This Is Life


Tough 48 hours at Chez Bollinger. Simone the Bull dog ate part of a dog toy. Simone the Bull Dog tried to throw up the dog toy about 17 times. (We need a new couch, lounge chair and rug….all in good time.) Simone the Bull Dog was rushed from here to there yesterday as we x-rayed and analyzed with vets/surgeons the best way to extract the toy part. (Note the top vets in their field curse and fret as much as the dog owners over bad luck, poor positioning and life/death decisions that have to be made.)

As Simone literally collapsed in the Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, NJ, the medical pros and I decided that exploratory surgery was the only option for the best outcome. The Bollinger children manned the household (homework, Daffodil Terrier Mutt dog walks, getting themselves to and fro Wednesday activities by bike in the coldest of weather) as the most critical moments of care and decision-making seemed to occur during the after school into early evening hours and I was away to tend to the crisis. Scott texted and called and gave his level-headed analysis from his desk at work, then came home from NYC as early as he could. In the midst of all the emergency car trips, I brought Simone home to our driveway so the kids could sit in the back seat with her to give her hugs and strokes of love and support before I whisked her away to the hospital.

The vets/surgical team called during surgery last night to explain what they had found in Simone’s stomach…then they sent pics. The toy part wouldn’t pass and was totally blocking the entrance from her stomach into her small intestine. Simone made it through surgery splendidly, was doing well in post-op last night and I am now awaiting a call from her primary doctor at the animal hospital to see how she is fairing this morning.

Yesterday, I made it through all the tricky drives with my very sick dog in tow, found my way from this medical facility to that one (Google Maps is my friend) and even managed to serve dinner to the Bollinger three (Max had to be at Orchestra practice with Scott in Bergen County — their usual Wednesday evening thing which they decided to do anyway since Simone was in surgery and we were all just waiting). It was a dinner of homemade Minestrone Soup and crusty Peasant Bread that I had prepared earlier in the day (while Simone was monitored at Vet #1) for a visit from my high school friend, Celia McAllister Sandbloom. The visit from Celia went awry completely as the dog emergency unfolded and worsened. Sorry Celia! Thanks for being so understanding.

So what have I learned from the past 48 hours? Nothing really, except that when pushed to the brink in terms of stress and anxiety about a possible family dog death in the midst of the usual daily chaos that is our life at Chez Bollinger, I guess I have the stuff to handle it pretty well…and so do my kids and husband. We’re strong in our family unit and that solidity is so important and lucky to have and feel as we make our way (together and separately) in life. Because, even as we head down our own individual paths (and here I’m thinking especially of my two high school-aged children, Max and Chloe) it is so valuable to have that solid structure of family to brace you for the challenges and mysteries that surround you. This is life.

I’ve also learned that a vomit stained rug, chair and couch are just things (and smelly things at that!) But a Victorian Bulldog named Simone? She is a treasure to behold….and she’s alive and continuing to do well post surgery (just got the call now).

This is life. Rejoice!

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