Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘vet trips’

For The Love of Dog

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/16/2012 at 11:16 pm

“Let me close my eyes first.”

As I sit here in front of my aging iMac, illuminated by the tungsten amber glow of the mission-styled desk lamp, Olive sleeps peacefully in her crate. She should be tired. After spending much of the early evening scooting her bottom along the grass at the dog park, she spent the past 40 minutes licking her rear end. Without interruption. It drove me insane. And it stank. So, I braved the inevitable and pulled on a fresh pair of vinyl gloves. You know. The kind that proctologists and gynecologists everywhere use. And I threw on a cheap windbreaker just in case. In the past, I tried expressing Olive’s anal glands from the exterior. This is how that bastion of unimpeachable and curated information otherwise known as Youtube, demonstrated how to do it. It didn’t work. Either because it’s the ineffective coward’s method or because Olive is backed up from here to the moon. She just had her anal glands expressed by the Vet about 10 days ago. At this time, the Vet inquires: “Would you like to learn how to do this yourself?” Instead of saying, “Well, it’s never actually been on my bucket list,” I hear a disembodied voice saying, “Okay.” She cautions me to stand back and I think, this is not inspiring confidence. She explains the following while I stare wide-eyed throughout her live demonstration: “The anal glands are almond shaped and pea-sized sacs that sit inside her rectum at about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock. Insert a gloved finger and using your index finger and thumb, press on them outward to expel the material.” Well, it doesn’t look like it’s that hard to do I think. And frankly, I don’t want to have to pay the Vet every 10 days to do this. So I saved myself a few bucks tonight. I took her into the bathroom downstairs with the easy-to-clean linoleum floor. I whip out a pair of vinyl gloves and go to work. At first, I’m rooting around inside like I’m looking for a black cat in the dark. I think I feel the sacs and I’m pressing but nothing…wait a minute…I just heard a squirt. Thank God it just dropped to the floor and didn’t shoot across the room! I am ecstatic with my success. I feel empowered. I am also reeling from the stench. Hopefully, I can express the other one before passing out. Hallelujah! Success again. I almost can’t believe it. Now, I just have to maneuver her out of the way so I can clean it up before she licks it or steps in it. I have never been so happy that I wanted to vomit.

The Indognity of It All

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 01/18/2012 at 7:47 pm

"Is that an electric RAZOR?"

What does the inside of a dog look like? It’s dark. Very, very dark. And by the looks of Olive’s abdominal ultrasound, like a snowy picture on a TV set. Really, it looks like what a blind person might see feeling their way around a dark room. It sure is clear why you have to be trained to read these things. Do you think that these are the same people who scour the beaches with metal detectors looking to find precious items? I guess ultrasounds are easier to read when there are no apparent serious issues, which thankfully is what Olive’s recent ultrasound revealed. There were no foreign objects although if you look very, very closely at one of the pictures, I think you might see the outline of a pheasant (just kidding.) Inflamed intestines, but nothing more. Not that that’s great, but it’s way better than many of the alternatives. I waited impatiently while my dog was being scanned like a bar code at the supermarket. I sat on the hard, cold, germ-resistant plastic chair waiting for my sweet little taupe pooch to re-appear. About two hours later, Olive is led back into the waiting area, straining on her temporary in-patient leash to get to me. The veterinary assistant hands her over to me and removes the communal leash as I place Olive’s collar around her neck and attach her worn leather training leash. Olive heads straight for the exit. “OH, C’MON OLIVE. IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN THAT BAD. AT LEAST IT WAS AN EXTERIOR ULTRASOUND.” She turns her head and looks back at me as if to say, “OH YEAH? YOU WEREN’T EVEN THERE. THEY SHAVED ME!” Oh the indignity (or is that indognity) of it all. I actually didn’t even notice this until much later that evening when Olive was laying on her side snoring peacefully, safely away from the electric razor. They didn’t shave much. They didn’t have to. The undersides of a weim might be characterized as miles of bright pink skin. It is almost exactly the color of the Eberhard Faber Pink Pearl erasers that kids in the early 60s used to have in school. It looks like they mowed the lawn on a high setting on one side of her abdomen. Now home, Olive, completely exhausted from today’s ordeal, gobbles down her new bland dinner of boiled pasta, chicken and cottage cheese. After licking the bottom and sides of the bowl, she turns to me, oblivious to the fact that tiny white boulders of cottage cheese sit perched atop her Mt. Rushmore-like brown nose. My heart grows about four times bigger when I see this. “OLIVE. COME OVER HERE SO I CAN KISS YOU UNTIL YOUR HEAD FLIES OFF.”

The Perils of Olive: The Sequel

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/08/2011 at 6:57 pm

"But what does it MEAN?"

If only I had had some tiny board game clue that the day before was only the beginning of a marathon that I didn’t recall signing up for. I awaken and squint my legally blind eyes to try to decipher the Buick-sized digital display on the clock. 7:08am. Thanks you idiot alarm clock. You have just one job to do and you’ve failed to do it. I check the alarm and it is indeed set for 6am. I guess it’s sleeping in today. I change out of my pajamas into clothes faster than Clark Kent turning into Superman. No shower needed as I took one just four hours ago. I grab Olive, run down the stairs, open the garage door and am confronted by torrential sheets of rain. It is worse than when Hurricane Irene came through. Olive looks at me. There is a giant question mark over her head. Simultaneously as this symbol symbolically appears, Olive takes a few steps backward. “ARE YOU INSANE? I’M NOT GOING OUT IN THIS.” she says. I look at her apologetically as I grab my pool blue umbrella and lead her outside. I watch the water pooling all over the front yard. The road in front of the house is already under four inches of water. So this is what they mean by “flash flooding,” I intuit. For once, Olive empties her biological waste tanks quickly as though someone whispered in her ear that there was a sale at Nordstrom’s she didn’t want to miss. I crate her, jump in my car and off I go accompanied by a persistent feeling of a fait accompli. “There’s no way I’m making this appointment today.” I think. “It’s only going to get worse as I travel East.” Sure enough, a short way ahead I see a line of cars trying to squeeze through the one lane tunnel that is choking on 6 inches of water. Eventually, I emerge from the tunnel only to be confronted by an endless unbroken line of angry red taillights. “SCREW THIS,” I pick up my iphone and call the Doctor’s office to re-schedule my appointment. I take the longer way home to avoid using my car as a hovercraft again. Within 10 minutes I’m back home. Olive is perplexed to see me return so quickly but she’s deliriously happy. All is well for about 11 and one half hours. At 8:30pm, we come back in after Olive’s mid-evening dump. I start to towel her off which is an event all in itself. She thinks it’s a game and starts tearing at the towel, making drying her off a fruitless exercise. As the orange and yellow striped towel whips around her head and face, I think I hear Olive start to barf. I quickly pull the towel back and…nothing. That was weird, I think. Until I lift the towel up and a mound of brown puke with mostly undigested food drops on my foot like shepherd’s pie with a distinct and memorable “SPLATZ.” As my brain begins to process this, Olive is still vomiting. I wait until she’s done and then I clean it all up and we go upstairs to watch TV from the couch. At 10pm, on the way to bed, Olive gives a command performance. There is now bitless brown vomit in the bedroom, my office and a small bile-like cluster in the hallway. All on the carpeting. As I give a command performance of my own, I thank God the carpeting has not been replaced yet. Could this be a reaction to the injections she received a day earlier? My guess is probably, but now I’m paranoid enough to sleep little throughout the night, eyeballing Olive next to me to make sure she’s ok. In the morning, I feed her breakfast and watch her closely. Sure enough, within two hours, up comes all her expensive organic dog food. “GUESS WHERE WE’RE GOING TODAY OLIVE? YUP. BACK TO THE VET.” As we wait in the vet’s office, I watch each owner and pet walk through the doors. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. Cat. “WTF,” I think, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IS TODAY CAT DAY?” Although Olive doesn’t feel herself, she’s still firing on most of her cylinders every time she sees a cat come through the door. After seeing the vet, we walk out one x-ray, one CBC test, four meds and about $400 less later. No bowel obstruction, thankfully. But wicked gas. Yes, gas. Apparently so much gas, the food couldn’t even squeeze past the foul vapors fermenting in her intestines. Olive is packing more methane gas than a cattle ranch. We go home and I’m so confused about the meds regimen that I feel like a Medicare patient. She gets one an hour before meals on an empty stomach. Another half tablet twice a day when the moon is full. And yet another full tablet once a day when a leprechaun knocks on the door. I actually draft a schedule otherwise I’d never get it right. It’s so detailed, it looks like a friggin’ bus schedule. And just for the record, I do screw up administering one of the pills on this day. “CHRIST OLIVE, YOU’VE GOT 4 MEDS TO TAKE. WHAT KIND OF ROTTING VERMIN DID YOU EAT TO CAUSE ALL THIS? I CAN’T IMAGINE IT WAS WORTH THE FEW SECONDS OF PLEASURE IT CREATED WHEN IT USED YOUR TONGUE AS A SLIDE.” I say this as I make a grand gesture toward Olive who cares only about the greasy little beefy pill pockets she’s about to inhale. Done. I think. I hope. Christ, I’m exhausted. And then the alarm clock goes off. At 7pm.

 

 

The Perils of Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 10/02/2011 at 7:47 pm

"AGAIN? What Now?"

Where do I even begin? The past three days have been nothing but chaos. Chaos executed with the imbecilic skill of the Marx Brothers. At 8:30 on Tuesday evening, I notice something odd on Olive’s back leg. “WHAT THE HELL?” I think. A cluster of raised bumps, about eight of them right above her “ankle.” I squint my astigmatic eyes and position them about a micron from the offending bumps. I find more running along the inside of her front legs and a few dotting her chest which are beginning to bloom. “HOLY SHIT.” My left brain senses that this is an allergic reaction of some kind. But of course, my irrational right hemisphere is conjuring up all sorts of insane possibilities. I call the Newton Veterinary Hospital who asks me if I “want” to bring her in. That’s like saying, “How much money do you feel like spending tonight?” We agree that if it gets worse and travels to her face and neck, then I have to bring her in because it could affect her breathing. I go back to watching TV, going over to check Olive about every 10 minutes. She is resting comfortably, all curled up on her brown faux suede “UFO,” the bean bag chair she booted me from and claimed as her own. At 10:30, I check on her and it’s clear that it’s only getting worse. Her chest is now covered with a ton of irregularly-shaped pink polka dots. And now there are four bumps on her head. I look at Olive and announce with barely controlled panic, “GET UP. WE’RE GOING FOR A RIDE.” And so the drama begins with a 40-minute ride at night, in the rain, on dark country roads with a driver who has trouble recognizing faces across the room. With her glasses on. In the light. I look in my rearview mirror at Olive sitting in the back seat and mutter, “CHRIST. I HOPE I DON’T KILL US BOTH OLIVE.” We pull up to the veterinary hospital and walk inside. Unlike human emergency centers, this one is empty, save just a mother and her 10 year-old son and their pug. Olive gets weighed and then a thermometer is unceremoniously inserted into her butt (never a dog’s favorite; actually never anyone’s favorite.) The Veterinarian inspects Olive and confirms that she has a moderate case of hives. We discuss what might have caused this. My best guess is that earlier in the day when I took her out to pee, she dragged me to the tree in the front yard, tracking some impressive scent and then dropped to all fours and began rubbing herself on it. (Which after talking to my next door neighbor later on, deduce that it was likely fox urine that she rubbed herself in.) I yanked her up right away but apparently the damage was done. I love when people dispense what they perceive as helpful advice such as “You shouldn’t let your dog do that.” Gee, thanks. That’s like saying, “When you see someone pull the trigger, duck.” Genius. Unfortunately, I’m not a psychic. If I could actually read the minds of dogs (never mind humans), I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I’d be taking a bath in a tub filled with gold. The Vet whisks Olive into the treatment area/emergency room, in which I’m not allowed, to give her two injections: steroids and Benedryl, or the canine equivalent of Benedryl. I hate when they do this. I wish I could be with Olive, but I suppose it’s for the best. About 10 minutes later, Olive prances out into the waiting room. She’s got a white cotton gauze bandage on her leg. I’m instructed to stick around for another 20-30 minutes to make sure she doesn’t have an allergic reaction (déjà vu) to the injections. It’s now about 11:30pm. We walk around checking out the store section and I get a soda. Olive is just happy to be with me and away from needles. She doesn’t have a reaction so I settle up the bill ($219) and we leave. Now I have to find a 24-hour drugstore that sells Benadryl so I can have this on hand in case the hives return. Oh, and when I get home, I have to give Olive a “warm, oatmeal bath.” Olive usually starts nodding out between 8:30 and 9pm, and its now almost 2am. She has more energy yet than I would have imagined. Bath done. Then I shower. Set my alarm for 6am to make a 9am Doctor appointment about 90 minutes away. To be continued…

Big Bad Wolf

In Uncategorized on 12/30/2010 at 4:18 am

On Tuesday morning, I, the Big Bad Wolf, took Olive to the vet to be spayed. She was fine until they removed her collar and leash and looped THEIR leash around her neck. That’s when she knew something was up. I was asked to complete a form that inquired as to whether I wanted the following procedures performed on Olive “while she was resting comfortably under anesthesia.” Clip nails? Oh yes, she still looks at me like I’m coming at her with a buzz saw when I attempt to do it. Clean ears? Ditto. She runs away from a Q-tip faster than a junk bond trader running from the Feds. EXPRESS ANAL GLANDS? (Is this a rhetorical question I think?) ABSOLUTELY. So, I sign on the dotted line and leave my beloved pooch in the hands of the doctor she adores. Still, I can’t focus on anything else all day long.

Dr. Cojocar calls at 11:40am to inform me that Olive came through the surgery beautifully and I’ll probably be able to pick her up later that day. I should call back after 2pm. (Funny, prior to today, he suggested I leave her there overnight. I wonder why… he’s changed his mind…) I call back at 2:15 and am essentially told that “She’s up and walking around and took a poop in her cage.” That’s my dog. Holds onto the last of her breakfast poop until between 2:00 and 3:00pm every day. Like clockwork. At least, this is one I can subtract from my “to do” list. “You can probably pick her up later today. Call after 5pm.” Now it becomes clear to me, there is a very good chance that my “BARKER” has been barking non-stop since she arrived there. I casually say, “Oh, has she been driving you crazy barking all day?” They say no, but I sense a lack of conviction behind this answer. I call at 5pm and am told that yes, indeed, I may come pick Olive up. I jump in my car and make the 10 minute trip, settle up the bill and await the return of my little grey ghost. “Is she a jumper?” one of the very young assistants asks me. “Olive is part Kangaroo,” is my reply. “Yes, she’s a jumper. Like a 45 pound jack rabbit bouncing off the walls in my house, why?” “Do you want a tranquilizer?” the assistant asks. “For me or the dog?” Just kidding. “Yes, give me the tranquilizer and I’ll use it only if I absolutely have to.”

They bring Olive out and to my surprise she is fairly frisky; more so than I imagined she would be. Her little cigar-like tail is wagging a mile a minute. I try to remain calm so she doesn’t get too excited and pop a stitch. At home, I put her in her crate with a handful of food which she devours instantly and a bit of water. She is calm but starts to “nose whistle” a bit, so I feel sorry for her, take her out and she lies on her round bed on the floor and goes to sleep with me sitting by her side. Little does she know that prior to going to bed, the dreaded “cone” fitting awaits her. A couple of hours later, I get her up to put her to bed, but first, I try getting the “Elizabethan Collar” on her. What a joke. An inverted lampshade that blocks her vision entirely; it’s like trying to squeeze a sausage through a thimble. Ugh. Forget it, she’s almost in a panic. Thank God, I bought the inflatable tube earlier (for just $34.99) that afternoon. With all my hot air, I’m still about to pass out from trying to inflate this thing. I thread her collar through it, strap it on her neck and fasten the velcro. Not so bad. She’s not loving it, but she’s not panicking. I put her in her create upstairs, close the door and she sits there looking at me like “WTF? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’M SUPPOSED TO SLEEP WITH THIS THING ON? I try to explain to her that I don’t need her disemboweling herself in the middle of the night, so yes, she will wear the tube. I get into bed and I hear her trying to get settled repeatedly smacking into the sides of the crate like a blind person looking for an exit door in an elevator.

She wakes up the next morning and is instantly relieved when I remove the inflatable tube. Anyway, by 2pm the next day, Olive is the same nutty pooch she was before her spaying; attempting to fly through the air like Superdog. Her period of being “tired” and “woozy,” lasted all of about a few hours. Got to give the dog props; she really hasn’t licked her incision at all either and is eating and pooping like a Champion once again. You can tell by all the little red flags in my yard. It looks like a miniature golf course. :>)

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