Bulldog Friday: my single minded focus hurt Willy...

August 3, 2018


I am a very focused, disciplined woman with enormous drive and self-sufficiency.  All good stuff right?  


Well no....


It is hard to write about this because I am still so emotionally raw from the experience.


Here is what happened.  Two weeks ago today Willy, my English Bulldog was in a Dog Show.  He was entered for a total of four shows over that week-end: Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning.  


To prep him, on Wednesday that week he went to training with me, which we have been doing every week for about 4 months.  Thursday he spent the afternoon getting bathed,  facial hair shaved and nails trimmed and shaped.  Friday afternoon we arrived at the show early and I put him in his crate to wait for our round.


When I went to get him from his crate he looked terrible!  His eyes were red and swollen, he was drooling more than normal and he was very belligerent.  In the ring he was an absolute monster, pulling me around, bullying the other dogs and jumping off the show ramp like a rabbit.   I was embarrassed and disappointed.


I took him home and put him to bed early while I prepared things for the early morning show the next day.  At 5am Saturday I got him up and once out of his crate he immediately began to vomit.  He threw up violently five times and the last time he temporarily lost consciousness in my arms.  His tongue and mucus membranes were pale and he could not hold himself up.


I screamed for Mr. Fossler who helped me put him in the truck and we headed to our vet.  I called on the way explaining the situation and they met us at the door to help us carry him into a room immediately.  Chest and stomach x-rays revealed fluid filling 50% of his lungs.  Aspiration pneumonia - aka vomit and stomach acid in his lungs.  Why did this happen?   


Because Willy was so stressed out from all of the training, grooming, driving all over and the show itself he had a stress attack, and I accept all responsibility.


I was so focused on what needed to happen, when it needed to happen and how - that I wasn't sensitive to Willy and how HE might feel about it!  He loves me so much that he kept going and going until he couldn't anymore and his body shut down.  The vet put fluid under his skin because he was also severely dehydrated and sent us home with a list of emergency clinics and antibiotics.   The first 72 hours were tough - touch and go but he made it.


It has been two weeks and he is about 80% now.  I am so thankful and feel immensely blessed to have another chance to be the owner this beautiful little guy deserves!


Moral of the story for me: yes, discipline, drive, determination, reaching goals, etc. are all good.  However, my weakness is being sensitive, honoring and tuned in to the needs of the other living beings involved in my endeavors.  I honestly thought I WAS good at this, but Willy was a huge wake up call that I need to revisit how I am with others....


I am so blessed and humbled to have another chance.




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