August 11, 2018

A Birthday Wish for Basil

Today is Basil's 8th birthday and we're cherishing the day with him, celebrating his life harder than we ever have before. Those of you that follow us on social media know that we have had a roller-coaster week and quite the health scare that landed Basil in the emergency surgery this past Tuesday. We're taking his recovery day by day, and while Basil is far from sitting prettily amidst a sea of balloons today, we wanted to honor the day and him on a cheerful note.

Last week before heading out on our last beach vacation of the summer, we filled the front parlor with a sea of balloons in celebration of Basil. In true-to-us fashion, it was over the top and in true-to-Basil fashion, he so willingly obliged to take all the photos we wanted...

I'd actually written up a completely different post to share earlier this week alongside these photos for his birthday week. One portion of that original post still hits me in hindsight: "Over the last couple of years Basil has begun to slow down considerably. We can tell he's growing into an older stage of life and are hopeful for many more moments and memories together to come. For now, we're happy to just let him be birthday'd out laying on the coziest ever rug in our front parlor, his favorite new spot in the house since we recently made it over."

It was late that same evening I'd written the post that we received a call from the emergency vet telling us he'd need immediate surgery or we'd need to say goodbye forever. His stomach had flipped (also known as GDV, bloat or gastric torsion) which is a life-threatening condition in dogs. The surgery is complex and can come with serious complications both during and throughout recovery.

That night is still a bit of a blur; we felt helpless and devastated we weren't there. Around 1am the surgeon called to tell us he'd made it through the surgery and that they'd had to remove his spleen — and the next 24 hours would be crucial. 

We came home to be with him and felt like we could breathe again when he was cleared for home recovery after two overnights. For now we're just taking it slow, monitoring and celebrating each small victory like the first time he wagged his tail, the first bite of food he ate after not eating and the moment the hospital staff told us he'd chewed out his IV catheter (it was then that we knew we had our boy back).

In coming through this week, I've realized how fortunate we are in so many ways. Fortunate that his symptoms were caught in time, to have the option for and ability to say yes to surgery, to be taking his recovery day by day with optimism and hope — and perhaps most of all we feel so fortunate for all of you that have wrapped your love around us and Basil during one of our most difficult moments. We've overwhelmingly felt all of your collective messages, positive thoughts and prayers and have been telling Basil about all the people around the world pulling for him.

A few years ago I stumbled across the best recipe for a homemade dog birthday cake and have been making variations on it for Basil's birthday ever since — today we had grand plans of spoiling him with a new one but are soaking in every moment we have to hand feed him the smaller, frequent bland meals he needs to get better. Cake can wait.

Basil, you've brought so much light and life into our lives and there's so much more left for us ahead. Right now we're focusing on small victories like eating normally and the day you're able to walk upstairs again. Later, we'll get right back to lounging on your favorite rug and don't worry, we won't forget about that cake.

I'm sure there are so many details I've glossed over and to be honest, we're still processing this week, just trying to soak in every moment helping get Basil back on the mend. It was important to us to honor his birthday today here on the blog and share about what's undoubtedly been our focus this week. Once we're in a better place, perhaps I'll try to write up a fuller post about our experience with GDV. In the meantime, we're so grateful for your continued positivity and prayers for Basil's full recovery.

I'll leave off today where I'd left off in the original post — a look back at all the fun we've had together and a birthday wish for many, many more good times to come:

Love Basil as much as we do? There's more to see! This year we created a #basiltheweim hashtag over on Instagram where you can see all the ways Basil has been living his best life this year. In past years we've published big birthday photo roundups here on the blog; in fact you can click through each to read all about Basil, the milestones he's hit and just generally how he's brought so much love into our lives: 7th / 6th / 5th / 4th / 3rd / 2nd / 1st birthday


  1. Happy birthday, sweet Basil! Can’t wait for a picture of your face full of cake soon!

  2. Wishing you all a speedy recovery and many more beautiful memories together <3


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