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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dog Tales

I was filing the bill for our dog’s most recent visit to the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic. My eye was arrested where his name was neatly printed across the top of the bill, Scooter Evans. I have three children and not one of them bears my name, but my dog does? It was an unsettling thought. What is even more unsettling is Scooter’s predilection to eat inedible items. This dog that bears my name has eaten, in entirety,
my $495 progressive lens prescription glasses one week after they arrived from the optometrist. He crunched through pencils like they were pretzels. He chomped on a light bulb, leaving no residue of glass or wire as telltale evidence. He bit through a medicine bottle and ingested pills. He eats whole Kleenex for hors d’oeuvres, leaving trash baskets mysteriously empty. As he has aged, his diet continues to require vigilance.
Recently, Scooter has been feeling under the weather. The vet prescribed antibiotics, an ear ointment, and prednisone. As a result of feeling sluggish and medicated, he has been uncommonly docile. For this reason, I never suspected that he might use his paw to drag my recently removed pain medicine patch from the back ledge of the sink into his mouth. However, that is the only possible way to account for its disappearance. I turned my back for fifteen seconds, and GONE. I was quite concerned about the ramifications of him taking the medicine. I knew from previous experience, the biggest concern was that his heart might slow down too much. I took his heart rate, a happy thumping 84. Next, I got out the activated charcoal antidote the vet gave me last time he consumed medicine not meant for him. I recruited Charles to hold him down, first handing Charles an apron. The charcoal is spectacularly messy and black. The label suggests if an assertive method of downing the medicine didn’t work, to bring the pet to have a stomach tube inserted so the charcoal could go right to the source. I used a turkey baster to try to shoot the 12 mls. of activated charcoal past Scooter’s lips. He wasn’t having any of it. He held it in his mouth until I withdrew the baster, then he shook his head, mouth open, sending lava dark charcoal spatter everywhere. I asked Charles to hold the bowl containing the residue while I wiped up the floor. Charles said, “Mom???” I turned back to look at Charles and Scooter. I knelt beside them in utter disbelief. Scooter was lapping up the charcoal like it was bacon drippings. I raced back to the kitchen to mix another batch so he would have a full dose. He scarfed that up as well. Sated. Scooter laid down to rest. His heart
rate -- a strong 84. I had Googled and found a dog his size should have a resting heart rate of 60 -80 beats per minute.
Two hours later, Scooter seemed fine. It was time for bed. I set my alarm to check him every two hours until dawn. At 1a.m., Scooter’s heart rate was down to 68. At 4a.m., it was 44. I sat with him anxiously. He kept lifting his head and looking at me. I felt like he was trying to figure out why I was bothering him. At 6a.m., his heart was beating at
72 beats per minute. We had weathered that storm.
And here is the embarrassing part. I didn’t learn my lesson. A friend took me to do an errand this morning. The vet had instructed that I leave Scooter inside. I shut all the interior doors to restrict his access to the house, put a gate across the stairs, and did a scan of the rooms in which he could roam. All seemed well. Imagine my surprise to come home two hours later to find the table runner on the dining room table askew and a 9” dried starfish had completely, and utterly, vanished. After my friend and I had conducted a thorough search, we had to draw the conclusion that Scooter might want to experiment further with sushi. Scooter has shown no ill effects of this latest culinary exploration except he may be slightly more thirsty than usual…..
Day 23

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