What do you do with a pup that’s on a mission to kill himself?
For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been dealing with my Spunkums and his penchant for foreign objects, and short of an intervention for both of us, he’ll either be dead before his fifth birthday, or I’ll be in Betty Ford, assuming I can still afford it.
On two separate occasions, he’s swallowed something. The first in mid-July landed him overnight at my local vet clinic, with rehydration, meds, x-rays including a barium series, and there went my bathroom remodel when I handed over my credit card for the bill.
The second occasion was last Sunday when his condition landed us in emergency with the vet telling me “endoscopy”. The following Monday, no endoscopy but an ultrasound yielded something, “passing through”. No surgery necessary, said the specialist, but my kitchen island looks like a pharmacy counter. After this latest session, I’m thinking of offering myself as a poster child to my pet insurance company, since I definitely need to find a second line income.
Since Spunky first came into my life in March 2008, I’ve discovered the necessity for eyes around my head, hence the name Spunky 360; if you can’t see him, he’s into something. Unlike my other three pups, who exist to eat, sleep, play ball, and chase squirrels, Spunky’s modus operandi has been to find as many different ways to explore the house and yard, to see how many things he can put into his mouth.
Just when you think you’ve successfully blocked off a passageway, you discover him on the other side. When you think you’ve vacuumed the floor getting into every corner, under every piece of furniture, you’re next taking something out of Spunky’s mouth. He is relentless when he’s found something he wants, and will stop at nothing until he gets it. Hence, the potato bin is not safe, the ribbon on a silk lampshade has bit the dust, I don’t need to use the zipper to open the casing on my sofa pillow, and I don’t think my hostas will be coming back any time soon.
In talking with his breeder, she has urged me to crate him at night and when I go out, and to block off a specific section of the house so I can watch him constantly. I’ve taken her advice about the crating, and lately he’s been within eyesight. Right now, he’s standing upright in my lap looking pitiful, unable to get comfortable, prompting me to determine if another visit is warranted to the clinic that will shortly hold the mortgage to my house.
So this Labor Day, has found me once again laboring in thought. I look at the people walking their dogs ever so peacefully in my neighborhood and think, now there goes a dog that probably sees a vet once a year for its wellness exam and vaccine booster. And here am I, a self-contained rescue. I once asked my vet, why do I always end up with the four-legged problem children? “Because”, she said, “God knows you’ll take care of them.”
So as I channel both St. Francis of Assisi and Cesar Milan, I’m off for a walk with Spunky. Then back to deal with Chipper’s cornea ulcer, Czarina’ IBD flareup and Olympia’s myriad of dysplasias and allergies.
For the unconditional love of dogs.