Friday, July 29, 2011

Obi's Illness

A couple of weeks ago, my boss received a panicked, teary call from me around 7:15am.

Obi was sick.

(If you don't know Obi, you can catch up on the Stray Dog Saga starting here. Or see photo here.)

I'd been up with him since 2AM. He'd had bad poo - we're talking BAAAAD poo - in the night. There were several more bad poos in the wee hours, but thankfully we were outside for the onset of those. Around 4AM he started limping, holding one of his front legs off the ground. I checked his leg and paw for obvious wounds, trying not to cause him any additional distress. Everything looked fine. But everything was obviously not fine, because he whined whenever I touched his leg or whenever he tried to stand up.

When he started holding one of his hind legs off the ground, I began to freak out.

When he couldn't sit or lie down without a continuous tortured whimper, I started to lose my shit.

I called my boss and told her I was taking Obi to the vet, which didn't open until 8AM. As gently as I could, I loaded him into the Jeep where he lay curled up in a tight, whimpering ball of pain. We drove to the vet and waited in the parking lot until they opened. I carried Obi's trembling body into the office and placed him on the exam table where he tried to stand on two legs for as long as possible, eventually failing and sinking painfully down to lie on his stomach, head between his splayed front paws.

I pictured a perforated gut from a bone I'd given him to chew. I visualized cancer eating away at his insides. If there was any horribly painful doggy disease he could have contracted, I played it out in my head. Every scenario ended with him being put to sleep.

"Tick fever," the vet said.

"Oh, thank god," I said, finally remembering to exhale in a whoosh. "Wait. Sooo... what does that mean? Tick fever?"

"It means antibiotics."

"It's not a punctured colon?"


"And it's not cancer?"

"No. I'm 99.9 percent sure it's tick fever. He could've gotten the bite 2-6 months ago and is just now manifesting symptoms."

I stroked Obi's head. He gave me the sad eyes which silently communicated, please, please make it better. I had to look away or burst into tears. "Is he going to be alright? When will he start to feel better?"

"We should see definite improvement in 24 to 36 hrs. If not, we'll run his blood and check for other possible tick-related diseases."

Wanting to make sure Obi received the best possible care, I left him at the vet's while I raced to work. "We'll make sure he takes his pills and stays hydrated," the vet said as I left. "We'll also give him something to help calm his tummy."

After five days in dog hospital, I was able to bring him home. After a series of tests, we discovered Obi had TWO tick-borne diseases, Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever and something called Canine Ehrliciosis, which is why they had to keep him so long. I am happy to report he is almost back to his former self, though he's got 30 days of antibiotics (3xa day), a steroid, and a pain killer. Then at the end of the antibiotics he goes back in for a booster shot, just to make sure we "kick this stuff in the ass".*

I had no idea being a dog owner was this complicated. My cat, Mr. Beckett, has never been sick a day in his life. Once he had a rash on his chin. I took him to the vet and got some cream and liquid antibiotics for a mere $165. After four days of getting mauled as I tried to hold him down and squirt the liquid into his mouth with a syringe, I gave up. Neither the cream nor the antibiotic was having a noticeable effect on the rash anyway. Instead I bought a $3.99 tube of Neosporin. Rash was gone in 48 hours.

Will the wonders of Neosporin never cease? I'm just sayin'...

*Vet quote. It merely strengthens my luuuuurve for him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Title "Ghost Story" Sorta Gives It Away, But Never Judge a Book By Its Title

* Potential spoiler for those of you who haven't read the previous novel in the Harry Dresden series, Changes by Jim Butcher. *


Today is the day!

One of my "Eagerly Anticipated Books of 2011" is here!

The last we saw of Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire, he'd been shot and had fallen off his boat to slip beneath the lake's cold, dark waters. It looked like curtains for our intrepid hero.

And right before his hot date with unrequited love interest, Karrin Murphy, too. We've only been waiting TWELVE BOOKS for that to finally happen.

Damn you, Jim Butcher. I wanted to punch you in the head. This better be good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Creative Tuesday - What I'm Doing on Summer Vacay (eh-hem, properly re-titled "Summer Break")*

I haven't participated in Mr. Toast's Creative Tuesday's in a while. I've been lazy. It's the heat.

I'm blaming everything on the heat.

As a result, I've been doing a lot of indoor under the A/C activities like reading the Tarot cards. The piece I'm posting today was inspired by a new acquaintance's question when she heard that I read cards.

"Are you psychic?"

Fortune's Hand

The answer to that is, "Uh, no." I don't consider myself psychic. Well... no more than anyone else. And not in the way most people think when they ask that sort of question. (I don't see dead people.) I believe everyone has a certain amount of intuitive ability, some are just more in tune with  it than others. There are those with innate ability, sure, but anyone can learn to read the cards. If they're open to it.

It's like learning to play the piano. There are the rare musical savants, there are people who tickle the ivories with their toes, and there are those of us who never move beyond Chopsticks - everyone's approach and initial skill level is a little different. With time, effort, and lots of practice, it can be learned.

Check out all the Summer Break themed submissions at Hot Toast and Jam.

*7/20/11 - I wouldn't want to be too inspired to think outside the box with the prompts. I'll try not to get too wrapped up in the flow next time and stick to the proper interpretation of the subject matter. Please forgive my artistic faux pas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Obi's Got Mail!

My friend and fellow blogger, Courtney, heard my pleas for help as a first time dog owner and sent a care package in the mail.

It came addressed to Obi. He was very excited. He'd never gotten mail before.

"For ME?? What is it?! What is it?! Open it open it open it! Curse you, thumbless paws!!"

Obi's Loot

There was a rope chew, a package of denta-bones, and a squeaky lobster. Maybe now my flip flops will be spared.

She even included a catnip mouse and a bag of treats for Mr. Beckett. He was very pleased.

Courtney's unexpected generosity brought a wee tear to my eye. She has now been accorded "Auntie C" status where Obi and Mr. Beckett are concerned.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer Diet

Obi is a chewer.

Items he has chewed beyond recognition:
2 empty egg cartons
1 trainer laces (though he spared the actual $130 shoe itself)
Pair of flipflops
2 wooden paint brush handles
edge of the doormat
the meat section from the local grocery store sale flyer
1 Netflix envelope
1 empty ziplock bag
1 empty liquid soap bottle
1 ant bait (vet said he'd be fine)
1 extra large tube of wood glue (Fortunately I caught him before he glued his lips together.)

(Do dogs have lips?)

Items he hasn't chewed:
chew toy that looks like a blue and orange duck
gray squirrel chew toy that resembles road kill (I have named him Mr. Carcass)
squeaky frisbee
red rubber bone filled with cheese
rawhide bone
nylon bone
real bone

I have Netflixed all the episodes of The Dog Whisperer. In a single afternoon I  bought and read Cesar Millan's new book on dog training. Mr. Millan would suggest more exercise, but I'm doing as much dog walking/ people dragging activity as I can squeeze in. I'm doing 30 minutes in the morning before I get ready for work, and at least an hour, more most of the time, in the evening after it cools down.

So far I've lost 20 hrs of sleep (cumulative over the past few days) and three pounds. I'm calling it the Dog Days of Summer Diet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks - The Devil's Noisemakers

"You stupid kids and your stupid firecrackers!! Don't you know some of us have to work in the morning?!"

That's what I yelled from my front porch at 10:30PM last night.

I have officially reached crotchety old lady status.

Hope everyone had a wonderful, sparkler-filled 4th of July.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stray Dog Saga Part V - The Naming

I've decided to name the dog Obi.

The veterinarian thought it was a shout-out to Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's actually short for Oberon from A Midsummer Night's Dream. At the time of Obi's rescue, I was reading a book (Hounded by Kevin Hearne) where the main character owned an Irish wolfhound named Oberon. It seemed like destiny, even though Obi is not Irish, not a wolfhound, and definitely not King of the Fairies.

Because of his Star Wars reference, I now have a huge geeky crush on the vet.

I asked Mr. Future Ex-Husband the Veterinarian what breed he thought Obi was. His best guess was that Obi was at least half this...
American Bull Terrier - Also Commonly Know as The Spuds Mckenzie Dog

with a smidgen of this...
American Bulldog

and a possibly a dash of this...
It's anyone's best guess, really. Obi is a dog of varied heritage, which is fine by me. Everyone, this is Obi. Obi, this is everyone.

Hold still a second while I take your picture.

No, it's not food. It's a camera. Now hold still a sec while I...


There. See? That wasn't so hard, was it?

The vet pronounced Obi to be healthy, except for the obvious wounds and being underweight. He is only about two years old, which was a surprise. I thought he was older, but the vet assured me after getting a close look at his big, ol' sparkly teeth (did I mention Mr. Future Ex-Husband the Vet is very brave?) that he was quite young. Just a puppy.

He got his jabs for rabies, parvo, heartworms, etc. Drops were put in his ears. Subjected to all of that and the traumatic car ride to and from, Obi hardly even whimpered. After a couple of more baths to get rid of the lingering Eau de Dead Possum, we should be good to go.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stray Dog Saga Part IV

I'm officially a dog owner.


It wasn't part of the plan, but I've never been good at following the stupid blueprints anyway.

Now that I'm a dog owner, I'm taking my responsibility seriously. Dog now has a very stylish and functional collar and leash combo in basic black. He has his own food and water bowl. There is a stash of kibble and treats under the sink. Some landscapers are coming to finish leveling my yard so I can have a fence installed. I have an appointment scheduled with a veterinarian to get Dog a checkup and receive any necessary jabs.

In order to make a good impression and not stink up the vet's office like sun-baked road-kill (which Dog has obviously rolled in at some point), I gave him a bath. It was the easiest thing ever! He was very stoic as I scrubbed him down with a bucket of warm, soapy water. Didn't even twitch. Didn't even shake himself off until I started drying him with a towel.

Why does everyone gripe about bathing their dog? Ever tried to bath a cat? I did. Once. That's why I wear an eyepatch.

Come to find out under all that dirt and god-only-knows-what, Dog is mostly white. He has a black nose, amber eyes, and faint spots on his ear, coat, and tail that look like someone spilled a latte on him.

Now all Dog needs is a name...

(Stay tuned for pictures in tomorrow's post, "Stray Dog Saga Part V - The Naming".)