I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has prayed and sent good thoughts for Liesl. I am truly grateful. I truly believe in the power of prayer and that God hands out miracles to everyone, even small, beautiful dogs and me. I have had a series of miracles over the past week that I would like to share.
About 2-3 weeks ago, Liesl stopped eating breakfast, but would be voracious at dinner. She would want to eat her dinner, then a greenie, then my dinner and cookies. Schnauzers are finicky eaters and this had not been the first time this had happened over the past 11 1/2 years. She would do this about twice a year. So while I was concerned, she was still playful, exercising, drinking water and acting somewhat normal. What made me concerned was that I suddenly realized that she had not smiled for a while, but I thought she might be grieving for her daddy, who was her fun parent. I had more activity with family during the holidays so I thought that perhaps now that no one was really coming over, that she was really missing her daddy whom we had not seen for three months. So I called and made an appointment, however, the vet could not see her until Feb 9th. A couple of mornings later (Wednesday), I saw her nibbling on a plant in the backyard. She had nibbled on this plant for the past 3 years or so, but for some reason something made me google it that day. It was Lantana which is highly toxic to dogs. I called her daddy for the first time in months, because we had told her for years to get out of the plant. He told me to call the vet on Friday when the office reopened, but that he was not super concerned because she had been eating the plant for so many years with no issues. I dug that plant and every piece of it that night.
The vet took us in first thing in the morning last Friday and held Liesl to run tests. My best friend, a nurse, went with me to pick her up. It turns out that she had never eaten enough of the Lantana to do damage, so there was not any issue there. However, Liesl, like many schnauzers do, had several kidney stones and something had happened and the vet felt that she was in Stage 3 Renal Failure. She told me that I should take her to the Emergency Hospital immediately. She warned me that because of Liesl's heart condition that she may not be able to have the three day treatment because the treatment could be fatal. I went into shock and drove her to Pet Specialists of Monterey, a 24/7 emergency hospital 5 minutes from my house. I was so scared as Liesl had never been away from me, or her daddy, if I had to be away on business.
This is where the miracles started to happen. The doctor on duty immediately started treating Liesl for a kidney infection. They had a cardiologist come to the hospital that night who said that Liesl's heart was well maintained and so they could start flushing her kidneys. The doctor said that she felt that we were dealing primarily with a serious kidney infection. I asked her and the other vet if they felt that it would be helpful if her daddy came to see her. They said that while it might be difficult for me, it would most likely be very helpful for Liesl. I did not hesitate. I called him and burst into tears. He was at the hospital in 10 minutes. Liesl rejoiced when she saw him. By that time, she was on a antibiotic drip but we were allowed to visit. It made a huge difference.
I am a person of faith who has drifted somewhat over the past few months. However, I prayed so hard that night. My best friend did not want me going home that night alone so I went to her house after getting Liesl settled for the night. I should mention here that Liesl means "God's promise." I crashed into bed that night and every time I closed my eyes I saw this brilliant golden light. Somehow I slept and was back at the hospital at 7:30 the next morning. I asked if I could take Liesl for a walk, so I walked her to a nearby duck pond. I then went back and sat on a bench in front of the hospital with Liesl on my lap. As I pet her and held her, I prayed that God would save her. As I looked up from closing my eyes and prayer I saw this white arc forming above me. It was so amazing that I took this photo:
I sincerely felt in my heart that this was a sign from God that Liesl would be okay. I had never seen anything like it. When I walked back in, the doctor saw me and came up to me smiling. She said that she was already seeing improvement in Liesl's kidney values overnight. I knew that God was giving us a miracle. I also decided that every single visit I had with Liesl, I would take her outside of the hospital. We walked, then I would sit with her on the bench outside so that she would have fresh air and a break from all of the scariness.
There is a church somewhat close to my home where there is a large shrine to the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe. Liesl and I walk there sometimes and for years Liesl has made sure before we leave the grounds, that we get to see Mary. Liesl has always been very reverent in front of her shrine (unless there is a gopher or cat around...). So before I met her daddy for visiting hours I went to the shrine and got down on my knees in front of the Blessed Virgin, whose shrine was still adorned for the holidays with a line of red poinsettias. As I prayed, I felt peace on my heart and suddenly heard the words "Liesl will live a long time. Expect a miracle." I looked up. Directly in front of me was a potted poinsettia and something in the pot caught my eye. It was one single bloom head of - Lantana. I realized that it was Mary and the angels who had made me Google lantana that night, which probably saved her life, because it got her to treatment. I realized that the Blessed Mother had just told me to expect a miracle.
I met her dad at the hospital that night and Liesl was looking more and more like herself. I knew in my heart of hearts that she would be okay. Her dad and I walked her and held her. Her dad gave her a massage so she would relax. He has been an amazing support to both of us. I realized that I needed to let go of all of the hurt feelings and be at peace and be grateful. This is the best way I can help Liesl.
They had told me that it was only after Liesl's kidney values had stopped moving, that she would be sent home. Her values kept dropping, so the three days passed. Every night I returned to the shrine to pray on my knees. On Monday night, I prayed and I heard "tomorrow is Miracle Day, expect a miracle." I felt a sense of exuberance. On Tuesday morning, the doctor said she felt that Liesl could be released around 7 pm, Tuesday evening. I felt somewhat disappointed because it meant that the numbers had stopped moving, but I was happy she was coming home. However, on Tuesday, at 5 pm as I was walking to my car, the doctor called me on my cellphone and said," Liesl's kidney values are dropping again, so I would like to keep flushing her system for at least another 12 hours." My heart leapt!!! Another miracle, as I had heard the Blessed Virgin say the day before. I went to the shrine. I dropped to my knees and prayed. I heard Mary say, "Tomorrow is an even bigger miracle." I went confidently that the next day would bring more good news.
The next morning, Wednesday, another doctor from the team called me and said that Liesl was doing pretty well and still responding to treatment. She said that they thought Liesl was a pretty special dog and is well taken care of. She said that it could potentially late in the day, she might be released. I had been visiting Liesl three times a day, so I asked if I could visit at lunch time, because I did not want Liesl to think I had abandoned her. Schnauzers are highly emotional and I wanted to make sure to keep her mental state up in case she had to stay longer. I arranged to bring her lunch. I work 30 minutes away in Salinas. I drove to the hospital, excited to see her and smell her little doggie smell. They told me that I had 20 minutes for a visit. I took her for a fast walk to the pond, then hand fed her lunch. After 20 minutes, one of the nurses came out and I got ready to hand Liesl over to her. She said, "Oh, no. Liesl is going home right now." Liesl was so excited! I asked the nurse if Liesl knows and that is why she was so elated. She replied that the dogs always know when they are going home. Liesl will now have an Internal Specialist as her primary doctor and she goes back in two weeks to get a check up. The doctor who took her in discharged her, saying that she felt that Liesl was going to be okay. She might need drips from time to time but she would be around.
Liesl was so happy and excited. We came home and she just was beyond happy an smiley, touching everything and checking out her queendom.
I have been a nervous wreck since she has been home. The next day, she was very subdued. Eating and drinking but not smiling. I called the hospital four times because they had said to watch for lethargy and she just seemed so tired and weak compared to the day before. They said this is normal for a little dog who has come home from the hospital. I keep asking my friends and her daddy, who is a physical therapist, about if she is okay. They remind me that it takes about three weeks to get over a hospital stay. I am so worried. Her daddy comes every night to see her and make sure she eats. While I know we will not be a couple again, he is comfort to me when he is here and we just sit and talk quietly so Liesl feels safe.
I told him this story last evening, because I have been so worried about how I am taking care of her and if I am missing any signs. He told me to be grateful for the miracles and not have doubts. He said that God has already rearranged the molecules in her body for healing. I do my best not to worry, but sometimes I stumble. Okay, I stumble a lot.
We are having a terrible storm here but I took Liesl for a ride today. She looked a bit weak, but I want her to have some fresh air. I drove over to the church, and stood before the Blessed Virgin asking for help and to continue Liesl's recovery. I heard her tell me to stop worrying. She said that she had come too far with me to abandon me. She said that there are more miracles coming...
I am so grateful.