December 06, 2014

Hair raising puppy raising.

Say hello to Lucy*, our almost 5 month old pup. She's a sweet, sweet gal and this week she taught me a little more about attentiveness.

Last Wednesday she was spayed and spent the night at the vet. When we went to pick her up we met with a new vet at the clinic who advised us to keep her quiet for the next two weeks. My response was visceral. As a thought bubble it read: Whaaaat? Are you kidding me? Do you know any terrier mix pups who are QUIET? She plays Attack the German Shepherd several times a day at home. 

The words from my mouth were a bit more exploratory and gracious: And how would you go about that? Shall we keep her in her crate? She's really good at running and playing most of the time. 

He went on to explain that she'd had major abdominal surgery and that healing comes through rest. Ah, that. I totally get it. I just haven't mastered the art of communicating that meaningfully to my pup. (Or any other pup I've owned.)

He provided a mild sedative. We brought her home and settled in for some attentive days. She was clearly in pain (even with pain meds) and didn't really wish to be more than a couple of inches from me or my Dear for most of her first day. In fact after trying to relieve pain by walking around, she finally settled in by falling asleep on her daddy's chest. Dads are awfully good for getting dogs and kids through a lot of what they go through. She's smart enough to have seen my girlie bury her head in her dad's big love. She followed along perfectly.

We had a shaky day or two, stopping her from attacking or responding to play advances from our 92 pound Max and attending to her whines in the night. We seemed to be managing. (Here's where it turns to a cautionary tale.)

This morning she was feeling much better, ready to romp in fact, so, after breakfast and her pain pill, we were working at laying low by hanging out in the kitchen. Quietly. Doors closed. Lights low. KUSC on the radio. Coffee brewing. Art beginning. When all of a sudden I heard a click. Something had fallen to the floor. I turned to see I'd absent-mindedly left the door open to the laundry room. (It was 5:45 am pre-java.) Lucy had found and dragged a liquid ant trap into the kitchen. Using my not-quiet-and-calm voice, I got my Dear to work calling poison control while I cleaned out her mouth, cleaned up the ribbon of dripping syrup and dead ants from the laundry room and kitchen and continued, panicking mildly. (After all that managing to keep the girl quiet, not jumping, stretching or licking -- I'd left the stupid door open.)

We started with a national Poison control number - they we fairly reassuring that the contents of the ant traps aren't a big danger to dogs. Then we contacted our local emergency vet who directed us to call ASPCA Poison Control - a much better place to call for pups than human poison control. After a thorough line of questions, we found she'll likely be fine. It turns out, these ant traps are made with some kind of sugar syrup and borax. Not so good for ants - deadly in fact, but less troublesome for pups. They provided a clear protocol and suggested keeping an eye on her. So far, so good. We also followed up with her vet when they opened and they concurred with the plan.

I think I learned a lesson - close the door. Or, maybe it's keep everything up off the floor when you have a puppy. Perhaps, just keep a watchful eye on the little ones. I suppose that makes the most sense. 

A last thought may be though, these wild creatures we love to share our lives with will keep us on our toes, upping our game at being attentive to the world around us. 

That's a good thing. 
I can do that. 

I can also keep the number for ASPCA Poison Control close at hand.

You can find it here. They're self funded and charge to do thorough casework. It's worth every penny.  


* Lucy is an American Sockhunter Terrier. Many ask if she's a mix, a mini-Golden Lab even part Chihuahua. But no, she demonstrates all the classic characteristics of the Sockhunter breed, finding, retrieving and perforating as many as 20 socks in a day.  

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