Dog Days and Drama
I do sometimes ask myself why we as a family appear to lead a life spiked with drama, albeit often on a mundane household level. Take, for example, Drama Queen No.2 who didn’t just loose her highly expensive school hat, but had it eaten by a seal (Catrionaling.blogspot.com/2009/09/seal-ate-my-hat.html for full account).
I can attribute some of the constant drama to maternal slackness and absentmindedness—speaking of which, where did I put those birch twigs so handy for whipping oneself with? If you are generally late and unprepared for events it does tend to lead to a life veering toward the dramatic and exciting. However, there are some events that even in my desire to hog the guilt light, I have to hold up my hand and disclaim responsibility. The fact that two out of the three Drama Queens have had appendixes that have burst in somewhat spectacular style is probably down to a combination of bad luck and explosive genes on both sides of the family, though occasionally I do wonder if a steady diet of burnt offerings was a contributing factor.
Yesterday, in a classic example of the domestic drama that stalks us, Husband and I set off for early morning walk with the dog along the Spit, a local harbourside walk. It was a fabulous morning, we were clasping take-out coffees from the yacht club and all felt very right with the world, which should have been an indication in itself that it was all about to go pear-shaped—and it did. The dog gave an almighty start and jumped in the air before licking a front paw in a frenzy. Pluto is not a calm dog (surprise, surprise) so this didn’t worry us unduly. He then recovered himself and bolted off in his usual insane, canine fashion. However a minute later he was vomiting copiously and staggering round in circles and it was obvious we were into new territory on the pet emergency front. I carried him back to the car and we did an ambulance-style dash to our vet who had fortuitously arrived half an hour early for the Saturday shift. Pluto had difficulty breathing during the ten-minute drive to the vet, and I did consider how on Earth to do CPR on a dog; mouth-to-mouth takes on a new dimension when black fur and dog saliva is involved. Both Husband and I also later admitted that we had been cravenly thinking of how on Earth we were going to tell the Drama Queens that we had taken the dog on a walk and killed it.
Based on a country friend’s experience with her dog, I was dramatically gasping “Snakebite” as I staggered into the vet’s clutching my limp and incontinent bundle. In actual fact, it turned out to be the much smaller, but almost as deadly in Pluto’s case, bee sting.
Running true to form, we’ve got that rare beast, the dog that goes into severe anaphylactic shock with a bee sting. The vet was fantastic and had him on a drip in seconds and peppered with injections. Thank God though for pet insurance as resurrecting a dog from near-death extremis doesn’t come cheap.
The dog came home at the end of the day, a very sad and subdued creature. The vet had suggested tempting his appetite with barbequed chicken (I kid you not), and after toying with slivers of lightly grilled chook fed to him by his devoted handmaidens, he collapsed in a heap for the night. I found myself back in the new baby syndrome where you spend your whole time waking them up to check they are still breathing.
Happily, morning dawned with a dog nearly restored to full bounce, and given the all clear by vet with warnings to avoid bees in the future. In the meantime, I am left a shattered wreck of a pet owner pondering a future of canine EpiPens in my handbag.