Friday, January 14, 2011

Jack and his continuam of culinary misadventures

I was not amused to be awoken the other morning to the sounds of a small dog wandering around my bed, retching in most earnest attempt to unload whatever was in its gut. Sure enough, it was Jack. There are few things that can bring me to full alert faster than the sound of a dog in the process of throwing up, knowing that if they are successful, that the cleanup will not be pretty and will probably invoke more retching, from me. So once my brain registered what was going on and functioned well enough to prompt my body to start moving, I got out of bed and chased the heaving puppy to the back door. It was there the clues began to reveal themselves. I booted the boy out to finish his business and turned to follow the trail.

The first clue was the tattered remains of the bag of dog food that I had placed on the floor after having poured the majority of it into the dog food can, which mysteriously only holds 40 lbs. and this bag holding 50 lbs, had a leftover amount in it. When I had placed the bag there I had even said to my self, “Self, don’t leave that there cause Jack will get in trouble with it.” Distractions being what they were for the evening, of course, I forgot and left it there.

The helpless bag had not just been broken into. Shards of paper lay around it, evidence that the poor bag had obviously been ripped into with a maniacal ferocity. The glossy picture of the Labrador retriever on the cover of the sack had been torn with a demonic energy and the portrait of the once peaceful lab now looked quite sad. The bad part was, that the dog food that had been inside the night before, was now about half of what had been in there before the attack. Jack had consumed, along with the shredded paper he must have taken in, somewhere close to 4 to 5 lbs of dog food. This was the beginning of yet another chaotic tale of my overeating, diabetic, pancreatic (from having eaten a ½ gal or so of cooking oil), and wooden plank eating poor puppy. Here we go again, I thought, back to the vet, again.

When a diabetic gets too much food, like nearly 5 lbs of dog food for instance, or too much sugar, they become thirsty beyond belief and will drink any water, and all water available. Jack had followed this course of relieving his thirst, after eating his fill and then some, and the evidence of his action led to consequences of relieving himself, all, over the house. Puddles lay in various stages of evaporation everywhere. The question loomed as to just how serious this bout was going to become, with the frightening possibility of our making yet another installment on my vet’s addition to his clinic.

I let all of the dogs back into the house for breakfast and I offered Jack a small amount in a bowl to assess his situation. He didn’t even sniff at it which is totally against anything Jack ascribes to. He is a professional eater, and takes that job very seriously. The vet had told me when Jack was first diagnosed with diabetes, that if he refused food, then to not give the insulin shot that would normally follow a meal, but he had not told me what to do instead. I was in a quandary here because this puppy was stuffed full of food and no way to process it without the insulin. So I decided to risk a breach of the vet’s advice and I pulled a syringe out to give him his dosage. It was then that I realized just exactly how really full this dog was.

To give a shot subcutaneously to a pup, one grabs a pinch of skin right behind the shoulders, and injects under the skin but not into a muscle. Jack was so full that there was no skin to pull. His belly had swollen to uncharted diameters and his skin was stretched to the max. I managed to squeeze the tiny needle into a miniscule recess under the skin and waited to see if my action was going to make him better, or kill him. While I anxiously waited for the results, I walked the house with a roll of paper towels and mopped up the gallons of puddles.

Gladly the poor puppy did not die from the dose of insulin, or this new overeating misadventure, and gradually Jack’s belly began to deflate in circumference over the course of the day and by late afternoon he was once again happily chowing down on horse droppings, and whatever horse feed had been dropped by the herd. At dinner time he got his carefully allotted ½ cup of prescription dog food, followed by another dose of insulin, and things were back in the groove for Jack, again.

‘Til next time…

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