You might recall that I went through a rather painful vaccination treatment for 7 days. Well, we needed to wait for at least a couple of days so the vet could check me again and give a faithful answer about my condition.
So, we went to the vet last Thursday. Dr. Stone was so nice that he waited at the clinic until 7pm to check me. First, it was the usual check-up: temperature (I hate it! sticking a thermometer up my butt is not necessarily fun), my eyes, nose, ears, neck glands, heart rate... And then, THE test. Tests, actually. Two things had to be done: First, the vet took a sample of fluids from my nose and eyes and it was mixed with a couple of liquids (I don't know what they were, they looked like water to me). This mixture was then put on a stick. My mom says it was like a pregnancy test stick. Apparently they work the same way, you wait a couple of minutes and then look at it, one line negative, two lines positive. This stick tells you if the distemper virus is present or not.
At the same time, the doctor started test number 2: a blood sample to check the amount of antibodies I have. The nurse filled up a whole tube with my blood, mixed it up with some other stuff and put it in a machine. We had to wait for about 6 minutes.
Now, it's important to know that the stick is never a 100% accurate, that's why you need the blood test. If the stick says negative and the blood test says that antibodies are low, then you must follow a treatment because it means distemper is still present.
Lucky me, my stick had one line and my antibodies were super high!!!
No more shots!! (at least for a while)
It's been exactly one week since Isabela arrived (I miss her so much!), and it was only today that my shots concluded. It's been a hard week.
When a dog gets Distemper and a vaccinated dog is in touch with it, the second dog -in this case, me- will get the virus, too. The vaccination will help to deal with the virus of course, however, my vet suggested to give my immune system an extra help since I was living with Isabela for a few days. This treatment was a 5 days procedure with 3 shots everyday. After the shots, I would lose all my energy, hardly walk anymore, I just felt like sleeping, and weak.
But, this was not the worse part. On day 3, I got a cold, so the vet prescribed me another treatment: 3 shots everyday for 3 days. So, both treatments overlapped. On day 4 and 5, I had 6 shots daily. I am quite strong and hardly ever complain if something hurts, but this was painful. Not only did I not have energy, but I couldn't move, eat, drink, walk, get on the sofa or anything that required any kind of energy. I looked as if I was sleepy, with my eyes almost closed, but you could tell how difficult it was for me once my whole body started shaking, not much, but the way I shake when I am cold. My mommy was so worried because she didn't know if this was normal and there was nothing she could do, but my vet told her it was OK, just my body reacting to the shots. It was not a pretty sight and each time the shaking lasted for about 1 hour and the whole lack of energy situation for up to 7 hours.
This made me remember when I first moved into the place where I live now. A couple of days after my arrival, my new parents took me to the vet. I was excited because there were a few other dogs and I thought I could make friends with them and play for a while! Imagine my surprise when they put me on a cold metal table and I heard a couple of dogs crying. Then they put me on a lower version of the same table and asked to me stand still, I didn't want to! A guy was holding me, while a woman was looking at me, while dogs were watching me and barking, it was so stressful, I was very confused. Then, the guy said my weight was 5Kg. Back on the table, a guy held me while another one stuck something inside my butt, and then they said that my temperature was normal. They checked my teeth, ears, neck, paws, eyes and nose. Finally, they gave me a shot. I was shocked, what did I do to get it?? I don't remember being a bad boy... I was depressed for the rest of the day.
After 3 weeks, we were back there again, for 2 more shots, following the same procedure.
So, apparently, these 3 shots are a must for puppies, they protect me from: Parvo, distemper, rabies, worms, para influenza and leptospirosis. Of course, I didn't know that at first.
These shots should be administered during the first months of a puppy's life, however, since I was probably living on the streets during that time, I didn't get them until I was around 7 months old (my first parents didn't get around to vaccinate me while they took care of me, when I was 6 months old or something like that).
Anyways, to keep me protected, the 3 original vaccinations must be given to me one more time this year, I am an adult now and I need them again.
Although I hate the vaccinations and going to the clinic makes me nervous, the vets and nurses are actually very nice to me, they all know my name and like me very much. At the end, I know I will go home and rest. Also, now I know, the vaccinations are actually a good thing, they keep me healthy in the long run.
Last week I really didn't have time to continue with my story and I have a very good reason. We have to fast forward to the present and continue later with how I got from the Hutongs to my actual home.
Last Sunday, something unexpected happened. My mom took me out for a walk around noon, and after a few minutes I saw my dad walking into the compound, holding a kind of bag. When he got to us, he put it on the grass, opened the zipper and Isabela came out. She was such a beautiful puppy; smaller than me, walking in a cute clumsy way white with some brown highlights on her back. I liked her immediately! My dad put her back because she started to cry (she wasn't wearing any jacket and it was very cold) and walked towards our building. I got a bit scared because I thought for a moment that I was being replaced, I started crying but since my mom stayed with me I figured it would be ok.
When we got back home, she was walking around the apartment, sniffing around, checking everything. She was my sister, my parents said, and I was happy about it. I went to her and we started playing, bitting a bit (sometimes too rough for her), running a bit, chewing stuff, I borrowed her my toys (which I NEVER do) and late at night, I even let her have my bed! I slept on the sofa in my parents room instead, they let me do it to show me they were not replacing me and I was still their baby. It was a great Sunday.
On Monday, we played around again, but something was a little different, in the morning, she had diarrhea. It got worse and worse through out the day and by night time she was already doing it almost every hour. I even heard my mom saying that there was blood in her poo and I could hear Isabela coughing and sneezing. My mom said she thought she had a cold and will take her to the vet next day.
On Tuesday, I heard my mom talking to my dad on the phone, then she rushed to get dressed, got me dressed and we went to the vet. Isabela was there with my daddy, and he didn't seem happy, on the contrary, he seemed very sad. The vet had discovered Isabela had Distemper, they kept talking about a virus and although I couldn't understand what the fuss was about, it worried me. They were talking about "putting her to sleep" and I thought that was strange, I had given her my bed so why would a 3 months old puppy like her need to sleep at the vet's? A few minutes later, they put us on some tables and gave us injections, 3 for me, and 7 for her. It hurt me just a bit, but she was crying so much. This distemper thing can not be good I thought.
After that, we were not allowed to play together anymore, she was placed in an area in the living room where I could not go in, she was trying to come to me to play, but every time she did it, my mom would put her back. She wasn't eating and was sleeping a lot. I felt very sleepy too, and tired, like I didn't have energy anymore, it was caused by the injections I heard.
She was still in a bad condition the next day and after we came back from the vet with our shots, Isabela was this time put aside in another room and now we were completely separated, she was crying and every time I saw her in there, unable to come out and play, and sick, I would cry too. I was so sad.
At night, my parents didn't sleep much. My dad slept with me and my mom stayed up all night with Isabela, who was having a very hard time breathing and didn't sleep all night. My parents were very sad, I saw them crying during the night..
On Thursday, she could hardly stand up or walk. We went to the vet's again. He checked Isabela and said she was not so bad, but that since she was little, not eating with respiratory problems and without any previous vaccinations, her chances of living were just 10%, puppies don't really survive this disease apparently. Then, my parents said they will "put her to sleep". I thought that was a good idea considering that she didn't sleep the night before, but they seemed so sad with this decision. Another doctor came inside the room and for some reason I knew there was something wrong. I hid under the sofa where my parents were sitting and didn't want to come out. When I saw they were taking Isabela out of her box I calmed down a bit and came out. Then, they placed her on the table, shaved a little part in her leg, and the doctor gave her a shot. I didn't know why but this made me feel really sad, maybe because my parents were crying and telling Isabela how much they love her. She fell asleep a minute after her shot and her breathing problem was gone and she seemed so peaceful, as beautiful as always. Then, the doctor and a nurse carefully wrapped her, along with her blankets and her new jacket, in a kind of cotton diaper, then put her inside a plastic bag. Now I understood, she was not going to wake up, ever.
We walked home after my shots, just the 3 of us. We arrived to the apartment and they started to put everything she ever touched in garbage bags, toys, my bed, blankets..., the doctor instructed them to do so, otherwise this virus will attack me severely, too. They are cleaning the apartment now with a mixture of detergent, water and bleach, bleach is the only thing that can kill this virus, for full 2 weeks, my parents will be cleaning like this. They removed the carpet to have it disinfected and won't put it back until at least 3 months have passed (the time it needs to be virus-free) and they are bleaching all the clothes they wore since Isabela arrived the first time, also the pillow cases, bed sheets and who knows what else.
"She is in puppy heaven" my mom said, "where she can run with a lot of energy, play all she wants and be a happy little girl'. I really hope so.
Woof! for my beloved sister, Isabela.
Let me continue with my story.
As I said on my last post, after a while living on the Hutongs, a couple took me in and started to take care of me and giving me food and water on a daily basis, I had never been so happy! However, the food issue was a bit difficult for me. It was brown, dry, a bit hard to bite, small and these things came in a bone shape. It smelled kind of nice, like chicken or something. But the taste, I don't know, I just didn't like it. I was not sure of what it was, and, to tell you the truth, I'm still not sure, I only know that I am supposed to eat that.
For weeks I walked around the hutongs with them, went into cafes (where I was never allowed before), met a lot of humans and actually had some fun.
I learned many things on these weeks. For example, many humans are nice, when you get thirsty you can drink water from a bowl on the floor (placed there specially for you!) , biting is not a game humans like to play and humans are very happy if you only pee and poo outside. Doing these last 2 things was my way of thanking them for taking care of me and I am very proud of this until now, I never pee or poo inside, only ouside where nobody can step on it! I also learned I like apples, chicken and LOVE eggs.
A couple other things happened. The first one, I didn't enjoy so much. They started to put a thing around my body, this thing was thin and long, it kept me somehow attached to the humans hands, I heard them calling it a "leash" and they would put it on me whenever we went out of our house. Every time they tried to put the "leash" on me, I would start biting it a bit with my little teeth, I didn't like having it around but it was nice to bite! I had a big urgency to bite everything around this time, I don't understand why, but maybe it had to do with the fact that some teeth were falling and somehow new ones where coming out! This has to be a 6-months-old-puppy kind of thing.
The second one, was that the people taking care of me were always repeating the same sound when they looked at me "Mei Banfa", whenever they wanted my attention, they would say it again. I didn't get it at the beginning, but then, one day after a few weeks, it hit me: They had given me a name. I didn't know what it meant until later on when I heard someone talking about it.
But, it's late right now, so I will tell you more about my new name and what happened later the next time.
Let´s start from the beginning, at least from the part I remember.
I was wondering around the Hutongs in Beijing, looking for something edible on the sides, it was getting hot since it was June, I think. In this area, some strangers would give me pieces of bread sometimes, other times they just waved their arms and moved their legs, with time I learned this meant they wanted me to go away.
But this day was different, this day I saw a woman I had seen before, she lived around there I assumed. She started to pronounce some words I didn't understand and moving her arms in a way different from what I had seen before, she actually had a smile on her face. I thought maybe she wanted me to follow her. So I did. To my surprise, she didn't get angry about me following her. Finally, we arrived to a door, she went in, looked at me and left it open for me, again pronouncing some strange word. Slowly and a bit scared, I went in.
From this day on I had a home. She and her boyfriend fed me (some weird dry brown food), played with me and took me around with them everywhere. I was no longer a stranger, and most humans seemed to like me.
I am not sure how my life was before, right now is nothing but a blur, but I do remember feeling hungry, weak, sick, but mostly, I remember feeling sad, things that a puppy my age (I was just 6 months old) should never feel.
This was the day my life changed. And it would change again in a few weeks, but I didn't know that. All I knew is that I was happy, looked after and not sleeping in an ugly dark alley anymore.