“Ms. Sweetman? This is Dr. Hafafablak. I’m calling to let you know that Honey Sweetman is doing just fine.”
Two thoughts ran through my head as I processed this information: 1. I actually have a dog named Honey Sweetman. 2. I didn’t just flush a crap load of money down the toilet.The night before the phone call this dog would not eat her dinner. A first in three years. I am talking about a dog who starts eating the air before you put down her bowl. Woe to Artie if he’s within 5 feet of her food–she’ll demolish his face if he even looks at her dinner. Thus there was another first: Artie ate two dinners.
I was concerned but not too worried because she was playful and happy. She ran around in the back yard that evening and didn’t appear to be in any pain. I assumed she simply didn’t want to eat and even thought of marking the calendar with “Honey skipped a meal” but that would confirm the speculations that I really am crazy about my dumb dogs. Unfortunately Honey was sick several times during the night. Fortunately it was my day off and I got her the first vet appointment available which was early afternoon. She had no interest in food or water and tried to eat grass when I let her out. I thought it could be one of several things–she ate something rotten, she ate a non-food item like a sock or she developed Lyme disease because the ticks are so bad this year. My money was on the non-food item because my youngest son does not have one matching pair of socks thanks to this dog. She also chews up dish cloths, stuffed animals, hair elastic, velcro, an occasional paper towel and chair legs (when she was a puppy which she has thankfully stopped).
As the day went on, the dog got sicker. She kept trying to throw up when she was outside and she would not or could not stand for more than a few seconds. When we got to the vet, he looked at her very briefly and said, “I am sending you to the emergency vet hospital because this dog is too sick for me to care for here.” She got a bolus of fluids before we left which seemed to help until she vomited it all inside my truck. The smell was horrific.
To think I honestly didn’t think the day could have gotten worse before that.
Thankfully there is a new emergency vet hospital is only about 30 minutes away and I didn’t have to drive through Boston on the Red Sox 100th Year Celebration Day. I was also thankful that they were expecting her and she was taken right in to x-ray. While I waited in a room decorated with numerous diplomas of the veterinary surgeons and specialists, I read one of their many brochures on emergency pet procedures. Animal medical care has come a long way.
Her exam only took a few minutes. The vet surgeon brought me the news: a blockage in her small intestine that wasn’t a tumor and she needed surgery to get it out. Then he gave me the price which we had to pay before they did the procedure. At that point I thought I should fall on the floor but told him I’d call my husband to let him know. Which I did and I think he fell on the floor. It wasn’t like we had a choice, we knew we were going to save her. It’s just the harsh reality of how much a dumb dog can cost when they block up their intestines with God-knows-what.
How much? Well it’s not quite a Caribbean Cruise. It’s more like a few days at Disney World. I don’t know why I think of it in terms of a vacation, this dog certainly doesn’t make every day seem like a Roman holiday by any stretch of the imagination but she is quite precious to me so she’s a vacation instead of a burden. A vacation that we won’t be taking because that money went to removing out what was blocking her small intestine.
“She did very well during the surgery. I found the foreign body…it’s the funniest thing. When I opened her up, I saw this little face with two black eyes looking out at me! It looked like a hand-made stuffed monkey head!”
Have I ever told you how much I hate monkeys?
She has recovered beautifully. It’s just over a week and you’d never know she had major surgery. She’s eating, running, jumping and attacking Artie with as much vigor as the pre-surgery Honey. We’ve thrown away all the dog toys, hid stuffed animals and hang dish towels from the top cabinets instead of the oven handle. My youngest son now recites, “Do not leave socks on the floor” in his sleep because as much as I love this dog, we can’t blow another vacation on her.
There is one thing that has me completely freaked out though. I have NO idea what toy monkey she ate.