Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 3, 2004
A Sick Puppy
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 3, 2004 – I had a long, exhausting day today. I picked up my first clients at nine-thirty in the morning. I was back home for an hour between three an four and then gone again until one o’clock in the morning. When I opened the back door to the kitchen, I could see Augie standing in the downstairs hallway.
He’s usually fast asleep in his bed in the second floor den, so I was quite surprised. He was shaking badly and incredibly distressed that he’d used the kitchen floor as his bathroom parade ground and then thrown up his dinner on the hall floor
It didn’t take me long to realize that he was extremely sick. Dogs dehydrate very quickly when they’re ill and my first order of business was to get a few mouthfuls of luke warm water into his mouth. We then went out to the back lane for a walkabout (not a royal one) but an essential one nonetheless. Safely back inside, I brought Augie’s bed down to the front hall so he could lie down. Then it was out to the kitchen to use a much-needed disinfectant as I cleaned up. This is a time when a bit of ‘green apple’ air freshener goes a long way towards setting things straight.
Augie was clearly in a lot of discomfort. He moaned softly when I touched his tummy. He was at the back door again in short order for another round of walkies. I was up with him for most of the night – stroking his face and ears and reassuring him that he was a good boy. He took a few more half-hearted laps of water and then stretched out in his bed. By five-thirty in the morning I finally got a couple of hours sleep. He was sick all the next day with repeat east-west discharges. A call to Augie’s vet yielded the advice – “Watch him for the rest of the day and if he’s not back to normal then bring him in for a visit”.
Animals are so stoic and uncomplaining. They need to be quiet to get better but they like you to be nearby so they can see you. A lot like us humans when we’re feeling unwell. It’s very frustrating to see a pet so sick – a dog can’t tell us where it hurts – so we’re left trying to decipher the apologetic look in its eyes.
By Day 2 – I was sprinkling some bland crackers with water and feeding Augie a few crumbs at a time. He graduated to cooked rice and sips of water from a turkey baster. He found that great fun and left to his own devices, I’m sure my next turkey would need a new baster. I’ve just finished round three of rice and crackers. Augie’s eyes have regained a bit of their usual sparkle and he just gave his little brother a withering look when Ziggy batted him on the snout. By tomorrow, I’ll mix a bit of his usual food with some rice and by Sunday, barring any relapses, he’ll be fine again.
The next time one of your pets has an accident in the house – don’t punish them. They didn’t plan it to annoy you, they probably aren’t feeling well. Instead, think about how you like to be treated when you’re sick, and as their caregiver, shower them with kindness and attention. We’re lucky to be loved unconditionally by our pets, so care for them as you like to be cared for when you’re ill. There is a ledger and St. Peter will notice, and be sure to comment, when he decides which direction you’re headed at The Pearly Gates!