Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Dawgs and Dawllers

Oh how having a dog changes everything.

Like going on a trip. When you leave for a week to sunny San Diego for spring break, your dog doesn't get to come with you on the plane. So you check her into a kennel and hope that this time, she isn't labelled shy and timid, and that this time, she dives in headfirst and doesn't come home with kennel cough.

This time, indeed, Molly's report card read: "Friendly" and "Active." This time instead of giving us the trainer's business card for shyness, they gave us the trainer's business card for behavior training, to which I reply, "Come on, she's still just a puppy!" (Despite her large size and weight: 68 pounds).

In the seven months we've owned her, Molly has presented us with the usual puppy challenges. She digs up the yard. Her peeing has ruined our lawn. There's the jumping, the biting, the counter surfing. The floors are covered in her shedding fur. And yet it's only been in the past few months that we've felt more of the strain of being dog owners. If you want to race out and get a full bred puppy of some sort, read on, to discourage yourself.

This morning my alarm came from Molly's crate, the sound of hurling. Usually she laps up her hurl, (I know! Gross!) but this time it was all still there. I cleaned it up and inspected it, and within the contents were the fibers of a half-eaten hand knit washcloth, a sliver of undigested rawhide, and....wait for it.....a rock.

She loves to push her enamel dog dish around aggressively once she's finished eating. It's like a compulsion. Most recently, the effects of this were that the dog dish got RAMMED just right into the corner of our glass oven door, causing it to shatter into a million little shards. Luckily it was safety glass, and it held, but we had to replace the glass in the door to the tune of about $300.  Next she got fixed, which was another expense, but pretty seamless in terms of the incision healing, etc. plus it bought us a week of a very calm and sedated dog.  Then she had an ear infection in her left ear. Not a week after an ear re-check we took her in because following the pulverizing of a new toy, she kept hacking like she had something stuck in her throat. We had x-rays done only to discover that there was nothing stuck and she instead was coughing because she had kennel cough. Cue her second round of antibiotics. Upon picking her up after our San Diego trip, I noticed her right ear was red and irritated. Today's vet visit corroborated a second ear infection. Thankfully a topical treatment was prescribed, one we already had at home from the last ear infection.

Then, not minutes after we got home from the vet, I was out lint rolling the front seat where she'd sat and when I came in, Avery said, "Mom! What's all this blood everywhere?" Upon surveying the scene, sure enough, tiny fresh blood drops trailed all over the floors, dotted the walls, and were smeared occasionally on doors and trim. What the?

It was a mystery for awhile, but we knew it was coming from the dog. I figured during one of her counter surfs she'd scored a knife, as is her way. Turns out, it was her tail that was all bloody and Julia admitted (with shame) to slamming the bathroom door to keep Molly out, catching her tail accidentally in the door. HELLO! Poor poor dog! I am watching it and worried about it, like I worry about Julia when her asthma acts up. This pet business is about being a parent all over again. Will it mean another vet visit? Will she need a cone to keep her from fussing with a wound that doesn't seem to want to stop bleeding? AAAAAA!

There are bright spots, though, always bright spots. Like yesterday, when I took a gamble and left her inside while I trekked to Costco, in search of a new food to try with her in case her ear infections are being caused by an allergy of some sort. I expected to come home and find our Sheffelia munched, or one of my pillows torn, or SOMETHING. All I found was a sweet dog face greeting me at the window, and a return to her rawhide in the corner once she'd greeted me with lots of wags and happy grunts. She was a CHAMP. I was so proud of her and pumped her full of praise. We never leave her in the house when we go anywhere, so this was a success!

People warned us about puppies, and full bred dogs. People said, "Don't get a lab. They are spazes for three years. They shed. They stink." We went ahead and did it anyway.

Despite the stresses and strains, cleaning up blood and vomit, paying another vet bill, I can honestly say that I can't imagine life without our Molly dog. One of the best parts of my day was tossing the ball for my retriever again and again in the backyard.
After a visit to the vet the next day, we found that our dear Mol had quite the laceration on the tip of her tail. Jump forward a week + and we're on week two of sedation, cone, antibiotics, and pain/inflamation meds so as to help this thing heal. Too bad she's such a WAGGER. It is healing but slated to be bandaged for another 2-3 weeks. It's going to be like not having a dog for awhile, but hopefully she will be back in business.  Poor, poor girl. We love her so. Those underwear are to help her from banging it on stuff while it's healing. Luckily she hasn't done any damage to her bandage.  Sigh.....


Anonymous said...

As I read "dawgs and dawllers" it makes me happy that I filled out my humane society volunteer application this morning. Even though the disclaimer says "we cannot be held responsible for death and dismemberment" I am throwing caution to the wind with the expectation it will satisfy my yearning for an pet. aunt "M"

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