Patti Soldavini

Atomic Diarrhea

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/14/2012 at 2:35 pm


Today, the plan was to drive down the Parkway to the Jersey shore to visit a boyhood friend of my father’s. I was going to interview him and his wife as part of my genealogical preservation efforts. This couple is but one of a handful of people still living who knew both my parents (now deceased) and whom I myself have memories of when our families got together over the years. I had planned on taking Olive with me as I take her everywhere that she is welcome. However, the trip had to be postponed as Olive is recovering from two days of atomic diarrhea. There was no way I was going to leave her at home crated for up to 8 hours under these conditions. Not for her safety and because I didn’t feel like turning her crate and the finished basement into a monochromatic Jackson Pollack painting. I also didn’t think it was fair to take a dog suffering from explosive bouts of diarrhea to someone else’s house. I mean, how do you apologize for that. “I’M REALLY SORRY SHE SPRAYED YOUR COUCH. DO YOU HAVE ANY BLEACH?” Besides, it would be a new experience for Olive and therefore, even a bit stressful for her which was the last thing she needed. It started on late Thursday afternoon, when Olive assumes the familiar “poop-crouch.” As she starts to push, it sounds like an explosion detonates. Neither of us expected this and Olive is so startled by the sound alone, that she jumps up, does a 180, and looks behind her as if to say “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?” Really, if it wasn’t so pitiful, I would have laughed out loud. This happens again and again and while I am monitoring her for signs of dehydration, I am getting a little freaked out because it just deteriorates to the point that when she crouches, it looks like a garden hose spraying mud. What now, I think? This dog has a digestive system that is as sensitive as an exposed nerve. There is no apparent thread of consistency between situations when Olive experiences these episodes, which makes it just maddening. On Friday we go to the vet who admires my deftness in securing a non-contaminated sample of the diarrhea in a disposable plastic mealsaver. “ IT ACTUALLY WASN’T SO HARD TO GET,” I SAY. “I’M JUST GLAD I DIDN’T GET SPRAYED.” (I suppress the desire to tell her about Olive’s massive series of explosions on the carpeting in the basement yesterday which I still have to RE-clean. The funny thing was, Olive kept going into the two bathrooms just prior. My God, does she think that THIS is where she should go under these circumstances? This dog is so smart it’s scary.) We discuss what it could be affecting Olive, what it probably is, (irritable bowel syndrome) what we can do to help her right now and what next steps we should take. $261 later, my dog has been injected with fluids subcutaneously to keep her from dehydrating, she has three prescriptions for medication (Carafate, Metronidazole and Reglan), and her watered-down stool is being tested for Giardia. Oh, and she has an ultrasound scheduled for Monday morning. That’s $350. If I were someone going to med school for people, I think I’d rethink my career. Veterinary science and petcare doesn’t appear to have been compromised by insurance companies yet. Since I feel so sorry for Olive, and because I want to keep one eye on her, I let her sleep in bed with me last night. I didn’t sleep at all. She seemed to sleep fairly well until about 4am, when she just couldn’t get comfortable no matter how many times she spun around to change position. And now I hear her stomach gurgling like a backed-up sewer pipe. When I finally rise from bed a few hours later, Olive stays uncharacteristically curled up on the bed. I go over to her and kiss the top of her velvety-soft head and her beautiful amber eyes look up at me as if to say. “I’M NOT MOVING.” So, I leave her there and go about my morning rituals. At around 9:30 that morning, the vet calls to check on Olive’s progress and to report that the Giardia test came back negative. That’s a relief. Getting rid of Giardia is like trying to get rid of dandelions. By now, I have administered all three doses of medication to Olive and she actually seems to be feeling a little better. This sounds counter intuitive, but because a weimaraner’s energy level is always at 150 precent, when Olive’s not feeling well, it’s at about 120 percent, so it’s a little difficult to identify listlessness or lethargy. Today as I write this, I’m trying to keep Olive calm and relaxed. It seems to be working. Right now, she’s curled up in her sage-colored Orvis bed in my office and casually sniffing the dry heat being emitted from the electric baseboard heater. Once she gets up, she’ll do what she’s been doing for the last three days; staying so close to me while I’m walking that it’s as if she’s been sewn onto my pants leg. God, I love this dog.


  1. Poor Olive 😦 I hope she, your basement carpeting and your purse all recover quickly!

  2. I hope she feels better soon. So sad when they are sick and we can not make them better.

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