Charlywalker's Blog

{April 6, 2010}   Sad as a Hound Blogs Eye

I had a visit today with the Established Vet to get my dogs nails done and to have one of the last shots that will enable him to walk amongst every other dog. That is, if he were social enough to walk with other dogs and people for that matter.  Charly-dog had to have a muzzle put on for the first time by the Vet Technician, who I noticed, had shaky hands even before we entered the office.

My dog was a little more maintained  today and only allotted himself a minute of barking per person. The Vet Technician (VT) explained that:

“Dogs do that when they have experienced trauma either in the home or out ;or heard a loud noise when you’re not home”.

 Hearing the word Trauma gave me an upset feeling in my stomach and made me hold my head  down in shame racking my brain to try to figure out when and if trauma happened in our house. There’s Drama, which rhymes with trauma, but that’s because I house teenagers.

 The only trauma/drama I can think of was when my mother- in- law last visited; but Charly was barely past infancy and I’m sure he has blocked that Holiday from his bobble head.  The only trauma this dog has experienced is scoping neighbors passing our property peacefully walking their dogs and he finds himself unable crash through the house like the Kool-Aid pitcher barking “Oh Yeah” and nabbing onto a pant cuff. 

I have  been spending a lot of time watching dog shows to the point of now being the most confused I have ever been since bringing this puppy home.  I have taken Charly-dog places, let him witness other dogs in the hood, and have had guest over all in the vain of getting my dog to a level where I can breath easy in public and stop apologizing to every person we come in contact with.

 I actually gave up today on the notion of owning a dog. When I was at the Vet waiting for my dogs toenails to shine, I found myself in a ready position to exit quickly.  My checkbook had a pre-written check with the amount due blank. When the Vet Technician delivered my dog to me shaking and suffering from muzzle shock, I  tore my check out of the checkbook and ran for the exit.

 There were many pets that entered during my puppy’s visit and Charly did not have  a nice thing to say to any of them. All I could sense around me were the glares from the dog owners in the waiting room making me feel as though I must have traumatized this dog somehow without knowledge.  It was the same feeling I got when my son was two and wouldn’t follow instructions from the pre-pre- school teacher and decided to take all his clothes off during play time and sunbathe  on the playground as if he had a VIP card to a nudist colony in Maui. The stares and whispers from the other mothers was just invigorating.

 I tried to remain as calm as the Dog Whisperer and keep my head up high and use my “inside voice” to correct Charly’s outbursts, but I yanked his collar until his bark was a spattered choke and exited in silence. I put Charly  in the back seat and tethered him to the seat belt that would not allow him within a two foot radius near me. I was seething as I drove him back home  and watched as he poked his bobble head out the back window in silence to absorb the ongoing oxygen. I did not want to acknowledge his presence in my car. I did not want to talk to him or look at him. I had horrific thoughts of his escaping through the window at a stop light and me not stopping to get him.

I drove in silence for twenty minutes as Charly RODE in silence.  I pulled  into my drive and stopped the car and told Charly to get out. I took off his leash and pointed to the vast unknown acreage and yelled at him to get out and leave me alone. At that point I didn’t care if he took off running after a car, or ran after someone screaming his barks in protest. All I wanted to do was retreat to my back yard and tend to my garden amongst my quiet Azalea’s.  

I left Charly unaccompanied and on his own in the back yard with out a tethered leash or a fence. I gave him Carte Blanche of the yard without supervision. I went to my garden and took a shovel and dug up last seasons weeds as if I were plotting his grave. I looked up into the sky and watched two vultures circle my area staring down licking their chops in anticipation of grabbing my Chaniel for lunch. I looked up at the predators and glanced back at my puppy perched on the steps watching me. I kept digging and tilling the ground without thought to anything except the possibility of having a peaceful life back and to not  turn around if I hear the yelp of my dog as he’s carried off by the treacherous talons of  these birds of prey. In that moment of  fantasy I saw my dog being carried off into the sunset and my having to explain to my weeping family as to what happened and why is there so much dog fur on the patio.

Instead, I was the one reduced to tears. I stood there wearing  oversized gardener’s gloves on my hands looking like Minnie Mouse  and crying over disheveled dirt infested with winter worms. I sat in the middle of my garden cultivating my thoughts in hopes of a revelation to inspire me to not offer my pup as a sacrifice to the vulture gods and as I sat there I noticed Charly approach me with a languish grin of satisfaction……….and a few feathers following behind him as he brought  me an olive branch that looked like a beak.

I am in dog hell and he has total control. I think I am in need of sticking my bleached head out the window for air……………Muzzle Tov!

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I have been informed by current dog owners (CDO’s) that it is important to get your new dog a “puppy check” a.s.a.p. I am a new puppy owner and have not owned a dog since childhood and apparently this is a  check-up to verify if you have a healthy or sick dog. This “puppy check” will establish him with a Vetinarian to gain a history and secure his records. Hmm…. very similar to what I did when my kids were born, however, that was covered by insurance.  My dog was a quasi rescue and did not come with any records.  Maybe the Vet will conduct a back round check.  I’ll have Charly-dog present a puppy print to be submitted to the canine data bank.

I did not grab the yellow pages and seek out an established Primary Vet right away, instead, I went the cheaper route and did a one stop shop at the local S.P.C.A to get his initial set of required shots.  Also known as “The Clinic”.  I have worked in the hospital environment and for all of you who work or have worked in a hospital environment; back then the word CLINIC meant: “Line ’em up, step right up, one ata time folks…get your shots here..hurry while they last..that’s right little lady don’t be shy”; with a waiting room full of the village people.

My 15 year old son accompanied me to the clinic clutching the pup close to his chest as if he were cradling a football and running for that 60 yard get to the head of the Free Shot Line. We stood in line for over an hour along with other dogs all senior to our pup.  My son tired of holding Charly-dog and decided to set our mongrel down to mingle with the pack, at the ripe old age of 7 weeks.  Apparently my son missed the lecture in the car regarding immunities, vaccines, and death by Parvo!

The line moved slowly toward the table that dispensed the paperwork. They asked for my ID and the name of the dog and DOB.(date of birth). The pup was 7 weeks and was born sometime in July so I made my pre-calculous privately schooled teenage son do the math.

We were then escorted to another table ( the paying one) and gave our donation. We waited in line as  I witnessed the Vet-du-jour give vaccines consecutively to all the dogs as he inched down the line without taking a breath. It came to our turn and I looked at our new puppy resting in my arms staring at me  with those Margeret Keane eyes.   My heart was pounding and I was near tears. I couldn’t watch as this fully Tattooed, braided pony-tailed with no credentials in view VET (?)  approach my pup with a hypo from the 1950’s…….. I made my son do it.

It went so quickly and not one yelp from our puppy, not even a sniff. This master with a needle had a soft touch equipped with precision that didn’t even tussle a piece of fur.  I was so impressed, I slipped the VET a twenty and mentioned that my son is due his tetanus soon and maybe he’s free on Tuesday……..

I may have spoke too soon;  a few days later our pup came down with a doggie cold or as the professionals call it: kennel cough; and, as newbie owners and ignorant about puppy ailments, we did what responsible adults do…….dialed  doggie 911.

It was a weekend and we did not do step one of new puppy ownership: Get Established With A Vet.  So we had to go to an Emergency Vet Hospital, on a weekend, with an On Call Vetinarian….This visit cost nearly the same amount of money as a one nights stay at the Hilton with a spa package.

  The Vet receptionist had us enter through the “sick pet door” where we were quarantined in a corner seat in the waiting area. We were greeted much like a regular hospital E.R.; as their initial instructions were:

“Please sign in and fill out this paperwork”.

Our puppy was lying listless in my lap and displaying shallow breathing. We have only owned this dog for seven weeks and I am presented by the receptionist at the Vet E.R.  with a vibrant blue page to be filled out immediately. I mentioned to her that my dog will be the color of this form by the time I finish with this paperwork.  She turned away smacking her gum to the tune of  Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”……..

  I noticed  at the bottom of this Blue Page there were  two options that required One mandatory check mark:

  Option 1: ( short version) We will take the pet and do everything possible to save it costing you at the least $750.

Option 2: DNR.

I was hoping that DNR had a different meaning than the one used in People Hospitals.  I was thinking that maybe Vet clinics had their own special vernacular and acronyms that pertained to animals, and that maybe their version of DNR meant something less devastating. Like:

Do Note-the Reading-material-while-you-wait……. or…..Dinner Needs Reheating… or…. Did-you Need-to-Rethink-this-puppy-thing?….

As it turned out our pup had a mild form of a kennel cough and just needed a dose of antibiotic and we didn’t need to go to Eddie Bauer in search of an oxygen pup- tent.  Our little pupster came through with flying colors as I stayed curled up next to him throughout the night and day.

I know I inherited this mutt a mere seven weeks prior to his illness and my attachment to him was still in a foreign  stage to me.  I know I was riddled with guilt  despair when I was faced with the decisions of those two options  listed on  the required Royal Page. I know that in those fatal few seconds in between my puppy’s breaths, thoughts flashed through my mind of various views before my pen decided to land in the blank box nestled near the bottom of the Bright blue Form.  My mind was being coerced into choosing between an eight week weakling that I barely knew that could stiff me for a giant Vet bill or Do Nothing Right-now……

I know you are dying to know which option I chose…..

That is not an option………

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et cetera
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