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Monday, April 26, 2004

A distraction from distractions
...or...My Camel Dog

We will return you to our Distractions series very soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this tale of wussiness from our editor, Otis.

I'm going to be one of those dads. I hate those dads.

You know the one. The one that freaks out when his baby coughs weird. He runs her to the emergency room for a TB test. After all, that four-year-old gorilla at the National Zoo in Washington might have TB. Bitsy might have it, too. Lord, oh, lord, save my child!

Damn it.

I hate those guys.

I woke up yesterday morning to a dog that didn't want to eat. She didn't want to move. I figured she was just being lazy and picky. Then she wouldn't eat her treats. Or peanut butter. Or drink milk. Then her stomach started making noices like her insides were ripping apart.

I tried not to lose my marbles. I really did. I put the groceries away. I tooled around the house. Then I heard the noises from a distance. She looked miserable.

So, I did what I always do when something worries me. I started Googling.

Now, the problem with Googling when you're dealing with an animal crisis (and I've learned the same thing is a problem in the area of pregnant women) is that the biggest body of "knowledge" (a term I use way loosely) comes in the form of message board postings. That's where freaked out pet owners and pregnant women go to tell their tales of woe and horror. Nevermind that none of them know much about what they're talking about or that they are almost by definition statistical anomolies.

It's right there in print. It has to be true, right?

So, within about five minutes of searching I had determined that Scoop the Therapy Mutt was on her deathbed. The gurgling in her stomach was undoubtedly the result of twisted intestines, or worse yet, a life threatening condition called The Bloat.

Five minutes of frantic searching through Switchboard.com later, I found the number for the emergency vet in town, put Scoop in Emilio and headed across town.

The fact that Scoop assumed her position as Navigator (front paws on the center console, nose pointed toward our destination) should've been a pretty good indication to me that she was actually doing okay. But I still heard the frightening gurgling and squealing from her stomach and her eyes looked odd.

Fifteen minutes later I was standing in a very nice, almost pristine Emergency Vet's office. I learned soon that they were able to afford such a nice office by charging a small fortune per visit (but, you're paying for the peace of mind, right?). By this time, I had assumed the role of Way Too Freaked Out Guy. I filled out the admission papers, listing Scoop as a neutered male dog. She is, in fact, a prissy girl without a uterus.

Teni minutes later, the understanding vet tech and and equally comforting vet assured me that while Scoop had a slight fever, the intestine wrap and ultra-frightening Bloat usually happened in bigger dogs. More than likely, Scoop got into something or just had tummy ache. That's about the time I realized that I'm going to be one of those dads.

They injected Scoop with some Pepcid and something called Reglan (sp?), and put her on a saline drip to keep her hydrated while she rested off the illness. Funny thing...when they inject dogs with fluids, they shoot them up in the back. Scoop looked like a camel for a few hours.

Back home with a can of bland, stinky dog food, Scoop decided to eat a little bit then go to sleep. This morning, she was acting a little better. She ate more of the bland, stinky dog food.


My wife (oddly, the voice of reason in matters pertaining to the dog's physical health) has been reassuring me for hours that Scoop is okay. However, she insists my over-concern is a good indicator of being a good father. She watched me check on Scoop every ten minutes, hand-feed her the bland, stinky food, and pick through her droppings to make sure everything looked okay.

She said I'm going to be a good dad.

Me, I think I'm on my way to be one of those dads.

So, let the ridicule begin now. If you need me, I'll be in the Emergency Room for the next 18 years.


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