Spending time apart

It took almost three years for me to experience August in Seville. August for many in Seville is the month you save for all year. Temperatures here consistently touch and pass forty degrees, so it’s no surprise people opt to escape the city. Some go north, some head to the beach to rented accommodation, while others have the luxury of a second home with a pool.

For previous summers, we did the same. I remember even one time spending up to three days bleaching our old apartment so that we wouldn’t come home to an ant or cockroach infestation (trust me, it can easily happen here). We knew once we decided to adopt Aneira in the Spring of 2017 would change future summer plans, starting with me spending less time at home than in previous years.

What was once two months became one. How are you text messages were quickly followed by how is she or show me a pic of her. Amongst the hundreds of photos and linked shared over that month, I’d hazard a guess more than half of those featured Aneira.

Most mornings I woke up to an update from Siobhan. Due to the intense heat back in Seville, Aneira had to be walked around 6am, and would only go out to for five minutes more to relieve herself in the next fifteen hours. For the majority of the time, Siobhan appeared to have it under control: walk, shower, go to work, return, bring her out for a trot, nap. Rinse and repeat.

Then August arrived, and an unwelcome surprise came with it.

Aneira came to us having just recovered from a bladder infection. This infection has affected her ability to hold in urine. She came to us with medicine, but following a check up with a local vet, we were told to discontinue it due to the fact she hadn’t urinated in almost a day.

It was then in early August that I awoke to a message unlike the others. It was an incident we had been dreading. Aneira had wet the bed during the night. She had been out the previous night as usual once it had cooled down, but following an hour walking around in a fur coat in 30 degree weather, you couldn’t blame her for wanting a big drink upon getting home.

She wet herself without even waking up. Siobhan found her sleeping in her own urine at the foot of our bed. In a panic, she had only wished I was there to help. What was wrong with our puppy? Would she be ok? What will the vet say? Would she need to be on medication for life?

Aneira picked a fine time to do what she did, for even the local vets decided to skip town. Estamos cerrado por vaciones. Disculpa las molestias (On holiday, sorry), three local vets said – unfortunately not offering an alternative or recommending other vets nearby. She called two others a little further away. Nothing.

Finally, hope. A vet half an hour away was still open despite the August heat. Half an hour walk in the heat, Aneira clearly unhappy having her paws exposed to the hot ground.

The vet gave her a thorough going over. Her routine, what she ate and where she walked. She walks by the river? Has she been tested for Leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis? I had no idea of such a condition. A quick Google search confirmed that if she tested positive, it would have been treatable, but it would have stayed with her for life.

All of this happened while I was on the other side of the phone. Powerless, guilty at being so far away, and now the thought that our dog, after all she’s been through, could now have a parasitic condition on top of a urinary tract infection.

In the end her blood test came back negative and she was given a jab, but vet recommended that she went back on to the medication her previous vet prescribed, and hinted that she would more than likely be on it for the rest of her life, with the dosage and frequency possibly being reduced over time. ‘With the vaccination, there will probably be side effects’, the vet told Siobhan as she left.

The negative test result didn’t stop the guilt. The week that followed featured a sick, fever-hit dog, void of energy and willingness to do much. The guilt led to thoughts about whether or not I flew back earlier, but Siobhan talked me out of it. I had another week of work to complete before heading home to be with them. It was was perhaps one of the longest in quite some time.



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