Yep, the day he was neutered. Honestly, I'm not sure if the day was more traumatic for me or for him. While he was the one actually having surgery, at least he was oblivious of what was to come and asleep during the procedure. I, on the other hand, had plenty of time to worry about it before-hand and during, as I was wide awake.
I woke up that morning feeling sick with nerves. I continued to feel sick on my drive in to Deer Creek Animal Hospital. Romeo was supposed to arrive between 7 & 8 am, so I made sure we were there right at 8. Normally, this is the time most people deliver their dogs to the vet tech and pick them up the next day.
I, however, was planning to be there for the entire process. I brought Romeo back to the surgery prep area myself. He was curious but not overly rambunctious as he often can be. Most dogs are placed in kennels when they are not being prepped for surgery or in surgery. They have two large kennels for the large dogs, so we were assigned one of those so that I could hang out with Romeo.
I'm just going to say right now, that no matter how many blankets you pile on the floor of a kennel, it is really really uncomfortable. My back and neck were paying the price the rest of the weekend. But there are a lot of things I will subject myself to for my dogs, and apparently, extreme discomfort is one of them.
Normally, I would have plenty of treats along to help make the process a more enjoyable and positive one, but since surgery was eminent, food was not allowed. The pre-anesthetic can cause some vomiting (which it did), and the less in their stomachs to vomit, the better. So I brought a few of his favorite toys, but even those did not get him excited. He was nervous and knew something was up. But he didn't struggle to get away, didn't carry on, didn't even show too much interest (some, but not nearly as much as he normally would) in the other dogs. He mostly just settled in and waited with me for his turn.
I held Romeo in place when the vet techs inserted his catheter and gave him his pre-anesthetic injection. Fortunately, by the time they shave certain body parts, the dogs are pretty much knocked out. He struggled a bit with the procedures, but handled it fairly well. Romeo was first up for surgery, and once he was about to go under the knife, I stepped out for a few minutes. I knew from past experience that it was best for me not to watch the procedure being done on my own dog or I might very well end up in a lump on the floor of the surgical room.
He went in for surgery around 9:30 am and was done within probably 15 minutes. Once completed, they bring him back out to the kennel with the breathing tube still inserted. One of the techs stays with us until he starts to come out of the anesthesia and start breathing normally on his own. Then the tube is removed and he is left to rest. Most dogs are in their own kennel. Romeo, of course, has me to snuggle with and help keep him warm.
For the most part, he napped, but he once in a while got up to rearrange himself. He drooled like crazy and soaked a couple of towels. He looked like his Greyhound sister for a while, napping with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. At times he seemed a bit uncomfortable, but hopefully not in too much pain.
By about 1:15 pm, our vet said I could take him outside to pee. Although moving slowly, he seemed pretty steady on his feet. In another hour, I was allowed to get him checked out and take him home. Most dogs stay the night for observation and rest, but they made an exception for me since they knew I would be watching Romeo closer than anyone else ever would.
Once home, he mostly rested and napped snuggled up on the couch with me – his favorite snuggle spot. When it was time to go out to potty, we took him out on leash to ensure no running around. I opted against one of the ridiculous Elizabethan cone collars – I'm sure Romeo would thank me profusely if he knew about it – and instead chose to keep a close eye on him for the next couple of days. That first night we didn't get a lot of sleep, as we tried to make sure he didn't lick anything he shouldn't be licking. Any time he would move, one of us would wake up and listen for licking noises and redirect him.
For the most part, he didn't attempt to do too much licking, so things are healing up nicely. I realized that the most stressful part of all of this for me was the anticipation of it all. Once I arrived at Deer Creek on Friday morning, I was perfectly calm – ok, maybe not perfectly, but actually pretty calm. I knew he was in good hands, and everyone there did a great job with him – and with me, the worried Mama!
I'm glad it's over. While it's considered a routine surgery, it is surgery nonetheless, and I prefer to avoid surgeries whenever I can. I'll write more on his rest/recuperation in my next post.