We love our dogs. They are sweet and loving and bring much joy and entertainment to our lives. But they are also dogs. Sometimes they use the bathroom in the house or chew on something they’re not supposed to or – rather like children, I suspect – drive us stark raving mad. And they certainly cost us plenty of money. Sometimes we even have to pay to go to the emergency vet. Like tonight.
This was the third time we’ve been to the emergency vet in 5 years. The first time, we’d had McNulty less than a week. Someway, somehow that we have never figured out, he managed to sniff out a one-pound box of chocolates still wrapped in plastic – never opened – that were in a place he could not possibly have reached (and yet somehow did). He ate half the box. He’s 30 lbs. A half-pound of chocolate in a thirty-pound dog is a high ratio of poison to dog. I wasn’t home, David was panicking and calling my cell while I was at dinner with clients in Baltimore, the dog was vomiting and had a hard, distended belly… He ended up overnight at the emergency vet on an IV and under close observation, and spend the whole next day the same way at our regular vet. That adventure cost us something in the neighborhood of $1200. The first week we had him. Not counting the regular checkup and shots he’d already had earlier in the week.
The second time was the night of my 30th birthday party. My in-laws had brought their dog, Gretchen, who at the time was about 110 lbs (she’s on thyroid medicine now and has slimmed down to about 90 lbs, but still, she’s much bigger than him). McNulty and Gretchen had spent a lot of time together, they’d always been fine, and we didn’t anticipate any problems. Until our dumbass dog decided it would be a really good idea to steal a bone from a dog 80 lbs heavier than him. Guess what? It wasn’t a good idea. She didn’t mean to hurt him – she was just trying to tell him to back off – but her claw ripped a gash in his side, one that we didn’t even find for a couple of hours because he had so much hair. When we did find it, I was too tipsy to drive (as was my husband – hey, it was my party at our house, we weren’t expecting to have to drive anywhere!), so my two closest friends piled me into one of their cars and the three of us drove the dog to the emergency vet, where we waited an eternity (full waiting room that night) and he finally got staples in his side and we got to hear how lucky he was that she hadn’t punctured his lung, because she almost did. (He’s now pretty cautious around Gretchen, which works out for the best. He’s stupid, but he does learn. Kind of.)
Tonight was a stark-raving-mad night. The dogs were driving us NUTS. You may remember that Delia was spayed last week. We’ve had a near-impossible time keeping her still so that she can heal. She desperately wants to play and doesn’t understand why we keep separating her and her new-found pal McNulty. She finally succeeded in chewing the plastic tabs off of her e-collar so that it barely stayed put for more than 5 seconds before coming off again. She managed to somehow shut herself in the bathroom completely this afternoon – we’ve been putting a baby gate across the bathroom door so she’s confined but can see out, and she somehow or other managed to shut the door. And she panicked and peed everywhere – the second dog to pee all over our bathroom floor in less than a week. The e-collar was supposed to stay on until Friday, but the aggravation and the fact that it wouldn’t stay on her anymore meant we took it off, and we threw it away because it was useless without the tabs (and we hoped to never need one again, of course). And she apparently thought, “FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and promptly went ape-shit. That is the only word to describe it. She ran at full-tilt through the house for pretty much a solid hour, us trying to calm her down with no success. We stopped trying for a little while to shovel some dinner in our faces, and when we finished eating, David grabbed her and checked her incision.
“She’s coming apart.”
Sure enough, her incision was opening up. It had over a week to heal, so it wasn’t gushing blood or anything, but it was clearly not a good thing, either. So…off to the emergency vet we went. Again. At least this time, we beat the rush. There was no one else there, so they took her back right away. The doctor came back out to tell us that she’s healed pretty well, and while the wound needs to be tended because there’s a pretty good risk of infection if it stays the way it is, she’s not coming apart inside or anything. They put some staples in her, which we’re going to have to pay to have removed in 7 to 10 days, and they gave us a new e-collar, a different kind this time that she probably (hopefully) can’t destroy in the NEXT 7 to 10 days that she has to wear it. *SIGH*
I love my dogs I love my dogs I love my dogs I love my dogs I love my dogs I love my dogs….