Listen, I was managing this menagerie as well as could be expected. Or, at least like an inexpensive doggie daycare might. No one learning new things or even listening to anything, yet, fed, loved, played with and, most importantly, still alive.
But now? Well, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Yeah, I believe I’ve bit off more than I can chew. And considering we have three dogs and one cat, you may actually be like, “Duh!” But, can I tell you I only see adorable faces and fur and my feelings when I encounter any animal?? Especially one in need. Common sense never enters the picture, so here we are.
Yep. After seven years of adoptions, this latest crew has me whipped. Literally. Take our boxer, Penelope Pearl (aka, Nell/Nell Bell/Nellers/Nelly/Smelly), who got an eye ulcer in August. Her second in a year, actually. And this condition not only requires laser repair from an animal eye specialist (have you ever??) but also lots of money. On another note, if you’re looking into vet school, specialize in eye care. This is definitely where the money’s at. You’re welcome!
Except, that’s not all. There are also meds to purchase that assist in healing and the dreaded cone of shame worn to avoid reinjury, which not only involves additional cleaning responsibilities, especially for a sloppy boxer, but also extra time in leading and direction, since she can’t seem to navigate around with that thing on. Mind you, this Beauty already doesn’t see very well, can barely hear, and well, let’s just say has always been one fry short of a Happy Meal, so…
Moving on to a morning about two weeks into her eye treatments, when we woke up to her panting terribly (a sign of pain), unable to walk, and laying in her own pee! She literally needed to be carried anywhere, including to do her business outside, then later into the vet’s office, who thankfully, was able to see her that afternoon. And to our amazement (since history around here has had us receiving bad news at times like these) the doc told us she likely had a simple knee injury which would either heal on its own or require surgery. We were sent home with more meds, and dutifully supported her every move, while hoping hard for healing.
But, just as she began to heal, her bladder seemed to be leaking more than usual. Did I mention she’s been on meds for incontinence for the past few years?? It’s true. But this was different than that. It was way worse, actually. And I kept having to clean up after her more and more, with larger soaked spots on rugs and bedding and me wanting to pull my hair out. Instead of going hairless, though, I opted for some discreet female panties. Not for me, mind you. They were for her. Though, I fear I’m not far behind, but that’s neither here nor there.
And then, as if all this wasn’t enough, the O.G. of the group, Rue (aka, Goo/GooGoo/BooBoo/Ruben/The Cutest…) decided to dig up, and consume, the discarded, yet deeply buried, contents of our smoker’s drip pan, plus any dirt or debris attached to said drippings, one pleasant Saturday afternoon. This was not her first time doing this, either. However, this was the first time her body decided to reject all of it and more, out of both sides, over the course of a night and a following day. All over her crate and also over general places both outside and in, in fact. And, for the record, I was only first alerted to any problem at all, after waking up from a dead sleep to a smell that nearly killed me right where I lay. After gasping for my breath and quickly whisking her outside, along with all the contents of that crate… well, I can’t honestly tell you what happened exactly because I honestly can’t remember. It’s likely I’ve blocked it out in some act of self-preservation. Who really knows?
What I can tell you is that I recall, very vividly in fact, the following day. Although there’s something to note before I continue. So, this sweet Goo of ours is prone to high drama, barking fits, screaming (kid you not!), acting as if you’re guilty of attempted murder when you dare touch her in a way she’s not feeling at the moment, plus general bratty behavior, in addition to a few other genetic sensitivities. One being this odd condition where she often seizes up and/or faints when she vomits. And, as you might imagine, I handle these poorly. Or, really, not at all. Fortunately I have my hubs.
So, the morning came and we were all outside trying to eliminate everything for good when she began to vomit. But I’m right there, hovering over her like a good momma would, rubbing her back and whispering lovies, because it’s all so pathetic. But then she starts to seize up, then faint, then fall right into a pile of her own poo from the night before. And I jump right into action, immediately screaming for the hubs to “HELP! HELP!! COME QUICK… SAVE HER, BABE!!!… [because] CAN’T YOU SEE SHE’S FALLEN IN HER OWN POO AND IS CHOKING AND CAN’T BREATHE?!?! DON’T JUST STAND THERE. DO SOMETHING! NOW!”
And he does. Thankfully! And again, this is where I add that it’s a good thing we both have him… Rue and I, because no one wants me around in a crises! And, fortunately, for us all, that sickness passed quickly and Rue seemed no worse for the wear. I, however, am left weary, yet still secure in my position of last place in emergency response reactions. And Nell’s knee also seemed to be healing nicely, leaving us pretty excited and thankful we saved some money on a surgery. And just when we think the worst is behind us, a few mornings later Nell wakes up drinking water like she’d just returned from a week in the desert. So, back to the vet we run to inspect, then await blood work, then hope (yet, again) for a best case scenario! Which we thankfully received a few days later when doc tells us it’s *only* some type of diabetes, requiring some more meds and some more time to work. Oh, and some more money.
But by this point, we’d already graduated her to actual dog diapers after cleaning up far too many soggy or plain soaked through and falling apart, adult diapers. (Which, note to you, fall apart when soaked through because you had to cut out a hole in for a tail and they’re not meant for that.) So yeah, we’d fully leaned into our new reality so much so, in fact, that we’d (and by we, I mean me) actually purchased whimsy and washable, colored fabric doggie diapers. And yes, you have heard this right. I am now changing my boxer’s diapers and/or washing the cloth ones like a good dog mom/planet loving human should. And sometimes I’m even changing poopy ones because I’ll let her out, forgetting she’s wearing a diaper at all.
Don’t even ask.
Anywho, on to the crazy, wild-haired, fur girl, named Chloe (aka, Chlo/Chlo Chlo/The French Grinch) who has one of the worst cases of separation/storm anxiety I’ve ever seen and how, normal reality around here is a lame attempt at a sound proof crate (it’s wedged in between luggage, golf clubs, clothes and pillows) in our master closet for general storms, meds for crazier ones, dog calming YouTube channels when we leave, and sneaking outside with the garage door closed any time you absolutely have to leave, because she’s a runner. And don’t even think about trying to get back in if you forget something. Chances are she’ll be right at the door ready to snake past you, running wide open, like she’s trying to break some land speed record. Once, I even got an ear full from her random rescuer on the main road about how, “this kinda dog needs a collar!” Nevermind she’d decided to run that particular day just as we were trying to rush gas to our stranded son. (Another story for another day, maybe.) We’ve since purchased a dog gate to block her out of the kitchen but Goo destroyed it. (see video at end)
One time she even got out of our backyard fence without us knowing while we were back there with her! I kept hearing my neighbors all yelling something about “who’s dog?!” so I went to help. I remember looking down the road and seeing her with them all, then thinking that she looked an awful lot like Chloe, but that it had to be our neighbor’s dog who looks similar. Then I realized it may actually be her, when that neighbor came out with her actual dog right beside her. In my defense, we hadn’t had her all that long. So, I called her name just in case, and she came a runnin’.
Because on most occasions we have to run after her. On a few, it’s thankfully been our boys’ job to chase, since they happened to be the witness present. Unfortunately, on another occasion, the rescue fell to a newish friend who was over for the evening during a storm. Apparently he’d gone out to his car to grab something and she’d took her cue to bolt. None of us had any idea. All of a sudden he just appeared at the kitchen door, soaked to the bone and carrying what looked to be a drowned, starving (she’s extremely thin under all that hair), homeless hound. I wanted to crawl under a rock. I couldn’t believe he’d just subjected himself to that type of torture. Saving someone’s dog in a storm seems beyond the call of duty, but that’s just him.
Anyway, there are more examples sadly, but this last time feels like a last straw. We were off to meet those same friends (Yeah, they stuck around somehow) and Chloe simply decided she would not be left behind. I’m thinking it was something about living through the storms of late, because even the most basic ones have left more puddles and poos than I’d care to admit. And I don’t really know why she decided she couldn’t stay home without us that day, but she did. How do I know? Well she, quite literally, snuck out silently behind my back [read: without detection, right under my nose] when I opened the door to grab something from the garage. We weren’t even leaving yet! And I only even knew she’d run when I saw something like a puff of smoke fly past my mailbox out of the corner of my eye.
So I wearily told the hubs and we collectively sighed. Then I went to get on my bike to chase her, but he told me he’d do it and took off on my bike instead. Now this man has stopped traffic for her before. He’s also injured himself trying to snatch her from the jaws of death. He’s her hero, really, and ten minutes later, he’s riding back home from the street next to ours with her in my bike basket. She looked very proud of herself.
We, however, were not. And we’re still trying to figure out how to stop this habit. And also what to do when she wakes us up in the middle of the night literally screaming because she feels a storm coming.
Which brings us to cat. His name was Patrick when we met him and it seemed perfect for many reasons, so we kept it, and added to it. St. Patrick O’Brien Fincannon the First, actually. (aka, Catrick/Mr. Pitterson/Pitters/Pits/Broseph/Bro) And cat, so far, is only guilty of generally thuggish cat things. Like loads of naughty, curious, rotten kitty-cat things. Like terrorizing Chloe, because she’s such a Chicken Little. Like peeing in showers and sometimes doing others things in them, too. Like chewing toothbrushes and opening cabinets and letting himself into rooms. Like knocking things over and eating plants and thinking all food is his and jumping everywhere he shouldn’t and putting his massive, Hemingway paws all over my face to wake me up and licking my hair in the middle of the night or trying to suffocate me in my sleep in the middle of every. single. night.
But other than all that, he’s good. So far.
And we’re still waiting for what seems like ages for Nell’s meds to work, so she’s still in diapers full time.
And Goo woke up last Monday morning with a hard lump on her rump. Like right next to her unmentionable. And I called the vet immediately, but she couldn’t be seen for a couple days. Then, on the day of her appointment, we wake up to what can only be described as a boil, resembling a red, hot fireball, though I’d say it was larger, flaring and angry on her rump. I’ll spare you the pic and also the description of what happened next. Suffice to say it did what boils do and I handled that about as well as you think, too. Bottom line: she’s had a steroid shot, is now on a two week course of antibiotics, and needs cream applied to the “affected area” twice/day.
Oh, how fun it all is.
And, oh yeah, she’s also in diapers now because things are oozing.
And she also had tummy issues again after the first night on meds. And of course I didn’t realize it until it was too late. And I’ll allow you to imagine what happened next, while adding only that there was bathing involved for two of us girls that night. Why for me, you might wonder? Well, while removing bedding from her crate and the dirty diaper off her bum, my leg and shirt and hands had the sheer audacity to get in the way.
I don’t get paid enough for this.