It was a Sunday in the summer of 2013, and we had invited some friends over for dinner in the backyard that evening. Feeling that our friends might benefit from him being worn down a little bit--he was a really active two-year old--we decided to take him for a good long hike that morning. We set off on a path that we knew in the state forest, with Norm leading the way and Wilbur on his leash. At the top of the mountain the path narrowed down a good bit with a good bit of low brush, and of course Wilbur was poking around all of it, just taking in all the smells.
We finished our walk, got home and prepped for dinner, tidied up the house; all seemed ok. Friends came, weather was glorious for being outside, and Wilbur had re-charged. He was nagging everyone to play with him, and he was indulged by more than one of us.
The next day he seemed "off", but we wrote it off to exhaustion and thought he would sleep it off. Overnight proved us wrong. He was agitated, panting heavily and whimpering by morning. Off to the vet we went, where we were pretty much told to get home, pack a bag and get ourselves to Pittsburgh for him to see a specialist or he may lose the eye. His cornea had been torn and was leaking fluid. If the fluid sac ruptured, they would probably have to take the eye. He was given a sedative to calm him down, and while we went home to pack a bag, the specialist was called to alert them that we were on the way.
We are a 2.5 hour drive from Pittsburgh, so this was not an easy trip. Our little man who usually loved to ride in the car, even under mild sedation, was panting and fussy. His eye was growing more gross-looking by the minute. We pulled into the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty Emergency Clinic (PVSEC) and were seen immediately. The doctor assured us they would give him additional meds to keep him calm, and that they would do surgery as soon as they could, and that we could expect to take him home the next day. So off we went to find something to eat and make a hotel reservation. Next thing we knew, the veterinary office called to tell us that they had four similar cases that same day, but his was the worst so they had already done his surgery and he was resting just fine and would be ready to go home in the morning. Wow!
The way they did his surgery was to patch the hole in his cornea with a small section of pig bladder. He will always have the small scar on his eye, has to have an eye drop twice a day for the rest of his life, but he recovered fully. Someone said to me afterwards that they bet that cost us a pretty penny. Well yes, it was unexpected and it was not cheap. But I'm grateful that we had the means to take care of it, and even if we hadn't, we would have found a way. Because that's just what you do when you love a dog.