One year ago today, my adult daughter got the first dog she could call her own, a Bulldog named, Samson. I didn’t know what to expect as we traveled north to see Samson after he was born. I didn’t know too much about Bulldogs at the time and had always thought only well-to-do people had them as pets. Once I saw him, though, I knew he was a cutie! All puppies are cute, of course, but Samson was the cutest of the cute.
My daughter brought Samson home when he was 12-weeks-old. And he was a feisty little guy from the moment his paws landed on my daughter’s floor. That is, Samson was feisty right up until the day he got sick.
Samson hadn’t been at my daughter’s house long before he started to make noises he hadn’t made before…noises my daughter mistook for normal Bulldog noises as most people would, including me. Bulldogs make more noises than any other breed I know of, after all.
Well, Samson continued to make even louder noises over the next few days and, even more alarmingly, began sleeping much more than he usually did. Worried, my daughter took Samson to his veterinarian who said Samson needed to see a specialist right away to treat the dog’s severe case of pneumonia.
My daughter and I scheduled the earliest appointment the specialist had available to examine Samson. Even though he was still just a puppy, the specialist told us that Samson might not survive. Rather callously, the specialist went on to explain that Bulldogs sometimes are born with such small tracheas that the most humane thing to do is put them down…to deny them a chance at life. The only thought that crossed my mind as I listened to this presumed “pet care professional” talk was, “This guy is insane!”
Despite the specialist’s lack of bedside manners, Samson stayed at the clinic for three days. His condition did not improve, however. Samson was not eating and my daughter and I were reminded of the specialist’s grim prognosis for Samson. During this stretch of time that seemed like one really, really long day, my daughter kept in constant contact with Samson’s breeder, Laurie, who owns and operates Starr Bulldogs.
Laurie suggested that my daughter and I should visit the clinic where Samson was being treated unexpectedly so we could truly determine if he was getting the best care possible. Laurie had a dog go through a similar experience before and she advised us what to look out for. So, we made an impromptu visit and were relieved when Samson seemed somewhat alert…alert enough to wiggle his little stub of a tail when he saw my daughter at least.
Unsure of whether Samson’s semi-conscious state demonstrated he was receiving adequate care or not, my daughter and I decided to sign the dog out of the animal hospital…against medical advice. We figured the best chance Samson had at recovering his health was with someone intimately familiar with his breed. So, we turned up the air conditioning in the car as far as it would go and began the three-hour drive to Laurie’s.
We questioned whether we had made the right decision at various points of our trip. Even though he was riding in the back, we could still hear Samson making the same noises that led my daughter to take him to the vet in the first place. He sounded horrible.
All of our self-doubts were alleviated the moment we arrived at Laurie’s. Laurie met us at our car and immediately took Samson from my daughter’s arms. With an oxygen tent already set up for Samson, Laurie and her husband observed him the whole while it took for Samson to do a complete 180!
It didn’t take too long for Samson to recover his happy-go-lucky demeanor and begin eating his favorite food. Having received breathing treatments and lemon to break up the phlegm in his chest over the week that he was with Laurie and her husband, Samson was prepared to celebrate when my daughter and I returned to pick him up. And celebrate he did!
Even though Samson still received breathing treatments for a few months after leaving Laurie’s, his health was eventually fully restored.
Looking back, and forward, I am still glad my daughter made the decision to take him out of that veterinary clinic. I might not have a “granddog” if she hadn’t. Still looking back, I also now believe that Samson’s pneumonia was caused by a Bordetella nasal vaccine.
Thankfully, Samson is now a happy, healthy, one-year-old Bulldog. And, he is truly unlike any other dog I have encountered in my life.
I love you, Samson! Happy 1st Birthday! Love, Your Nana!