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.