Monster the Fighter



It’s a good thing Monster’s a fighter, because last night he was fighting for his life in a metal box.

The history: for a week or so, he’s been trying to hack something up. Nothing crazy, once or so a day, usually on our 4 mile bike/run to work. I thought, Monster ate something, what else is new, it’s probably a sock or something more fun, it’ll pass in time. Saturday, though, he became very lethargic and depressed, wanted to hang out by the door at home and was generally avoiding me, which is the opposite of how he is in his daily follow me from room to room life. Something was more wrong.

He couldn’t keep breakfast down, we later fed him a dinner of rice with chicken broth. At 2am, emily (who was up with lil’ Ryan) told me Monster threw up all over the bathroom. I cleaned it up (and later broke the plumbing moving the sink a smidge to get at more of it, I mean come on Big Guy upstairs cut me a break lol). I slept downstairs with Monster, he hung out by the door, I was on the couch.

We went to the Vet’s Sunday morning, the X-Ray was unclear but I made the decision to proceed with surgery because this wasn’t getting any better. In fact, the opposite, and Monster was very un-Monster-like. Midway through surgery, the doctor called me with a huge scare brief about how bad it was. Monster had eaten a rope toy that they cut out, but much of his intestine was damaged beyond repair, so they would have to cut it out and re-attach the two healthy pieces. The Doctor told me he had a 50/50 chance of living, and did I want to do the procedure? I said, as opposed to what? She said, “euthanasia.”

I was reminded of my grandfather who was told by a Doctor in the Bahamas long ago that they were going to have to cut his son’s leg off after a motorcycle accident. My grandfather punched the Doctor and said the hell you are. He got him to Miami as fast as possible and made a full recovery.

Anyway, no I didn’t punch anyone but I said I like his chances of surviving the surgery better than surviving euthanasia so let’s go ahead with the surgery. I drove to the surgery center after giving em a huge hug and shedding a tear or two with her at home. She would’ve come except someone had to watch our three kids, including 5 day old Ryan.

When the surgery was over, both Dr.’s who did the operation said it went well all things considered. Andy, Lee and I drove Monster to an overnight care center – I rode in the way back of the GORUCK Truck, stroking a heavily sedated Monster and whispering to him that I love him.

We got him to the overnight care center, and he got his “room” in a metal box. But the doctor here was great, her husband an Air Force man, her demeanor as you would hope: positive and confident. I took a pic smiling because Monster prefers smiles to tears no doubt and then I went home to not sleep after saying good-bye to Monster, hopefully not for the last time. After all, you never know.

I called several times and the night brought good news. The risk is that the intestines don’t work, that there’s an infection. His blood sugar is high (that’s good), blood pressure back up post-operation, his protein levels are good after some plasma. He went outside to pee.

The first 24 hours are the most important, the next 24 the most important after that, etc. We’re not quite at the 24 hour mark post-op, but Monster by all accounts is doing much better. He’s got a pep in his step already, and the new doctor, an Internist (Internal Medicine Specialist), said he’s young and strong and seems to be doing as well as we could hope for. She even said he didn’t lose that much of his intestine.

Anyway, he’s got a ~3 day stay at the hospital in front of him. None of which is guaranteed, same as all of the days of our lives. But if he weren’t a fighter, he’d be dead right now. So here’s to Monster, and to fighting till your dying breath.




  1. Dewy says:

    “Fighting till your dying breath” .. Damn Straight !!! Monster’s no underdog. Get better quickly buddy. Jason, thanks for sharing man, I don’t need to tell you that struggles in this life make us appreciate the good times. I appreciate you reminding me of that today !

  2. Danny W. says:

    I was struck with the same situation except my lab chewed/swallowed a toothpaste tube. Multiple vets told me it would pass so I let it go for a few days. By the time I managed to get her in for emergency surgery her intestines had already been damaged beyond repair. I’ll never forgive myself for not getting her the surgery as soon as I knew something was wrong. I hope Monster makes a full recovery and you guys can get back to your daily lives.

    Stay strong Monster!

  3. Kara says:

    We went through something similar with our lab. She ate a q-tip. Same thing, surgery or euthanasia, um surgery. 4 days later she was wanting to run and jump. She is still with us 2 years later

  4. Dan says:

    Our dog had a health scare earlier this year. Things went from normal to critical in a flash, and we spent a hellish week not knowing whether she’d pull through. Thankfully, she had an amazing doctor, and has since made a full recovery. And I’m thankful for each and every day we’re together.

    I’ll be keeping Monster in my thoughts, and looking forward to Monster coming home to his family that loves him.

  5. Steve Burke says:

    Attboy Monster–keep on truckin and fight the good fight! Your neighbours to the North are thinking about you and sending good vibes your way. Crazy times for the McCarthy Family, congratulations on the new edition (there will be more time for a proper after things settle down) and I hope things slow down for you folks very soon. Monster you keep thinking about home so you can show your Docs how a recovery is done–outta that metal box and back home (and GORUCK HQ) where you belong! Come back strong Buddy

  6. Yami says:

    Love this bundle of chocolate goodness! and even though you were smiling, your eyes were sad and pleading! I am happy your furry boy pulled through.
    “What do we say when we stare death in the face? Not today!!!!”… (my own version of something said in Game of Thrones).

  7. Ben says:

    Bad news to hear about the rope toy. Good news to hear he’s making a recovery. Monster is lucky to have owners like you and your family. You know that he loves you, and appreciates the chance you’ve given him. He’ll take that chance and give it his all to pull through. Here’s hoping for a fully, speedy and uneventful recovery.

  8. Galen Rosenberg says:

    Jason, dogs are tough as fuck when they know they’re loved, but I’m betting you already know that… ;-)> We have rolled down that road twice with our Boston terrier and our beagle (the dachshund learned from her sisters) and we were lucky to have a vet with a heart who was just as tough. Ours made it just fine, Monster is gonna do the same. Attitude and altitude, man.

    Monster: Sunny, Hershey & Fritzi send good mojo and say to look forward to hearing Dad gripe about vet bills!

  9. William says:

    Glad to hear Monster is doing great, Labradors love to eat everything they come in contact, my chocolate lab mix at about Monster’s age somehow found a box of staples and while it didn’t come down to surgery, there were some real anxious hours spent in the animal ER and lots of $$$ spent.

    Get well soon Monster!

    William & Coco

  10. Joaquin Romero says:

    Thanks for the update! I just got a Christmas card from that guy and I hope he pulls through in time to eat the snacks Christmas eve.

  11. Silly rabbit, it’s well known fact monsters can’t die! He’s only making himself difficult because he wants to show you how indestructible and immortal he really is!

    Get well soon Monster, we miss your posts!

  12. Ron Waymire says:

    So glad he’s doing better. We had a chocolate boat lab named Ranger, so my wife and I LOVE the Monster stories and photos.

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