After Ruger was signed over, it was time to figure out what was wrong with him. Everyone knows K9 Justice League goes all out when it comes to saving the broken dogs. Instead of being sent home with some dewormer and a few cans of A/D, we prepared to do everything we could to fix him. He had radiographs. Lots and lots of radiographs. We did a barium series. He had a fecal done in house, one sent out to the lab. He was dewormed, put on different medications for various issues, poked and prodded by multiple vets. Ruger had blood work done and fluids given. But after everything, he was still sick. He initially started with diarrhea and a very tender abdomen. The brown baby was skeletal and hardly acted anything like a puppy. He began vomiting. It was extremely difficult to get him to eat or drink anything at times. Then there were days that he'd have a normal bowel movement, start acting like he felt better, and began eating. Then two days later, he was going downhill again. I couldn't understand why he would improve, then decline, improve, then decline. Was I doing something wrong?
It was love at first sight with Ruger. I was already dreading letting him go to a new home when he got better. WHEN he got better. But he never did. From the beginning, I was convinced that he had an obstruction. It was just that motherly instinct, I guess. Many of his tests weren't indicative of having one, though, and cutting open a 5-week-old, emaciated, sick puppy isn't exactly the first thing vets want to do.
In the end, Ruger was rushed into exploratory surgery after spending a little under 2 weeks with me. Finally, my sweet boy was going to be fixed. He was going to get better and grow up and be the amazing dog I know he would have turned out to be. He'd hang on to that sweet, selfless personality... but he'd be adventurous and drive-y, too. And, oh boy... was he going to be HANDSOME when he grew up.
But Ruger didn't get to grow up.
They found what was making him sick. It was a nylon collar that he had eaten... but the frayed pieces had grown into his intestines. The vets tried to think of every option, but there was nothing they could do. There was no way they could remove every piece of thread and repair every hole in his fragile intestines. So that was it. I got the call from Jessica and had to speak the words I dread so much. "I guess we don't have a choice. We have to let him go." I could hardly speak. Bethany was working that night, and she gave him a kiss and told him that we all loved him before the vet relieved him of his discomfort before ever waking him up from the anesthesia.
My heart dog was gone. My Little Ruger Boy was gone.
I still kick myself to this day for not insisting that he had an exploratory done. But I'm not a vet. He had every test under the sun done. But I can't help from feeling like if I had been more assertive in my idea that he had an obstruction, that maybe he'd still be here today. Perhaps it happened like it was supposed to. That Ruger was only supposed to be in my life for that short amount of time before he left. And maybe he left that way... because that was the only way he could. He was meant to be my dog until the very end, even if that end was only within a matter of a couple weeks opposed to an entire lifetime. I miss that puppy every single day, and I think of him often even though so much time has passed. He was a very special piece of me, and he took a huge piece of my heart that will never be repaired.
He knew love from many people, and that's what's important. He didn't die in a pen after starving and dehydrating to death. Ruger was surrounded by love at all times, by every person that met him. Because he was just that special.