Tag Archives: Dub

Going to the Dogs: A Forced Series on Canine Arrhythmia

go to the dogs
Meaning: become ruined, often by excess or neglect

Tonight’s pre-bed pastime has devolved into watching Dub lick himself. He started at the front, working his tongue intently between the pads of his front paw, left then right. He worked his way back to the left hind paw, up his long leg – the dog has hind quarters like a small deer – to the grand, prized space between his legs.

I just had to stop him because he began to nibble at the surgical tape securing a plastic IV bag over his right, rear paw. The plastic IV bag covers a blue bandage that completely encases his foot, and extends up to his knee joint. The bag is there to save our carpet from any excess, dripping blood. “I’m sorry, boy,” I whispered. I touched my nose to his and inhaled his current smell (earthworms and grass). “Try to get some sleep,” I said, and slipped the 15-inch diameter translucent plastic cone back over his head.  

In the park earlier tonight, Dub — who knows how — ripped off a toenail. I swear this dog was born under an unlucky star. He’s not even five years old; we’ve had him with us for five months. So far we’ve had a seizure, a complete blood work-up, and invested in several preventatives. Total veterinary expenditure so far: $600+.

Here’s the kicker: DH called me from the vet while they were fixing up his bloody paw, and reported that Dr. H- discovered a heart arrhythmia. “Severe arrhythmia,” came his voice through the blackberry balanced on my shoulder.

“That can’t be,” I said. “Last vet appointment, after the seizure, they said he had the heart rate of a champion.”

“Dr. H- said these things appear rather suddenly.” I’ll say. His last check-up was only two months ago.

I stomped my slipper on the kitchen floor where I stood washing dishes. “He’s not even five years old.” I vividly recalled in this moment that the last time DH called me from the vet it was to tell me that Samson had an aggressive form of cancer and very little time left. Prior to that, I had been ready to pony up thousands to just make him better before we discovered that there was no such option. And whether I had been driven by devotion or mere dependence, my emotional memory cannot distinguish.  

“She says we need to get him to a cardiologist ASAP,” he continued.

“Could you ask her about his crazy metabolism?” I said. “Tell her how much he eats and his energy level; tell her that he could run all day and eat all day and never gain a pound.”

“Well, sure. But what does that have to do with his heart?”

I don’t know. That’s why I want to ask. He eats a like a horse.”

“Ok, I’ll ask.”

And that was that. I don’t think he asked. DH brought Dub home, along with a prescription for antibiotics and a brochure for Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates. I wish I could make this funny somehow, but I can’t summon it. Dub’s bumbling around the house in his cone of shame isn’t even amusing; this dog, of all dogs, should not be restrained or subdued. Both current and potential situations are against his nature. There has been no neglect or excess that could have caused this potentially very bad diagnosis. Potentially bad. We don’t know yet. May be nothing? But it may be something.

And at the moment I’m not feeling especially devoted or dependent. Just dumbstruck.

WTF?

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Dogs Are Good: A Riveting Update From Procrastinationville

So right. Nothing from me since August. And I have no excuses worth sharing — same old working-mother-back-to-school-gotta-go-pumpkin-picking bullshit.

A lovely lady I met at a baby shower sent me a note today asking for the link to my blog. I winced with great shame and considered not responding, because then I could feel even more sorry for myself and pine away with professional embarrassment… as any proper, no-good-quitter would.  Then I thought, hells no. I’m going to write a blog entry like a big girl who knows she should be writing — not in spite of her self-loathing and procrastinating ways, but because of them.

Sadie and Dub? The dogs are all good. Dub continues to poop in my house from time to time, which I find annoying but oddly forgivable. Poor guy. I think he’s actually so hyper and excited to play he forgets to poop when we take him out. Then he loses it around 4am. He does this usually on the mudroom tile. A lovely package to find on a chilly fall morning, while padding about in my UGG slippers.

Hey, it’s fall! I didn’t even write about our summer vacation yet!  Wait for it.. wait for it…

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Filed under Dog Training, Humor, writing

Do Not Push

So it read on the back of the dump truck in front of me in morning traffic: “Do Not Push.”  After 7 days alone with the kids and the dogs, it came as a divine intervention. 

I’m exhausted, and it ain’t over yet. 

First things first. Dub is fit as a fiddle, far as the vet can tell. He has the resting heart rate of a champion and the dog can catch a frisbee mid-flight with the grace of a gazelle, IF said gazelle could catch a frisbee and as far as I know, gazelles are not nearly that capable or entertaining.  

Dub in his natural state

Our fine vet, Dr. H., thinks the seizure was a fluke; he hasn’t had another. The blood work came back clean. And the vomiting was likely unrelated.  Or as I summarized for DH on the phone the night he called from Pune, “he’s a puker.”  

But I am growing rather attached to the puker.  He takes his cues from his humans, following us everywhere, resting when we rest, running when we run. Bam-Bam is learning this lesson the hard way – he knocked her down during an overzealous game of — and I quote — CHASE! ME! DOGS!  He has a cold black nose and looks so very interested, when he cocks his head just so, in what I have to say.  

He also barks his head off at anything that walks, rolls, or glides past our house, and we live on a very busy corner.  But I’m just moving into day eight of ten home alone, and the dump truck has spoken. I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

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Zone Defense: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday DH left for India for ten days.

An hour before he left, I held Pebbles on my lap while she received four immunizations, two in each thigh.  I will forever hear her screaming “don’t let them do it to me, Mama!”

Six hours before DH left, Dub had his first seizure. He just crouched like the Sphinx, unblinking, drooling, helpless on the office floor.

Twelve hours before DH left, I was on the phone with the on-call pediatrician begging him to call in a prescription for Bam-Bam, who has pink eye. In both eyes.

Twenty-four hours before DH left, I was certain I could handle everything just fine!

Now I’m waiting for the vet to call us back with the results of $300 worth of blood work. (Since the seizure he has played two extended games of fetch and gone for two walks.) I’m administering Bam-Bam the pink-eye medication in four doses daily for five days. Pebbles is proudly explaining to everyone she encounters that her body is now fighting off the diseases the ladies shot “into her bones.”  That is to say, everything seemed to be settling out, until I came home from work this evening and learned that Dub vomited and had diarrhea all over the house.

Under the piano.

Again in the corner.

In the mudroom, dripping down into the air vent.

In the family room.

All over his dog bed.

And our blessed nanny cleaned all of this up, only to vomit HERSELF mid-way through the cleaning job.

I hope the dog doesn’t die. I hope the nanny doesn’t quit. I hear New Delhi is lovely this time of year.

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Filed under Kids, Travel

summer hiatus?

You could call it a hiatus. Or you could call it being really fucking busy with two kids and two dogs during the hottest days of Summer 2010.

Sorry readers, for being MIA for a week.  I have a few bits of breaking news.  Or perhaps I should say, as we do in the biz, “lessons learned.” (The “biz” to which I refer is, unfortunately for my spirit and my soul, IT consulting. Information Technology consulting. Makes me want to light my hair on fire, but it does pay the bills.) 

Lesson Learned #1: Do NOT Leave Treats in Pocket of Running Shorts (see Figure 1)

Figure 1. My (former) best running shorts

I walked into my closet and surveyed the clothes in a heap on the floor, pulled on a pair of shorts thinking I would go for a run, and discovered them to be… wet? Odd, right? I mean, the sweat from 2 days ago would have dried by now… so I look down and… am immediately reminded of my grey fleece. Samson (The original Brittany, if you haven’t been following) ate both pockets of my grey fleece when he was about 2 years old, probably going after the cheddar cheese we used to train him. So having the reaction only a dog-lover could understand, I smiled and laughed and had my daughter take this picture. Silly dogs.

Never mind that this set me back at least one week of running — which I have to say, worked out in everyone’s favor. Kids went to the pool after work more frequently, and I wasn’t dragging one of the poor dogs down the Arlington bike path in 90+degree heat. (A week? A whole week? You don’t have any other shorts? Those of you asking these questions must not have children and may God bless you for taking time away from your quiet weeknight to try and understand, but I just don’t have the energy to explain it right now.)

Lesson learned, Sadie and Dub.  Lesson learned. 

I now have my eye on a new pair of lululemons.

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Filed under Brittanys, Dog Training, Humor

Selecting a Proper Leash for Your Dog: Or How to Avoid Clotheslining Bikers, Spare Rabbits’ Lives, and Avoid the Wrath of Mothers with Small Children

 

First Rule of Using a Retractable Leash: Don't

Retractable leashes. WTF? These things should be outlawed, or at the very least, sold under federal restriction only to owners of dogs that can be tucked into a Versace clutch. 

Retractable leashes are the way our brilliant, ever problem-solving species gets around leash laws. Fido pulls on his leash and it’s a pain in the ass! It ruins our walks and our rotator cuffs!  So we give him… more leash?? In most cases, certainly in any populous area, retractable leashes are a menace to society. We all know how they work; momentum equals mass times velocity.  Fido roams quasi-freely, while dragging his hopeless human along behind. Presumably the human can stop the line from extending by pushing the button, but if you have a real dog, a dog who likes to sniff and run and jump and kill small land mammals, by the time you hit that button (which doesn’t always work that well) the dog has so much momentum going that the whole kit and caboodle becomes an oncoming runaway train. 

Do you realize that bikers can’t even see that fishing-line thin cord as they come zooming down a path? I think it’s fair to say that any biker who nearly gets killed because (s)he gets tripped up in your stupid retractable leash has a right to go ape-shit, whenever and wherever it happens. And that goes double for mothers of children under the age of 4 who feel their offspring have in any way been wronged by your (no doubt harmless and loveable, but still) dog.

So dog-owning readers, repeat after me:

I will use nothing longer than a 6 foot, old-fashioned leash. I will take my dog to safe areas where he can run off-leash. And from this day further, I will not try to fool myself or my dog, into feeling he’s “off-leash” when “on-leash” because everyone gets confused, it simply doesn’t work, and I look like a moron.

What to do? PAY ATTENTION TO AND ENJOY THE WALK WITH YOUR DOG.

I’m only 5’3” and usually holding a kid with one hand, so I prefer a 4 foot leash. I also use a martingale collar, which allows me to correct Sadie and Dub for pulling (like a traditional choke collar) without hurting them. See more about the martingale here:

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Filed under Brittanys, Dog Training

four girls and two boys

Pebbles made an observation about three minutes after we closed the minivan doors and headed for home with two strange dogs, crated behind her seat. “Our family has four girls and two boys.” 

Everyone, meet Sadie (female, 2.5 yrs) and Dub (male, 4.5 years)! 

Introducing Sadie (left) and Dub

The hand off was smooth, if perhaps a little nerve-wracking.  We met the current owners, W&K, at a public park in Roanoke (which was lovely, by the way) and everyone was a little tense.  The dogs were hot and wild with all the attention.  Current owners were experiencing a mix of stress, sadness, and relief to meet us. (They didn’t want to give their gorgeous dogs away, but made the decision to do so because of a pending move to a condo in Boston.) DH and I were bickering, the way we do when we get stressed. Pebbles and Bam-Bam watched with wide eyes from a distance, inside the shade of the van. 

I think my email to W&K the next morning sums it up: 

We made it! Sadie and Dub were excellent travelers and, surprisingly, so were our children!  

We’ve been home for a few hours now, and have taken the dogs for a good walk and played in the yard. We’ll crate them for a few nights until they are more at ease.  They have been very sweet. And Dub is such a good boy!! We worked with him solo and were impressed. Sadie is a doll. And she was pretty good on leash; we even let our 5 year old walk her for about two blocks! Somewhat comical, but it worked out. 

Do feel free to contact us anytime, and I’m sure we’ll be in touch with questions. It was great to meet you and your family. Thank you again for driving halfway and, of course, for trusting us with the dogs. We promise to take great care of them. 

Day 1: So far, so good!

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