What’s your work schedule today and tomorrow?
I’m off today and tomorrow I work 6:30-8:30 am and again 4:15-11:30 pm.
Can you talk now?
Yeah I can. I’ll call in a sec.
I paused Andy Williams’ rendition of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” on Pandora and unplugged my ear buds. I re-entered the string of texts and touched my finger to the little phone icon on my screen.
The phone rang a couple of times and I heard my mother on the other end. She said she was in the middle of something and asked me to talk while she double checked someone else’s work. I heard her mumbling about something being wrong as I informed her I was packing my stuff to move back home and struggling to mentally plan an outfit for a Christmas party at work. She suggested my purple skirt and a sparkly top. Then, she was silent for a moment.
“Don’t be mad.”
Oh. That’s how this is going to go.
“Okay? About what?”
“You know how Lana likes to eat stuff, like your purse?” And my money, gift cards, shoes, bean bag, garbage….
“She ate something, but we don’t know what.”
That’s really not newsworthy. “Okay?”
“And she wasn’t feeling well.”
“Still?” This had been going on for at least a week. My parents had been keeping me up to date on her progress, much to my relief informing me that she was still eating and pooping and all that jazz. One of the dogs had been vomiting in the middle of the night, but with Desi being old and Lana feeling sick, there was no telling which one.
My mother said that yes, Lana was still feeling sick. That she’d been throwing up a lot and had stopped eating (though she still pooped and enjoyed her walks). Apparently, they took her to the vet and he had given her fluids and canned food and a shot to make the nausea subside. He’d done blood tests (no toxins or pancreatic cancer found) and x-rays, which were inconclusive.
Within hours she was back to feeling ill. They called the vet again the next morning and brought her in. He decided to do surgery.
My mind froze. Had she already had the operation? Without me there?! Yes, I learned she had the surgery the night before, and that my mother didn’t want to tell me about it until they had a more solid idea of the result.
The vet found something in her small intestines. They said it was round, chewed up, and about three inches in diameter. Ouch. He saved the object so my parents could observe it, but they haven’t picked her up yet. They said they’ll ask the vet if they can take it home for me to try and figure out what it is. (One guess is that the object was a toy from doggie daycare, or an ornament off the Christmas tree. Last year she ate a glass ornament and gave me a heart attack, so my parents decided no more glass. Now it appears the plastic/wood ornaments may have done more harm. Who’d have thought?!)
The doctor said the next 24 hours would be critical, but seeing as Lana toughed it out with a large, solid object in her intestines, we were hoping for the best. She’s my tough little tomboy, after all.
She got staples (allegedly stronger than stitches, though two of them came out), and then managed to re-open her wound after they were removed. Now she’s bandaged like a mummy and on antibiotics to prevent infection from licking.
Will Lana keep eating non-edible things? Yes. She’s my stupid baby. She will have no idea her gluttony caused her pain. And, as she is still a puppy-ish young adult, she will continue to get into trouble. But I’ve always known this about her. She’s smart, and that’s a danger of smart dogs. Will I have to try harder to child-proof my house? Apparently. Will I have to keep a small Christmas tree up on a table until she can control herself? You betcha. I have lessons to learn from this, and if you’re smart, you’ll learn from me, too.
Let’s look at this objectively…
1. I’m now quite sure we need pet insurance. My dog is a mess. An accident on legs. Not an accident waiting to happen, just a perpetual accident. Now it’s just a matter of researching the best provider for us.
2. Even with intestinal blockage, Lana was pooping up until her surgery day. She looked lethargic and sickly sometimes, but perked up for walks. The main symptoms, according to my parents, were vomiting and loss of appetite. I am fairly sure I would have thought If she’s pooping, there’s nothing in there. Which is exactly why I’m telling you all this story. Because apparently, hearty dogs can look not nearly as sick as they actually are.
3. The vet said Lana wouldn’t need her cone, and she re-opened her wound. Maybe most dogs wouldn’t have still needed the cone, but I should have known better. Lana is Lana, after all. Better to be safe than sorry.
4. Honestly, this should probably be a lesson in child-proofing your house. Closing your dog in a play pen. Crating your dog. However, I’m going to be that sickeningly optimistic mother who assumes her dog accidentally swallowed something rather than choosing to eat it.
5. She’s cost between 2,500 and 3,000 dollars this month. Once again an argument for pet insurance, but also a reminder for readers: dogs cost more than their adoption fee. There’s food, shots and pills, toys and bowls, grooming, and worst of all, random expenses like this. If you can barely afford the adoption fee of a dog (see, the people who complain that rescues charge a fee), then I assure you, you cannot afford a dog.