Lynn teaches us a few things about heartworm treatment


Lynn was clearly distressed and anxious in her crate.  But the instructions with which she came said that she should be crated for her own good.  What was happening in my guest room did not sound like it was good for anyone, however. 

The point of keeping an animal more or less sedentary during heartworm treatment is to prevent excessive blood flow that may dislodge the worms from the heart and cause arterial blockage.  I listened to Lynn’s struggles for an excruciatingly long 5 minutes, weighing the options and reasoning with myself. 

First of all, I HATE the sound of an animal in distress (and Lynn was clearly in distress).  I don’t do well with babies crying either.  I was never a good candidate for sleep training my own children through any method that involves crying, and spent way too many months hopping up around the clock at the slightest peep from any of them. If I can be a source of peace and happiness for another, that will always be my choice. 

Next, the intention of crating Lynn was to keep her calm…but it wasn’t working.  Her blood flow had to be increased in such a state of frantic anxiety than when she was simply moving happily about on the walk and throughout the house.

Could I in good conscious let her out?  If she dropped dead minutes later, would I still think that I had made the right decision?  With all the information I had at hand, with the goal of keeping her as calm as possible, letting Lynn roam around the house was the solution that made the most sense. Making the decision in good conscious, with the best of intentions, I thought I could live with whatever the consequences would be (but please, please, please don’t die on me, Lynn!!).

Lynn was sooooo happy to see me when I entered the guest room!  She was wagging like crazy and gave me a gazillion licks as a handsome reward for my common sense. 

You came back!  You came back!  You came back!

Just when I was starting to question myself because Lynn’s exuberance was borderline manic, she starting pacing around the house slowly again, exploring. 

She visited with each family member easily commandeering all the cuddles. 

She was friendly and happy visiting with Livie.  They mouth wrestled but were not running around the house at full speed. 

Lynn and Livie playing day 1

Finally, Lynn laid down in the kitchen as the family began dinner preparations. 

She was calm and happy.  We were all calm and happy.

I am, at heart, a rule follower.  I like being provided with clear instructions and I like to follow the instructions to the letter.  But Lynn was teaching me that she was an individual with individual needs that might deviate from standard heartworm treatment care.  After all, many shelter pups endure the long and painful treatment in the shelter environment, but Lynn had been identified as needing out!  We would have to work together to get her through this challenging time in her life.  It was only day one, but I thought that with a little patience and mutual respect, we were well on our way!

3 thoughts on “Lynn teaches us a few things about heartworm treatment

    1. Thanks, Leslie! Writing about it makes it seem like an easier decision than it was because of course I should grant that poor girl her freedom and ease her distress! But since I was specifically told to keep her sedentary, I did have some reservations! Luckily, she did not keel over (spoiler alert: she made it all the way through her heartworm treatment with us!), and I have learned to trust my fostering intuitions a little more now.
      Thank you for reading!

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