Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Martha Stewart poisoned my dog and other adventures in veterinary medicine

Disclaimer: (for the benefit of Martha Stewart and her attorneys) Ms. Stewart did not knowingly poison my dog; it was just a hook to grab your attention (but she is peripherally involved).

Now that he's on the mend, I can relate the tale of my two-year-old golden retriever Casey's recent illness. As anyone who's ever owned a golden will tell you, they love to eat things. Especially things they shouldn't eat. Over the past two years, Casey's dietary intake has included several remotes; one cell phone; countless books; a bag of fresh-baked apple cider donuts (that hurt a lot); the pedal of my wife's Kurzweil Piano; assorted toys; numerous CDs, DVDs and video tapes; the legs of our dining room table; and a pile of shoes (Casey doesn't discriminate; his taste in footwear ranges from 11-year-old Connor's flip flops, to Kim's leather boots, to my loafers). He also loves to eat houseplants, which is where Martha enters the picture.

My wife's best friend's sister (herein after known as BFS) works for Martha in some type of botanical function; she's a gardener or landscaper or something along those lines. Anyway, this past summer BFS allowed Kim to take some cuttings of assorted plants to transplant at home. One of these plants was a shrub from Africa known by various names including Pencil Tree, Sticks on Fire, and Milk Brush. Unbeknownst to us, the sap is extremely toxic. Unfortunately for Casey, he decided to devour most of the plant this past weekend.

He experienced a burning sensation which he tried to alleviate by eating anything within reach; before we knew what was happening he devoured a good sized section of an old queen-sized sheet. Since bed linens are not part of a dog's normal diet (Egyptian cotton or not), he proceeded to get a tummy ache which he attempted to relieve by eating grass. Over the next 18 hours or so he proceeded to vomit pieces of half eaten sheet. What he didn't vomit he pooped out (which made for interesting and rather festive bowel movements).

We took him to the animal hospital and they gave him a thorough exam during which the vet literally reached into Casey and pulled out a piece of sheet (sort of like a magician performing an x-rated handkerchief trick; I half-expected her to say "TA DA!" after extracting it from Casey's ass). Meds were prescribed and we were instructed to make sure he doesn't eat anymore grass; vomiting will cause more irritation to his already sore throat. Best of all, I am under instructions to check his poop to make sure he's excreting any stray pieces of linen that may still be inside him.

Our twice daily walks have turned into a battle of wills; Casey trying his best to eat grass while I try to keep his head up high while speaking soothing, encouraging words to help him to poop. Last night he was in a particularly playful mood and ran thorough our dark, wet field following the scent of some long-gone bunny rabbit, dragging me behind with my trusty flashlight in hand ready to illuminate his poop for inspection. As we made our way through the damp brush, I kept looking for the telltale signs indicating he was about to poop - what I like to call his "Poop March" (whenever he's about to go, Casey walks briskly back and forth - it's like he's marching a few paces, then does an about face and marches in the opposite direction before finally settling down).

The good news: he finally went. The bad news: my flashlight went out and I lost track of the poop. The good news: it came back on and I found the poop. The bad news: I was standing in it. I just realized I've used the word "poop" far too many times in this post. Anyway, the important thing is Casey is feeling much better and we've relegating what remains of the offending plant to the burn pile.

Not to be outdone, last week our Italian Greyhound Bella (who is no where close to being house broken) suffered several days of projectile diarrhea. I was thinking about giving this it's own blog under the title "The Number One Reason Why Bare Floors Are Better Than Carpeting", but really, the least said about it the better.

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