Archive for January, 2009

Little Red Riding Hound

January 28, 2009

But grandma…

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what big teeth I have.

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The beautiful thing about this hoodie is that this is the first item of clothing that Stella actually will wear. Added bonus: if she’s wearing it, she can’t shed all over the couch.

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A Stitch In Time Costs Two Eighty Nine

January 21, 2009

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It all started out when Stella got a big chase on with a small black dog yesterday. When she was done, she was mellowing out a top a hill with another dog. The little black dog, however, wanted more. We believe his way of communicating this was to nip her in the leg. We heard a very quick yelp but nothing too dramatic. A few minutes later we saw she was bitten.

So we left the park, Stella limping and bleeding. It was hard to tell exactly how bad it was. It looked kind of deep and wide. When in doubt, I figured, call Poopie.

Poopie is a good friend and a vet tech extraordinaire. She was off work and was gracious enough to take a look at Stella. It took Poopie about twelve seconds to declare that Stella needed a stitch. “Can we do it later–tomorrrow maybe? Next week?” I asked.

Poopie then talked to us about the Six Hour Golden Period. This is the amount of time you have before the wound starts to do things on its own that would make stitching it just a bit harder. Stitch during the Golden Period and you’re stitching nice fresh edges. Nice fresh edges. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!

So off we go to the ER. I’m not too concerned as Stella seems not to be too concerned. I’ve got a few numbers in my brain though: $250. Can we get out for under $250. And two hours. Can we get out in under two hours.

Fortunately, we get seen by a vet relatively quickly–within a half hour. We are given options. And we are again told of the Golden Period. Speaking of Golden, we are given the Gold Cadillac treatment option. This option includes sedation so the vet can clip a piece of deadish skin, flush, clean, staple. This option includes an IV set-up in case she goes into some sort of cardiac arrest–the vet can get to a vein quickly. This option costs $500.

I’m not poor. I’m not rich. I’m average. I’m like most people: I’m worth a lot less today than I was a year ago. And as festive as Obamamania was yesterday, the market could have cared less. Like three hundred points less. But mostly, truly, more than the fact that this Gold Cadillac option was double the amount jingling in my brain on the ride over, was the fact that I simply did not want to put my dog through all this sedation/iv drama for what the vet herself described a “pretty minor” wound.

The vet let P. and I talk amongst ourselves. One option was to do nothing. She’d already cleaned the wound out, just go home with some antibiotics and keep an eye on it. That was the $200 option–yup, we’d already spent $200 by being seen and having the thing cleaned.

I called Poopie again. She pushed for us to ask for a local shot where she would then clip the wound and staple her up. The vet had not suggested that–she felt that she needed sedation for that–but sure enough, when the vet re-entered, we asked and she said sure. That option would cost $20 for local. Muuuuuch better.

Two hours, four staples, a cone, some Clavamox and $289 later we were out the door.

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Stella has already enjoyed a couple benefits from the injury: 1. She gets a big fat antibiotic cheese ball twice a day and 2. She can’t be crated with the cone so she got to sleep perched atop P’s high bed, Mt. Bedrest.

I’ve yet to consider the benefits we’ve derived from this injury except to say that this isn’t so bad. It’s nothing real serious, nothing real complicated and nothing a few days of leash walking versus taking her to the park can’t cure.

2/2/09: Update! Stella is cone and staple free and the wound looks, well, it doesn’t. It’s gone! The owner of the other dog, in a totally stand-up move, connected with me and sent a check for, drumroll…$289.

BFF’s

January 12, 2009

Coming into this whole situation as a dog virgin, one of the most interesting things I’ve observed is that dogs really and truly have friends. It’s not a questionable theory. It’s not a hunch. It’s not a guess.

When a dog has a friend it’s as obvious as the nose on the face and the tail wagging happily off the rear. And once they’re friends, things really don’t change. It could be months and months without a meeting and then, BAM, it’s happy hour once again. The bond endures.

Stella has a number of good friends. As long as it’s off leash and there’s a hundred acre park, she’s fun at a party. Over time, if we begin to go to a place regularly Stella becomes well known and mostly well liked.

Friends can fall into different categories. There are acquaintances she knows but doesn’t hang with. There are good friends that she greets wholeheartedly but doesn’t play with (they’re not suitably matched in age or skill.) And there are other good friends that she does play with.

I personally was never was a believer in “best friends.” I’ve always thought that friends are different and there’s no one “best.” It all seemed pretty grammar school to me to have a best friend. Even when I was in grammar school it felt very grammar school.

But Stella believes otherwise and seems to have found herself a BFF in the form of a petite brown and white parti poodle. You could say “liver treats”, “let’s go for a thousand mile run in the park” or “dinner!!!” and you get zero reaction from Ms. Stella. But just say her BFF’s name, “Mia” and Stella’s face lights up like she’d just landed in a butcher shop with no butcher in sight.

Even more interesting is the relationship you develop with your BFF’s owner. I’ve been told it’s a lot like kids: you hope and pray that the parents’ of your kid’s BFF are people you like to hang out with. Otherwise you’re stuck with them, much like the classic horrible in-laws. Fortunately, Stella chose wisely and I ended up scoring right along with her.

This week we learned that Mia has Addison’s disease. And while it’s completely treatable it’s been an awful week of testing, more testing, injections, fluids and waiting and seeing. Mia, petitie to begin with, lost three pounds in five days. So we wait and see and hope she turns the corner.

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1/22/09: Update! Mia has improved dramatically and is nearly 100% back to her bouncy poodle self. This road was rocky, however, so she’ll continue to be monitored for the next few months until things are definitely stable.