Yes, I am alive, although you probably couldn’t tell from my lack of posts. I’ve just been insanely busy with a big annual project for work. It’s one of the projects that you feel like you’ve accomplished something after all is said and done but the getting there isn’t pretty. So, at any rate, whatever time I’ve had over the past two weeks has been spent on that rather than writing, cleaning my house, walking my dog, or paying my bills. But I’m getting caught up.
Of course to this stress, overload, and near chaos, you’ve got to add drama. You know, the kind of thing you never see coming, but once it hits it totally derails you, because Lord knows you’re just hanging on by a thread as it is. My black swan left me sitting at the emergency vet at midnight on a Friday night with an estimated bill for $7,000.
The day started spiraling out of control around 5pm. My dad and his friend had stopped into town on their way back from Florida, so we thought it would be fun to drive out to Annapolis for soft shell crab. I decided we should throw the dog in the truck with us since the alternative was leaving him in his crate, where he would no doubt howl for much of the day, pissed that we left him alone. But because it had rained for most of the afternoon, he wasn’t able to get out of the car for a nice stroll around town.
Needless to say, when we got back home, he was a crazy dog. Between little exercise and new people in the house, he was almost literally climbing the walls. So, I went into turbo treat mode, doing some training exercises with him to keep him occupied.
After about 30 minutes of him doing a great job lying down and staying while I fed the baby, I released him with my usual, “OK!” Once off command, he just lost it, doing laps around the house and jumping on my house guess. But I figured he’d chill after a few minutes. So, I went to the fridge, took out some snacks, put them on the counter, and looked over to see the dog standing under the baby chair. Curious to know what the baby dropped that he was now scarfing down, I walked over and grabbed his nose, opening his mouth. I looked inside to find nada. Weird, I though, I could have sworn he looked like he was eating something.
And then I saw them. My kid’s feet. No shoes.
Are you kidding me? was my first thought. There’s no way the dog could have in all of 30 seconds gotten both moccasins off and eaten them. Or could there? A quick scan around the room showed no evidence of any shredded baby bootie.
So, what to do. I was pretty confident the dog had swallowed the darn things whole. I mean, he had eaten baby socks before. And fortunately they had passed, as I found them in the backyard during a morning poop patrol. But these were more like shoes than socks; they had a soft leather sole, for god’s sake. I had my doubts about whether that could get squeezed out the other end in one piece.
And given my drama with my lovely Joey, who went to doggy heaven after failing to recover from surgery–he had an intestinal blockage after ingesting stuffing from a toy–I was so not ready to go through that with Zus. I was not going to wait it out to see if he could pass two booties because I had serious doubts if it was doggily possible. So, I called the vet and explained to the front desk attendant what had happened. She told me to bring Zus in and they would induce vomiting; usually if it has been less than 4 hours since the object was ingested, the vomiting gets it out.
Four hours? He ate the booties 45 minutes ago, so we’re golden, I thought. So, Zus and I arrive at the vet and they take him to the back to give him morphine to induce vomiting. From my private waiting room, I can hear him vomit and all the vet techs cheer. The vet on duty comes in to tell me that the crisis was averted; he vomited up the bootie.
But what about the other one, I asked.
Uh oh. Four more vomit inductions later and no second bootie. The vet came back in and told me we had two options:
- We could send a scope down his esophagus with a claw thing on the end to try and retrieve the bootie carnival game style, or
- We could do surgery to remove the object
The scope sounded good to me right up until the vet said that sometimes the scope is unsuccessful, so the dog ends up needing surgery anyway–and oh by the way, the estimate for that option was $7,000. If knowing that my dog was sick wasn’t enough to make me cry, hearing that was.
Choices, choices. Do the less invasive procedure that may not work and end up basically sinking a good chunk of the money we had saved for a basement renovation into the dog or do the surgery and take the lumps to the bank account earlier and get over with. (I had asked about the likelihood of him passing it or vomiting it up on his own later. Needless to say I felt like a total jerk for asking that after she responded, “It’s not likely. We’ve got a dog dying in the back right now from that now.”)
I opted for the scope and hoped for the best, although I definitely let out a few whimpers on my drive home. I couldn’t believe I was back at the emergency vet with my puppy–again. I was pissed at myself for letting my kid have shoes on. I mean, I don’t let him wear socks because the dog steals them, but I’ve never had a problem with the shoes before; they stay on very well–or at least they had. And I was scared that I was going to lose another great dog.
Fortunately the gods were smiling on me because the scope proved successful and the bootie was fished out of the dog’s stomach sans problème. But the whole experience taught me something about babyproofing–sometimes you need to babyproof the baby. So, babies go barefoot or they don’t go at all in this house. Good thing summer’s just around the corner.