Dog’s emergency surgery interrupts family vacation


Chloe (photo courtesy of Monika DelRizzo)

TACOMA, Wash. — Monika DelRizzo and her husband don’t go anywhere without their 13-year-old bichon frise/shih tzu mix, Chloe. So of course the pup was accompanying them as they embarked on a cross-country road trip this summer from their home in Calgary, Canada.

Everything was going smoothly until Chloe started vomiting a few days into the trip. At first, DelRizzo wasn’t worried.

“Dogs do that, right?” she said. “So we didn’t do anything about it initially.”

But Chloe wasn’t getting better. The usually bright and energetic dog was listless and dehydrated. Her eyes took on a yellowish tinge. DelRizzo knew it was time to find emergency veterinary care.

By then, the trip had taken them to the Seattle area. They  rushed Chloe to a local primary care veterinarian, who suggested they go to the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Tacoma.

Dr. Stephanie Lister Grey, a board-certified veterinary surgeon with BluePearl, performed an emergency operation to remove Chloe’s gallbladder. But the dog’s liver still wasn’t functioning properly and she continued to vomit.

The staff at BluePearl provided Chloe with around-the-clock care. DelRizzo and her husband scrapped their vacation plans and instead parked themselves at a nearby campground. But the couple didn’t complain. They explored the Tacoma area and went hiking on Puget Sound as they awaited updates on Chloe’s condition.

Mostly, they were just glad their dog was getting good care.

“Every day they would call me with an update,” DelRizzo said. “Right from the start, they were nothing but professional.”

Slowly but surely, Chloe’s bloodwork started to improve.  She grew brighter and perkier. And her appetite started to return. After 10 days in the hospital, she was finally ready to go home.

DelRizzo wasn’t surprised that Chloe eventually persevered.

“She’s a stubborn little thing,” she said. “It was that stubbornness that got her through this.”

Now Chloe is back to her quirky little self. DelRizzo said her funny little pup can be a diva and doesn’t enjoy walking up stairs. And she gets very displeased if her schedule is rearranged. But give Chloe2her a squirrel to chase and she’s as happy as can be.

DelRizzo said she’s fine with the fact that her vacation was cut short. She’s just happy to have her little “quirkmeister” back by her side.

“The doctors at BluePearl saved my dog’s life,” she said. “We’re just so thankful for that.”