Monday, May 5, 2008

My Furry Baby

(Note: This story was written shortly after The Mister (our then six-year old Cocker Spaniel) joined our family. I am happy to report that both dog and carpet are doing fine.)

© 2008 Leighann Lord

They say owning a dog is not the same as having a kid, but there are times.

My Husband woke me at 4am to let me know The Mister was ill. He was vomiting and his bowels were getting the best of him and our carpet. Our Furry Guy was sick and now hiding in the bathroom.

Groggily I got up, went straight to the bathroom to pet him, rub his tummy and speak to him soothingly. My Husband cleaned the mess and then took The Mister out for some fresh air. When they returned, we all went back to bed. Crisis over.

When I got up at 7:30am I knew something was still wrong when I didn’t see The Mister on his pillow at the foot of our bed. I found him once again on the bathroom floor; the hallway carpet a mine field of poop.

I was worried. The Mister is very house broken and I knew he wouldn’t do this if he could help it. It’s not the same as having a sick baby, but like a baby, The Mister couldn’t tell us what was wrong or where it hurt.

It’s not the same but we did what any parents would do: cleaned up the mess again, called the doctor and then called my parents. My Dad, no stranger to sick children or dogs, and emergency runs to the doctor told me not to throw everything away. He said, "Take a sample to the vet." So armed with rubber gloves, a swath of paper towels and a zip lock freezer bag I went about the task of evidence collection. It’s not as cool as it looks on

This is not at all what I envisioned when we got a dog. I vaguely remember my parents running down the list of responsibilities that come with dog ownership. I half heard it in the same way that I heard the lecture about car ownership before I got my first car. I wanted a car then, I wanted a dog now. What could go wrong? Shedding, illness, crap on the carpet. Yeah, it’s all fun and games until the poop hits the rug.

It’s like when people tell you not to mix drinks, and then you do; and then you say, "Oh." Well, actually, you wake up the next morning and say, "Ohhhhhhhhh!" Experience is the best teacher for a reason.

Evidence in hand, dog in car, we dashed out to the vet’s office and got there before she did. The Mister is tense because he knows where he is. I guess for him, going to the vet when he’s sick is like adding insult to injury. I must confess I too felt a little anxious when I heard the vet snap on the rubber gloves.

We lifted The Mister up on the table and to his credit he was good about it. He kept very still and stared straight ahead as though he were tolerating the exam with all the dignity he could muster.

As the vet examined him, she asked us questions and my Husband and I verbally tripped over each other to answer; finishing each others sentences, giving her as much information as we could, not knowing what would help. We revealed our nervousness as much in our tone as in our worried glances. "Is that for me?" she said, gesturing to the zip lock evidence bag I was clutching. "Yes, we thought it would help."

"It will," she said. Finally, we’re helping.

It’s not the same worry you’d have for a sick baby, but we love and care for The Mister, and he depends on us to do what’s best for him, and you panic when you don’t know what that is.

In the end it cost us $79 to find out he just had an upset tummy from eating the grass in the yard and being out in the heat. A week’s worth of pills, two days of special dog food, no snacks and The Mister was good as new. I wish I could say the same for my carpet.

No, it’s not the same as having a baby, but perhaps a diaper would have helped my rug. I guess if we ever get brave enough to have kids, we’ll op for bare floors.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

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