The day before Isabella was to go in for her surgery, Byron started to cough a little. We looked at each other and thought “Now what.” Throughout the night it got worse with our little guy coughing every few hours. By morning, we knew we had another problem on our hands and called the vet. By this time I am confident that the vet had our number on speed dial as we had theirs.

We took Isabella in for her surgery that morning, and Byron was to follow a few hours later.

We showed the vet a video we took of Byron coughing, thinking that he might not cough while in the doctors office. And we wanted to make sure that she knew exactly what it sounded like. She listened to his chest and decided to take chest x rays, and more blood work. She immediately thought that it could be kennel cough. The Bordetella vaccine should be given in NYC every six months, because she said that NYC is near epidemic levels of the virus.

While in the reception room waiting and wondering what is wrong, it really gives you time to think about all the little things. I know, it sounds so cliche. We have heard it a million times. Enjoy the little things, little things mean a lot, it’s the little things… and so on. But after what we have experienced so far, what we would have given to have had the littlest thing like hearing the peaceful snore of a pug by your side. Routine was something that was not going to happen for quite some time.

The x-rays came back; Byron had pneumonia. The doctor suspected (more like hoped at the time) that it was aspiration pneumonia — Byron breathing something into his lungs. Normally, we and our little puggies can fight this off when it happens. But being on steroids weakened Byron’s immune system; he could have breathed in a small piece of food and bacteria started to attack.

Since we really didn’t know if it was something else more serious, like a bacterial or viral cause, we were advised to keep him in isolation at the hospital with an antibiotics IV. Also he needed to be nebulized (breathing a saline vapor) and coupaged (semi-firm open-hand pats on the chest) every few hours. But more importantly, if he was contagious, we would be risking Izzie coming down with something when she was home recovering from surgery. At this point, we’re wondering how much more can be piled onto all these problems.

We wanted him to be home with us. He was blind, he wouldn’t know what is going on. But we knew the best thing for Byron was to stay in the hospital and get better. He needed to be in isolation for a minimum of three long days.

So both Isabella and Byron were at the hospital at the same time. We were lost. For the first time in our marriage, when we came home, there was no dog to greet us. And if that wasn’t bad enough, no snoring pugs next to our bed to lull us to sleep. It was horrible.

More coming soon…