It has been quite a day. Where to begin.
Mia is almost a year old now and is currently crate trained (when I am not home, she is in her crate). Lately, I’ve been letting her sleep out of the crate each night. She curls up under my bed and there are no accidents. No chewing. No peeing. No pooping. So lately I’ve been wondering if the time has come to start weaning her off the crate. Ideally, I’d like to reach the point where I could leave her at home unattended and not worry about cords being chewed through or little brown tootsie rolls dropped all over the carpet. Ideally.
So yesterday, I decided to give Mia a little test. I had an appointment that would require me to leave for no more than two hours. So, I picked up everything off my floor, moved George’s cat food to a safe altitude, and cleaned George’s litter box just to be extra safe (to avoid Mia’s undesirable and absolutely disgusting tendency to go “treasure hunting” when my back is turned). I left two bones (count them: one, two) and the ultimate treat–a peanut butter filled Kong–to amuse and distract my little puppy for the entire duration of my absence. I left only concerned that she might empty her bowels all over my clean carpet. I was not expecting to come home to this:
That would be the pooper scooper I use to clean George’s litter box. Amendment: that’s what was left of George’s pooper scooper because Mia ATE THE REST. ATE it. Ate half a pooper scooper. Plastic. Ate it. Nary a trace of evidence except THE MISSING HALF OF THE POOPER SCOOPER. Meanwhile, the bones lay on the floor undisturbed.
A couple years ago, my family had a Great Dane that swallowed a pot holder (true story), and he died in surgery when they tried to go in and remove it from blocking his intestine. So, of course, I take this current situation seriously. I call the vet and she informs me to watch for vomit or unseemly happenings from the opposite end. She is very clear that vomit or other things are BAD and that if such symptoms occur, I am to bring Mia in immediately. I dutifully keep an eye on Mia all day, and by the time I go to sleep that night, my concern has dwindled. Everything is normal. In fact, I find the situation almost humorous as I go to sleep contentedly noting Mia’s mood hasn’t changed in the least. Until I wake up this morning to Mia throwing up plastic bits. Suddenly it isn’t funny anymore.
I call the vet at 7 AM and the lady behind the desk tells me the vet on duty isn’t in yet. I ask if I can book an 8 AM appointment, but the receptionist informs me if it were her dog, she would go ahead and bring Mia in for observation. So I do. I drop Mia off, leave my number, and am told I will be called with any news.
At 12:30, I grow concerned I haven’t heard any updates–good or bad–and call the vet to check up. It’s a different woman who answers the phone, and when I ask what the vet’s thoughts were on the condition of my pup, she puts me on hold. When she returns, she asks me:
“Is your dog supposed to see the vet, or was she only here for observation?
“Excuse me?” I’m confused. I relate the entire story, right down to the point where I brought Mia in at 7:30 AM.
“You’re not answering my question,” she says testily, “Does your dog need to see the doctor? Because the vet wanted to look at her this morning, but he was told she was only under observation for nausea or diarrhea, and that he was not to examine her.”
I look at my watch. My dog has been sitting at the vet for five hours with a pound of plastic slowly carving its way through her intestines and the vet has not examined her yet. As I blink back tears of anger and concern, the lady continues with a grating edge of annoyance,
“Does she need to see the doctor or do we just need to keep an eye on her?”
That’s right, lady, I dragged my butt out of bed at 7 in the morning so you could pet-sit. Let me shoot a question out into the void that is the internet: Why would I EVER pay the little money I earn to leave my dog, who has potentially swallowed a life threatening amount of foreign material, at the vet with no intention of her seeing the vet??! DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE?
The answer is glaringly obvious to me as I grip the phone; however, I have this really irritating tendency to bawl hot, wet, ragged tears when I’m angry. Totally waters down the whole “intimidatingly angry” thing. So as I’m choking back salty rage, I can only listen to the woman tell me that Mia is throwing up again, which is a very serious indication that her intestines may be blocked, and that she really needs to be examined by the vet.
“WELL, YEAH,” is the only genius, articulate answer I can howl through the tears. I can practically hear the woman roll her eyes at the crying, melodramatic princess on the line (me) as she apathetically hashes out some calming words and the promise to call with news. What she is unaware of is the fact that despite my weakling tears, I am plotting ways to reach through the phone and THROTTLE her with all the hot-blooded rage my Sicilian ancestry has afforded me.
To end a very long story that could go longer, Mia is going to be fine. I got special treatment with phone calls from the vet himself for the rest of the day (probably just because the receptionist didn’t want to deal with my hysterics), and Mia is currently sleeping soundly under my bed. I have to watch her for a few days, but with the help of some medical attention (finally), some pills, and a special diet (they’ve got me cooking chicken and rice, for goodness sake–suddenly I’m a personal chef), things are supposed to pass smoothly, if you know what I mean.
And thank goodness. Because even if I’m overly attached to my dog (entirely possible), she’s my dog, after all.
And she is definitely going to stay crate trained until further notice.