I never thought I’d be envious of another dogs poop. Of any poop, regardless. But I am. On a recent weeknight Whiskey came down with a bad case of “scare the crap out of your owners” which includes (but is not limited to) two (decently) intelligent people sitting on either side of the dog on the bed discussing if he is dying, trying to be calm, fingering their vets “emergency only!” cell phone number like Vegas good luck charm and talking about the irreversible effects of the emergency clinics bill (if they went) versus what indicators they had that Whiskey’s windpipe could be blocked or damaged.
See he wasn’t breathing well. While I quoted the need for oxygen to stave off oh I don’t know, brain damage (and lets face it *no* one in the Robertson household needs any help with that) Brandon quoted the need for us to understand what the symptoms looked like before we made a rash decision that cost us part of our vacation money (or vacation).
So we went to Google.
Google told us that his windpipe probably wasn’t damaged. It also told us a lot of other things that in turn made us more worried or less worried depending on which site you were on at the time. However, we finally broke down and called a real living human being (remember those?) who told us (for free!) how to check his pulse and breathing rate (both within normal range) and temperature (put what where?!?). Which we declined to do. You can’t even find his butthole under all that fur! You go ahead and try. Plus whenever I have tried to find it his tail clamps down like a guillotine and you do not want your hand under there when it closes. I have never seen a tail so strong!
So back to the poop. Anyways… thanks to the call to my sister in law who has worked off and on at vet clinics for years we were able to decide to wait. In the morning his energy was still really low but at least he was breathing better. He spent half the night taking turns sleeping on me and Brandon (literally on us, on our chests) to elevate his head above his body so he could tilt his snout up to breathe better.
We arrived at the vet, scaring off potential playmates by saying the dreaded words “You might not want to let your dog get too close as he was up all night with “something” and we don’t know what if anything he’s got.” I would get a perplexed stare from the dogmoms and then a supportive “Well he certainly looks like he feels well!” and I would have to explain that –oh no, he’s usually 10 times as hyper and alert as he was at that moment. Funny, at his “sick” level he was brought down to the lowly level of most dog’s energy. But our Whiskey’s got energy to boot.
Turns out he had bacteria in his gut and colon. Yuck. We got a medicine that would increase his need to “go” (both ways) and would require extra trips out to the front yard. We arranged to come home a little more and let him out, and had to go back to the crate during unsupervised times due to some unfortunate misunderstandings about where to “go.”
The dog is doing better but we’re still closely monitoring the front yard (poop field #1). We were thankful that things finally got back to normal (as of Wednesday) so we could all resume our lives (post antibreathing event). For the entirety of the medicine, and almost a week after, it was so opposite of normal I can’t even begin to tell you. It’s like someone turned on the chocolate pudding spout. Gross. And let me tell you… there is no scooping that stuff up. No way. It’s unscoopable.
Also, just so you’ll know if you’re mowing your yard and you’ve forgotten to scoop it and you step in it- you *will* slide down the hill like you’ve step into a boston cream pie on a slick floor. Don’t ask me how I know this, and please don’t ask me what the outcome was. I don’t want to talk about it any more.
So recently I was letting my mother in laws dogs out while she was away and on one of my mornings to do so I realized I was staring enviously at a nice solid example of healthy poop. I was envious. And pondering poop. And gas. Because apparently the bacteria in his body has caused some excruciating pain as gas built up. I’ll be so glad when this too has passed. No pun intended. Doc thinks we picked it up most likely on one of our hikes since he does things like drink unknown water sources and nibble poop. Back again to poop. I never thought I’d spend so much time pondering poop, or being envious, or being frustrated with the huge chocolate pudding piles all over the front yard. These are the things they don’t tell you when you get a dog. I am forever changed.
I cannot praise our vet enough. He’s a real dose of calm fresh air for me. And Whiskey loves him. If you’re in need of a good vet, just go there. He’s fantastic. Wish us luck on our poop recovery. We’re pretty much in the clear but I’m still watching closely for signs of bacterial survival rates. Or a resurgence of new bacteria that he might pick up on another hike. Just the price you pay I guess.
Homewood Animal Hospital
Dr. Mike Kilgore
501 Scott Street
Homewood, Alabama 35209