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.