Baylor really hasn’t had the best summer.
It started off well enough – his boys were home from school (more playtime), Nana came to visit (best delightful surprise ever!) and we had a camping trip planned (something to get him out of the house). Not bad for a little dog.
However, we the humans had a lot of things in the works as well that did not (or could not) involve him. For example, a trip to El Paca Pastures to visit the new baby alpacas, which never would have worked because alpacas are adorable, neurotic freaks who don’t take well to dogs. Especially small, neurotic dogs. And another trip to Washington, in which we would have had to take him on the plane , manage layovers and then watch him like a hawk for three days to keep him from running away (as he is wont to do) or being snatched by a bald eagle (as they are wont to do).
Instead, we had to board him.
I’ve never boarded Baylor before (thanks to his ever-loving and mostly patient Nana) but as family pet-sitting isn’t an option here, we had to resort to a “pet resort”*. This in itself wasn’t the issue** but his shots weren’t up to date, thus requiring two trips to the vet***. Little Dog has been extremely healthy, considering how much randomness he ingests on a daily basis**** so I suppose if I amortize the cost of this summer’s shots over 8 years it works out to like, less than a cent a day. So whatever.
*Read: Fancy kennel.
**Really, I think it was good for him.
***Frightening for the dog, frightening on my wallet, largely because I didn’t realize vaccinations require booster shots. Sigh.
***Crossing ALL digits he remains this way!
However, the shots were just a small part of Baylor’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer. Because really what ended up happening was that I started a new job with long hours, and I haven’t been around to love up my little man as much as usual, leaving my patient BF to do most of the walking, feeding and playing. And then, what should have been a great camping adventure ended up being a “disaster-in-the-moment, great-story-after” kind of trip that – unbeknownst to us at the time – left Baylor with a painful foxtail in his paw.
Us Washingtonians aren’t terrible familiar with foxtails, but apparently they’re quite common in California and are sneaky little bastards – they’re spiky little weeds that start as a little prick to the paw and can end up working their way up into the foot. This is what happened to Baylor, and my tough little guy barely made a whimper while he had one stuck in his paw for a whole week before we figured it out*.
*I had a lot of dog-mama guilt about this.
200-some dollars later, the dog was sent home foxtail-free and cone-shamed, with a week’s worth of Rimadyl for post-surgery pain maintenance. But here’s the deal: Rimadyl is a potentially nasty drug. The side effects are scary and can be almost immediate – and fatal. I didn’t know this, and unfortunately assumed that a prescribed drug for my pet would be fine for him. However, at the end of his 7 days on the drug, he had terrible doggy diarrhea and alarming bits of blood in his stool*, which caused us to rush to a local emergency vet, where my dog-mama guilt totally overwhelmed me and I broke into sobs in the examination room**.
*Normally I wouldn’t be this graphic about Baylor’s bowel movements but if you’re a dog owner…you should know what you’re potentially getting into.
**The dog, meanwhile, was exhibiting no signs of distress in any way – this was a fully self-induced emotional overreaction at the end of a very long summer. Also, animal people are GOOD people…few humans are kinder than vets.
Turns out this reaction to Rimadyl is fairly common and easily curable with a soft, bland diet*, but I can’t even describe my relief to discover that nothing was horribly wrong. Baylor is a challenge, a menace and a pet only a mama could love (and even then, sometimes Mama gets worn out) but he’s a good boy and rarely complains and I couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to him.
*However, should this happen to your pet, TAKE HIM TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY. Don’t self-diagnose.
This is the dog with an iron constitution. This dog has had 4 owners, moved 3 states, walked/bussed/cabbed all through the streets of Seattle and now has 2 – 5 sets of legs surrounding him and kicking him around* at almost any given time. From the human perspective, perhaps it’s just the life of the dog…but from a dog’s perspective, I’d say he’s sort of doing the best he knows how with what he’s got.
*I mean not literally, but you know, just generally being in his space.
￼For my little guy’s sake, I’m glad his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer is over. Fortunately, I don’t think he knows the difference…but with no camping trips or major vacations planned, I think we’ve got a good shot at a vet-free fall. 🙂