Archive | April, 2011

A Matter of Heart

29 Apr

I have never been one of those people who set out never to look back. I have always appreciated a sense of family and am not too proud to lean on the ones I love. My sister came and we all had a wonderful time. But in that way only a sister can she also felt my sadness and with a simple, “I know,” allowed me to break.  The pieces will fall back in place.  And I know it will be a few months until my heart twin and I are back together.  But in some friendships distance just doesn’t matter.

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Rules to Live By – Beach Edition

10 Apr

Susie was one of the first people I met in Newport. She’s a great friend and also my walking buddy. Anytime the weather is decent we’re out for a walk somewhere. She knows a lot about the area, and we’ve had a pretty good time laughing at my attempts at pronouncing Oregon cities. On our walks I am sometimes treated to what I like to call “Beach Patrol Susie’s Rules to Live By.” Usually some event on the beach brings these little tidbits of wisdom and we laugh, but there is always some truth behind what she says.

Rule #1 – If the ocean gets sucked out really far, run like heck. It’s a tsunami.

Rule #2 – Don’t dig big holes in the sand unless you plan on filling them back in.

Rule #3 – Never turn your back on the ocean.

Rule #4 – Don’t play on logs that have washed ashore.

A few days ago I decided I would take advantage of the “not raining at the moment” weather and head out for some exercise. I called Susie to see if she wanted to join us, but she was busy. So I headed to South Beach State Park for an easy run with Abigail. We started to get sprinkled on a little bit, but with my new rain cover for the jogger it didn’t really matter. I did a mental heel click and continued on. Abigail, however, was not so happy to continue on. She started to whine as she frantically tried to pull off her socks. I put my headphones back in and kept running. Terrible, maybe. But what was I going to do – teleport us back to the car?

It is not uncommon for Abigail to get upset in the stroller. So this time I had come prepared. We had our new obsession, I mean birthday present, Violet the interactive dog. I hoped that we would have time to walk Hank afterwards so I even packed a snack.

As we approached the van I saw Hank’s big furry head through the windshield. Why was he so high up? Oh right, because he was sitting on the back seat. I’m surprised he wasn’t buckled up chatting on his cell phone. I opened the door to let him out and grabbed Abigail’s snack. The clouds were getting a little darker, but I figured we’d just walk until the rain told us to turn around.

The snack seemed to appease Abigail for two more miles until we were back at the van. I was ready to load up when I saw that she had made a huge mess. Instead of eating her snack Abigail decided it would be fun to take each piece of cereal and crumble it up. It was everywhere. I cleaned her off the best I could and put her in the car. Hank was already in the back. I took my hand and brushed the remaining crumbs out of the stroller. Suddenly one measley seagull twenty yards away turned into five thousand swarming me.

Hypnotized by the crumbs on the ground the gulls waddled closer and closer. I took the folded stroller and pushed it frantically in their direction screaming, “Back! Back!” (I’m still thankful that there was no one around to witness this display.) It was working. They were backing off, but I knew I would only have a few seconds after loading the stroller to make it to safety. I flapped my arms yelling one more time, threw the stroller in the back, closed the gate, and raced to the driver’s seat. I had survived and was ready to get going. Only I couldn’t because the keys were in the bottom of the stroller. I glanced outside and saw a mass of seagulls surrounding the car. There was no way I was going back out there. I crawled through the van, over the seats into the back where I grabbed the keys, victorious.

Which brings me to Rule #5 – Seagulls don’t play around with free food.

I called Susie to tell her what happened on our walk without her.

“Ah, Rookie Mistake,” she laughed. Touche.

Hank’s Condition

1 Apr

I should have known there was something wrong with Hank when he didn’t get up to greet Susie at the door. I just assumed he was wiped out from his long day at doggie daycare. I had taken him there knowing we’d be gone most of the day shopping in the valley. He’s been there before and loves it — always coming home to lie exhausted on the floor where he remains lifeless until the next day. So I thought he was just completely worn out. It took almost an hour and Susie going into the bathroom where he was hugging the bowl for him to finally get up and be social. Come over on any normal day and you will quickly find he has no problems being social. Personal space does not exist to Hank.

The following day Hank continued to remain more mellow and lethargic than normal. Barely coming out of the bathroom and refusing to eat or drink. He even spit out two treats I had given him. I made chicken soup for dinner and he didn’t even try to get a piece of chicken. We sat down for dinner and Hank still did not appear. Then he started throwing up, and I was worried.

I racked my brain trying to think of what was wrong. I could only come up with two things.

The last time he went to doggie daycare he came back with a large stuffed toy (complete with squeaker) in his belly that he promptly barfed up the next day. I didn’t want that to happen again so I had already spoken with the owner and she assured me that all small toys would be picked up before he got there. I didn’t want to believe that a business would be that negligent, but I knew he hadn’t eaten one of Abigail’s toys. The only other solution I could come up with was that he had contracted the lepto bacteria that you are constantly warned about around here. Last week I had taken Hank to the beach where he was off his leash for some exercise and ball chasing fun. What appeared to be driftwood from a distance was actually a dead sea lion that Hank was about 1 cm from licking. Gross, I know, but often the sea lions on the beach have died because of this bacterial infection. What I found on the internet warned that dogs should be kept at least 50 feet away and if your dog experiences a loss of appetite, vomitting, abdominal pain, etc. after coming into contact with a dead marine animal you should contact your vet immediately. The incubation period for the disease was 4-10 days.  It had been about a week since the sea lion incident. Now, I wasn’t just worried. I was scared.

It is always a good to have a nice friend who is also a great vet. We called Sandra to see if we needed to take Hank somewhere to be checked out. She assured us that she thought Hank had not contracted lepto and had probably just eaten another toy. We were instructed to give him some pepcid and she would see him first thing in the morning.

“Oh Hank, you bad boy. Did you eat another toy?” Dr. Sandra said at our appointment. She was going to take a couple of x-rays and tell us what she found. It would be about 30 minutes. I waited nervously hoping that he had not eaten something that would require some crazy and costly surgery. The technician finally appeared and told me that the doctor wanted to show me some x-rays. I was led back to “Consultation.” It was a nice room with comfy chairs, a few plants, and one of those soothing waterfall things. And lots of tissues in the trash. And “Grieving the Loss of Your Pet” pamplets. My stomach rolled over. I felt sick. Why had I come to the appointment alone. I knew my newf didn’t have the longest life expectancy, but this was ridiculous. “Okay. Let’s take a look.” Dr. Sandra said as she put the x-rays up to the light. “Oh great.” I groaned. The x-ray showed a huge tubular blob with lots of little blobs around it. “It seems that Hank,” Dr. Sandra went on, “really needs to fart. You see all of this? This is all gas.” What?! “So, keep him on a bland diet, continue the pepcid, and take him on a really long walk to help him work it out!” Yes, Hank had so much gas in his large intestine that it was causing an extreme amount of pressure on his stomach, thus making him throw up.

Hank must have a sense of humor because $155 later I felt like he’d gotten away with the biggest April Fool’s joke a canine had ever attempted.