Thursday, April 15, 2010
It was on Sunday when the trouble began when I happened to notice that a cedar plank that we had cooked salmon on, on the grill a night or two ago, was no longer by the grill but had been relocated to the grass in the front yard. I didn't think of that as too big of a deal at the time as our yellow Lab, Memphis, is a constant relocator of all things not tied down and within her reach. Then later, it became evident that something was not right in Jack's world. Jack was not doing his usual begging for food from our outdoor brunch, but he was instead chomping down globs of grass, tail lowered, and was quite focused and oblivious to anything else.
Jack, for the unintroduced, is our Australian terrorist, a dog of herculean prowess at eating anything and whose ability in this area was previously written about in another of my blog entries on Nov. 18th. Jack's appetite and approach to attacking his food, of wide and varied types, anything really, has become legendary at the vet clinic. So his eating grass and ignoring the possiblilty of real food handouts in his vacinity was out of the ordinary to say the least. Why dogs eat grass anyway is a chicken and the egg question, as to which comes first, the sour stomach, eat grass, and throw up or, grass, and then sour stomach then throw up. It is a mystery. Bottom line Jack was not right. Then I found what was left of the cedar plank, witnessed the blob of Jack's thrown up grass, and some puzzle pieces were joining up.
This new bout with a food and stomach issue renewed raw emotion for me as this happened to fall on the exact 4 week mark of the colic incident, and death of my horse Atlas, and I couldn't help but draw a coincidence of bad things happening on new moons. Losing a pet, horse, cat, dog, whatever critter you have become involved with, formed a bond with, and who is not just an investment, but a friend of a different species, is never easy and can be down right emotionally devistating. It is our responsibility to feed them, provide shelter, and the basics of care in return for these wonderful relationships. My anxiety over Jack's present painful and potentially quite serious situation filled a very sleepless night while I listened for him as he moaned thru the night. The mental images I kept seeing of splintered chards of cedar poking into Jack's gut were disturbing to say the least.
Monday began early. I fed the horses and came back to the house to gather up the very ill, and very uncomfortable pup to run to the vet.
The vet shook his head as he examined the bloated, tender belly of this pup whose stomach by now was stretched tight as a snare drum. As he felt Jack's stomach, he asked me questions as to the history of this particular chain of gastronomical events, the type of wood, how much was eaten, how much was charred, etc. He was giving obvious serious thought to the pup's present condition, past actions, and best course of treatment, and then looked up and asked me, " So, how was the salmon?" "Excellent!", I replied.
Jack was given a major pain med and was sent home with a wait and see prognosis and, soft food for the tummy and some version of a pepto bismal pink stuff. Jack laid out most of the day in a stoned state, with unfocusing pupils the size of saucers when he did open his eyes. He didn't object to the medications I kept shoving down his mouth and just laid on the cool bathroom floor and rested, not moving, any thing or any where.
Night went by and Tuesday morning Jack was feeling some what better but had yet to give up his charred salmon flavored plank remnants, nor anything else. I was really hoping to see that "anything else" come along soon, but not in the house. He stayed all day again, in our bathroom cooling his still distended belly in the dark, and quiet. His eyes were more focused but we were not out of the woods yet, or rather, the wood was not out of Jack yet.
Now Jack may have been clogged up for these couple of days and woefully sore, but his eating was not an issue. His appetite was at full strength and filling an already full gut with more food was pressing for a cataclysmic release. There was an improvement in his attitude on Wednesday morning and he seemed willing to head to the barn with the usual ritual, waddling along a bit slower that normal but better.
After he had peed on several of his favorite posts and plants, sniffed some horse poop, and grabbed some of Memphis's food he wandered off to the back of the barn. I followed a respectful distance, keeping his privacy. And then, it happened. Jack pooped. Oh, Joy and Rapture, and major relief.