Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Little Switch

The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.  ~Robert Brault

Warning....this "first" one is gonna be kind of long. And no, that isn't what she said :)

Well, this blog has sat stagnant for quite some time, having no real direction to go. As the previous title stated..."The Pursuit of...Something..." was just that....something. There was no direction, no point. I sat pondering ideas and wondering if reading them would be even worthwhile. Just the life of another young married woman raising a child, going to college, working a full time job and trying to make ends meet. As unfortunate as it is to say...this has become somewhat the norm now-a-days - busy women...just trying to get by.
It wasn't until a recent, terrifying event that I realized I do have something interesting to write about - being the "mother" of two high maintenance puppies and one lucky cat.
Two days ago, I came home on break only to find my gym bag - no doubt opened via big wet dog nose - lying open on the floor and my vitamin bottles scattered halfway across the living room. Cranberry, Biotin...and the one that trumped them all...Vitamin D. Did you know that Vitamin D...especially in large doses, is potentially lethal to a dog? Well, it is.
Both dogs looked guilty, though Reiley (our yellow lab) usually never gets into as much as the canine tank, Mack (our golden retriever) does. Really...he'll eat anything that's not nailed down. So, to the vet I hauled them where they were both given a dose of peroxide to induce vomiting. Oddly enough...neither of them did. So for the low, reasonable price of thirty bucks which is only...oooh, about 15 to 20 bucks more than an actual bottle of peroxide....there was a whole lot of nothing. Next up was an injection to induce vomiting. This worked for Reiley and she was given the all clear. I knew this would happened. I expected the culprit to be Mack. What I didn't expect was the vet to come back in and tell me just how dangerous the situation really was. Fatal.
I wont get into the details but an active charcoal treatment, a sub Q treatment one blood draw later...he was given the all clear. He's at home now, on the mend and taking some prednisone to keep the levels of calcium and phosphorus down and level but either than that, he's great.

This is only one of the many stories that color my pet-owning life.

Mack is a rescue dog, picked up from the Otter Tail Humane Society at the age of 9 months...and with a history of kennel stays. To be for every month of his life. His owner had broke her back and had tried to remain his owner. As much as I admire the efforts, they were detrimental to the little Golden. He became an anxious, overweight, overeating mess. Renaming him Mack seemed only fitting as he was like a Mack truck. We've gotten him down from 135 lbs to 69 lbs with maintaining a careful diet though it gets difficult when he'll find other things to eat - our daughters fruit the wrapper, packets of garden seeds, his own feces (yes, I know...gross). There was even paint at one point which...surprisingly...didn't do any damage.

Reiley...she's another story all together. One that I'll visit and keep this blog moving with. She's a lab...and she has allergies and of course, we're not sure what to. We've tried different foods, different treatments and are now in the process of contemplating a scan that will narrow down the exact allergies that she has to form a serum she may have to take for the rest of her life. Add to that the recently diagnosed ear infection that stemmed from those allergies.

And then there's Beckette...the thousand dollar kitty. He's exactly what you would expect of a cat - When I found him at the James River Humane Society shortly after I had lost my cat Missy of 13 years to renal kidney failure, he was the last thing I wanted. Male and black. That sounded...horribly racist. But the paranoia over black cats being bad luck was in the back of my head and I had become so accustomed to having a female cat that I was looking for one. Preferably a tabby. Then up walks this slight, black little thing with huge ears and a monkey tail...and I was sold. Not even a week into having him and he broke his back leg.

We have no idea how it happened. I came home from work to find him limping around. The choice to help him was a difficult one. It was a severe break - both bones. The choices were a surgery that was over $1000.00, amputation for $500.00, or...euthinization for $70.00. I ruled out euthinzation before the vet had even gotten the full word out of his mouth. Someone had given up on him already. I wasn't going to be the next person to do so. So we went with amputation. Prior to starting the surgery, the vet called to tell me he wanted to try to save the leg and would work with me to set up payments. It was insanity. It was like being given a credit card with low payments. How do you say no? He's laying beside me now, all four legs intact and, despite the surgery at such a young age that they warned me might stunt his growth...he's 13 lbs and skinny. He's a monster of a cat! But so lovable that all I can think was worth it.

This is my all-over-the-place way of introducing what will be this blog. Because, while I was sitting there in the room waiting, agonizing over the cost, agonizing over the danger my puppy was in and thinking about how I had failed both of my dogs as a pet owner...I came to the conclusion that I didn't have to be. I loved my pets, I just needed to make more of an effort with them. Reiley's issues would be more under control if I would take more control of treating them, Mack would be less anxious if I gave him much more affection than I do, Beckette...well...I used to sit in front of my computer with him sprawled in my lap, absentmindedly petting him. Now...I can't remember the last time we sat like that post-Sammy (our 2 and a half year old daughter.) And what better way to ensure that I do these things and see if they make as much as an impact as I feel they will...than blogging about it. :)

So now you know the history. It was long...I know. But I gave this blog purpose...I gave myself purpose. Give the animals I've taken into my home as much as they give me, as selflessly as they've given it to me.