffering and/or death of beloved pet), there is Care Credit. An instant, interest-free (6-24 mos) credit card that can only be used for vet or medical purposes. I wish I’d known about it when the exact same thing happened with Diego less than five years ago. What are the odds?

I don’t go on European vacations, I buy dog care. And lots of it.

15 thoughts on “Results Are In

  1. Laura,

    It’s Ginger’s dad again. Thanks for publishing Velma’s Saga. WOW! The obstruction was truly a “gut buster”. I am sending all sorts of positive psychic goodies through space to lil’ Velma.

    Kiss her on the nose for me, Chuck


    • Hi Ginger’s Dad Chuck 🙂 Nice to see you here again, and thanks for the supportive words and psychic goodies! I will give her an extra kiss tonite, when we can hopefully bring her home.

  2. Sorry to hear about this, Laura. Jack swallowed a golf ball once and we had to have him sliced open. We weren’t even sure what was wrong but it showed up on x-ray. We were puzzled, like you, as to what he was thinking when he decided to eat it. At least you found and removed the offending object. Dogs who don’t have good mums like you would not have made it.

    Best wishes for the new year. Len

    • Jack swallowed a golf ball? Where’d he get it? I can’t remember if he was normally a ball-chaser. You’re so lucky that it was still in his stomach and not further along. Thanks for the kind words, and best wishes to you as well for a continuingly prosperous 2013!

  3. Still sending love and good thoughts your and Velma’s way! Glad she made it through the surgery. Woke up to my pup having had diarrhea in her bed/crate this morning at 5:30 – counting my blessings though as I know there are things much worse! So hard when our babies are ill! Take care – all of you!

  4. Poor gal! Both Velma and you! Athough I am a little intrigued with that ball. If you hadn’t said it was bouncy, I would have thought that it was a Civil War musket ball. I will be keeping all y’all in my thoughts!

  5. What an epic saga! Sending good and healing vibes in your general direction ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~> X
    Interesting note about the line of vet credit and I hope that I don’t have to use it myself.

    • Hi Mary, thanks for your comment and yes, vet credit is never something one wants to use… I thought it was interesting that it can only be used for medical, dental, or vet. I guess I could use it for a root canal one day. But I hope I don’t need it!

  6. Yay!!! obstruction removed! the mystery remains, but maybe time will reveal more hints for ya. I hope she recovers quick!
    My OLD man says it looks like the inside of a golf ball. Maybe a neighbor was practicing his drives and made it into your yard… and your dog ate it because it was an intruder in your yard, and wanted to get rid of it. Or maybe she never even ate it… when it flew into your yard, she might have been barking; and it flew into her open mouth.

    • Annie! This makes more sense than anything else about how that ball ended up inside Velma… good for you! And thank your OLD man for the golf ball guess, too. I’m thinkin’ yea… somehow, an unshelled golf ball made its was into my dog. That could be the start of a great short story…

Talk to me! I spend too much time alone in the studio.

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