REMIND ME WHY I THOUGHT I WANTED DOGS
Okay, maybe one dog. I can understand how someone foolish enough to go look at a litter of by-definition-adorable little fat darling-pawed baby puppies might continue to have lost their grip long enough to agree to take one away when it gets older and develops a dangerous curiosity about the world and a resistance to containment and quiet reflection. But between the time you saw the things, and took subconscious note of the breeder surreptitiously doing a quick mop-up when they thought you weren’t looking, and, equally subconsciously, registered the funny stains on the mottled tweed indoor-outdoor carpet and the curiously fringed effect of any local woodwork—and possibly had some direct experience of winsome little baby puppy little needle teeth, you would think they would at least STOP THERE. You want the warm furry critter breathing effect in your life, okay, one dog. ONE dog is plenty.
Two? Okay, two is over the line. There is no excuse for two. But you may have told yourself, they’ll keep each other company, and if you’re walking one dog anyway, why not two?
BUT THREE. THERE IS REALLY NO EXCUSE FOR THREE.
Pavlova has been delightfully afflicted by the runs. And I don’t mean what puppies do from one end of your sitting room to the other.* She’s been a little off in the gut department since her final jab last Tuesday, but in the first place I know this happens and in the second place I’m kind of hardened, you should forgive the term, on the subject of canine effluvia, having had the ultra-graphic experience of hellhounds. So we were a little on the loose side, now and then, eh, it’s raining a lot, what I can’t pick up effectively goes away.
And then Thursday was a little alarming. Okay, I said to Pavlova, if you haven’t sorted by tomorrow, I’ll take you to the vet.
YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CONDITION OF PAVLOVA’S CRATE WHEN I OPENED HER UP FRIDAY MORNING.
::Robin freaks out::
I rang the vet. The vets were all out on emergency calls. Come to the afternoon surgery, said the receptionist. THE AFTERNOON SURGERY? THAT’S FOUR HOURS AWAY.
::Robin continues to freak out::
Robin also spends most of an hour dismantling the frelling crate—this one is from before the days of snap-fastenings, and it’s held together by screws—and scrubbing it within two microns of its life. Then hosing down the bedding and putting it on to soak in biological washing powder before putting it in the washing machine on BOIL. Pavlova, in the meanwhile, apparently entirely cheerful about life except for the non-arrival of breakfast and the fact that I’ve locked her out of the hellhound crate again, is massively underfoot as only a hyperactive under-ten-pound puppy can be. ARRRRRGH.**
Finally time for the surgery.*** And she charms the, er, crap out of the vet*** who, having seen me through two generations of whippety dogs, comments that she’s a little out of my usual way.† He concurs that the present unlovely situation is probably the result of the jab, she looks fine aside from the evidence to the contrary in the clinic’s back room where someone in a hazmat overall is dealing with her crate, and she’s not sore or swollen anywhere. He sends me home with some puppy sticky-up paste, gives me a tin of wet food for delicate tummies and says take her off her puppy chow, nothing but chicken and rice.
I keep forgetting that she LOOOOOOOOOOOOVES food, that the diet change is not going to be a problem from her, ahem, end. Plain bland unspeakably boring chicken and white rice? Great. Bring it on. So-called ‘palatable’ sticky-up paste, which the hellhounds used to spit out again with gratuitous emphasis? Delicious. One of the interesting little side effects of the present regime is . . . trying to reward her when she pees/craps outdoors. She knows she’s supposed to get a treat, and she sprints back to me and asks for it. Um. So I’m presently keeping a spoonful of the tin-contents by the back door, and breaking off a splodge of it. It is a credit to her comprehension of the whole bite-inhibition thing that I haven’t lost any attached bits, although I tend to be puppy-drool to the wrist by the time she’s sure she hasn’t missed anything.††
And she’s still . . . well, not exactly squirting. We’re gaining on the problem, although we haven’t quite caught up with it yet. Both Peter’s and my washing machines are tired. So, remind me . . . what’s the bright idea about THREE dogs?†††
* * *
* Or at least I hope they don’t do it from one end of your sitting room to the other.
** By this time of course I’d convinced myself that I was an evil, stupid, neglectful owner and she was going to die on the operating table. But she’s been bright-eyed, waggy-tailed, ominous-discharge-free^, pestilentially lively and HUNGRY right along. And the squirts were erratic: she’d be fine, and then she’d squirt, and then she’d be fine. I guessed maybe she was ingesting more rotten, fermented apple before I got it away from her—both Peter and I have apple trees—than I thought.
^ Aside from the, ahem, obvious. But she wasn’t dribbling mucus out of any orifices. If she had been I’d’ve had her to the vet’s fast, whiplash optional.
*** Aaaaaaaand on the way she had a mega-squirt in her tiny travelling crate. JOY. The people at the clinic said, here, you take the puppy, we’ll take care of this, and I thought wow, here’s service. But then they assumed I’d want to throw away the bedding. WHAT? If I’d thrown out everything a dog had ever erupted on the hellhounds would have bankrupted me.^ I said put it in a plastic bag, I’ll deal with it. And when I got home I found out that while they’d given me the mucky towel they’d thrown away her favourite toy. WTF, guys? The purpose of solid plastic toys is that THEY ARE WASHABLE. I can’t afford to replace every frelling toy either. That’s why the washable ones go in the crate with the always-potentially-erupting dog. Good GRIEF.
^ They had a jolly good try anyway.
*** In the grateful for medium-sized favours category, Pavlova has an uncanny ability to keep herself clean. She came out of her inexpressibly revolting crate Friday morning clean, and out of her too-small-for-this travelling crate clean too. And I am grateful. Dogs are usually mad at you for weeks after you’ve put them through the BOIL setting on the washing machine, and I don’t like doing any more high-power-usage loads than I have to anyway.
† I saw a brindle mini bull terrier in town this morning!!!!!!! I was with hellhounds at the time so I didn’t go racing up to the owner to ask breathless questions about life with a hellterror, but I’m thinking of asking the vet if either of the other two bullies on their books have humans who might be willing to talk to a green bullie owner, and if so to give them my phone number and ask them to give me a call.
†† I don’t want to use straight chicken which seems to me extreme for the purpose. Chicken is, well, chicken. You get crumbs of it mixed up in your rice, or your cereal-free kibble, depending.
††† Um, melting oodgy-goodgy adorableness? There should be a photo blog tomorrow. Guaranteed incredible cuteness. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, you won’t believe your eyes. . . .
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