Friday, August 14, 2009

Vet Bills for Takoda

The cow dog is happy to round up sleeping seagulls and chase them back into the ocean. He would not hurt them and has proved on many occasions. When a sick bird drifted into the waves and ultimately to the shore to die, he pushes the bird with his nose back towards the water. In 10 years, I have never seen this dog hurt anything. The Malamute, Takoda is known to chases cats, or anything that runs. She also has a mind of her own and when we walk the beach, she goes to the edge of the beach to smell and see what the humans have abandoned. Once the sun sets and we can no longer see her, no matter the amount of pleading, threatening, begging, promising treats we do, she is on her own path. She magically appears, as we load the van with wet dogs and head home. We give her leniency for holding her hostage while we work in a 10 x 14 back yard. Takoda is our angel, our amusing dog that is perpetually shedding and a happy spirit welcoming everyone in the world with a wave of her paw.

Last night at the beach, she wondered as usual, only the few days she didn’t eat her food (always a cause for concern in a 120-pound dog), and then my husband said that aliens had been coming into the backyard stealing dog poop. With a simple Fruit Loop test, I knew where the problem lay.

The Fruit Loop test is a game where Gary takes cereal and lines it up on the table and flicks it at the dogs. They all lunge for it and gobble up the rainbow goodness. This game makes Gary howl with joy and the dogs rejoice in his glee. The next day, each of the dog’s leavings is a rainbow of color and being that the dogs are of considerable different sizes, it is easy to tell one from the other. This conversation happens nightly in our house, the color, consistency, amount, and texture of their poop. It is like a thermometer with the kids.

Bottom line was the Malamute size (colored or other) was non-existent. I give her my elixir of olive oil, mineral oil, and caster oil mixed with raw egg and rice ensuring movement within an hour. Two days went by with no movement and I was worried. I love this dog and would do anything to make her live as long as I do. We took her to the emergency vet, and was diagnosed with eating something toxic ( I am immediately blaming the kids for leaving pot or some other nefarious substance out). She flushed her subcutaneously and said to wait for it to all come out. Three days go buy and still nothing from the either end of Takoda.

I make an appointment with a new vet and she trots happily in (no matter what the agony Malamutes are always happy). He puts in a small room, takes her weight, vitals, and says he will be right back. While he is gone, all the home medicinal remedies I have been giving her explode out Takoda’s ass. Like a geyser it is coming in full force and she is running from it and so am I in a 4’ x 6’ room. The vet tech hears the screaming and comes to rescue us, but it is only rewarded by being covered in squirting dog excrement. We finally stop the geyser and get x-rays. We discover she has eaten a very dead and decomposing seal and that she has the worst case of salmonella poising the vet has ever seen. He flushes her, gives us $300 in pills to help, and sends us home. My dry cleaning bill was my responsibility.

Why you should never let a dog lick your face

We are walking the dogs along the beach and I notice that one seems to have something stuck to his behind. He has been in and out of the water, so I figure it is just some seaweed. The white version of seaweed keeps poking its ugly head from my dog’s ass and we argue about whom should take a closer look. Being Mommy and well versed in things coming out of asses and removing them, I lose the argument. The last time the dog barfed on the carpet during Thanksgiving dinner, I picked it up as our friend commented, “Thank God there is a Mommy here, no one else would pick that up”.

I raised the dogs tail while threatening his life if he moves. I realize that the protruding object is a Tampon. A used tampon, eaten, and digested that is trying to free itself from his ass. This is too vulgar to imagine and yet it is there in front of my eyes. I can imagine the dog stepping on the garbage can peddle to poach this thrown away delight. I have to breath deep not to vomit in my mouth.
I explain what it is to my husband and another argument launches about whose responsibility it is to remove the cotton soak gross thing from our dog’s butt, as it clearly is not leaving of its own accord as he has been running down the beach in and out of the waves for an hour.
An environmental argument also erupts on how to dispose of the disgusting anal blockage once I have achieved my goal. I finally corral the dog and remove the third-time-used offender into a plastic bag.
This story is too gross to share with anyone, though I get great pleasure from doing just that when unsuspecting clients ask me how my weekend was.

Our dogs at the Beach

We have two very different dogs that we take to the beach every night. We do not have them on a leash, because I would never put a nose around someones neck that I love. One is Austrian Sheppard (Tripper) the other is a Malamute (Takoda) who lives for the olfactory pleasures. She wants to sniff every morsel of sand as is her nose can tell her who was on this beach twenty years ago and twenty minutes ago and that is her purpose. She is a Northern Breed and ornery she must keep just our of our sight so we abruptly turn every few minutes to see if we can spot her white tail curled up and leaning slightly to the left. She cares not for the water, preferring to keep her dainty paws dry while the other dog’s surfs the biggest waves.

Each night as we wind down with the dogs as they search every inch of beach for a scrap of food left by wayward tourist. They are not on leashes. We are breaking the law. We watch the sunset as we keep an eye out for tourists with foo-foo dogs and beach patrol cops.

When the walk is over and we climb the stairs to the surfer showers. These are primitive cleaning facilities, mostly long poles with multiple showerheads spaced around it for the surfers to wash the sand off their wet suits and boards. The dogs know the location of the lowest showerhead and after a race up the stairs (all dogs think that stairs are raceways) they stand their panting and waiting for me to push the button so they can drink of the fresh shower water. They bite at the water and it usually means I get more water on me then they do in their mouths.

I am there for the sound of the waves, the joy in the dogs face. When the word Beach is uttered in our home and healthiest form of exercise known to man. Walking the beach, feeling the breeze off the ocean, hearing the whale’s breach and dolphin’s blowhole is the only gym for me. No membership fee required, just the smell of wet dog forever embedded in my car.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Amazing Grace

Seeing as many movies as I do and existing in an idyllic life with a great husband, living in paradise and the kids grown, my mind tends to wander to romantic situations. (This may have been heightening by the fact that I spent the last three weeks in bed and stumbled across Soap Opera’s for the first time in 20 years). My husband took such good care of me while I was sick, when a glimmer of hope that I might survive inducted itself into my brain, I wanted to thank him in the most romantic way possible. I did not want it to be just a regular gift, I wanted something that would ring out to the whole universe how much I love him and the gratitude I felt for him running my life, store, businesses, and etc. while I blew threw boxes of Kleenex.

My answer appeared before me as I picked up my prescription from Von’s. Parked next to me was a car sign for a professional bagpipe player. I called the number immediately, and although he was visiting from San Francisco, he agreed to meet us on the end of the Pismo Pier at sunset and play Amazing Grace.

An explanation is due here. Our very first time sailing was on a tall ship called the Yankee Clipper. At sunset, the Scottish captain called for the crew to raise the sails and as the wind filled each sail with a sound that reminded me of angel’s wings beating, he played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. That magical moment has been seared into our heads. Everyday no matter what is going on; we stop what we are doing, go to the beach, and watch the sunset. I have Amazing Grace on Cassettes, CD and on my I POD, but never have I been able to produce a live performance.

So I picked Gary up at work at 5:30 and gave him a madcap story of how today was going to be a exceptional sunset (I told him a web of lies that included planets aligning and marine layers) and we were going to enjoy it on the end of the pier with champagne and treats. As we walked down the pier, he said over three times, all we are missing is Amazing Grace. At the perfect time, our bagpiper appeared dressed in full Scottish gear and began our song as the sun set. It was a perfect moment. Gary was so surprised and I trust it conveyed my deep love and appreciation for him. Everyone on the end of the pier loved the performance and we applauded not only for the bagpipes, but also for the sun.