City dog not feeling like city slicker today

Hope I'm healthy - paws crossed!
Hope I’m healthy – paws crossed!

Yesterday my mom found evidence that I had tossed up some of my recent meals. The first sign was a messy spot on the bedroom carpet but the second time happened on tile in the hallway. My mom was SO grateful but she also freaked out.

She dashed to the phone and called our nearby vet. She soon learned the difference between vomiting and regurgitation, something she said she’d be just as happy not knowing. What I just did falls into the latter category. It comes from my esophagus and is potentially more serious.

Neither my mom nor I know much about my esophagus but my mom knows the meaning of “serious” and “x-rays.” Luckily our vet suggested giving me a bland diet (can you say “rice?”) all weekend and then we will see what happens.

My mom also made a mad dash to a pharmacy to get me some Pepcid. The store clerk, she said, got confused and tried to suggest a generic with a different ingredient. My mom knows “famotidine” from my previous tummy upsets. She is a pro.

So last night I was subjected to a small bowl of rice, with more of the same this morning. My mom was thrilled to see that I have no other symptoms. I’m alert and playful. There is nothing wrong with my appetite (although that rice thing will get old pretty fast) and I even did my business this morning. (That’s probably a LOT more than you wanted to know.)

My mom said she didn’t realize being a dog owner meant taking a minor in gastroenterology, whatever that is.

She also pointed out that she’s embarrassed to buy all those stomach medicines so she makes a point of telling everyone in the drug store that they’re for me. Like, who cares? She even wants to label the products in the medicine cabinet so people won’t think she’s got all those ailments as she gets older.

My mom is keeping her fingers crossed that I’ll be better by Monday. She said she just recovered from Ophelia’s departure, Pumpkin’s skin infection and Pumpkin’s cold. She wants healthy animals for at least six months.

Ouch…we all go to the vet

City dog weighing in at the veterinarian's office “This week is going to be hellish,” my mom said. “So we might as well do everything we all dread.” So she decided to take our feline housemates to get their teeth cleaned. And since I am getting better, we decided I’d get a rabies shot update too.

As usual, I had a good time at the vet’s office. While we were waiting our turn, several other owners commented on what a great dog I am. “So beautiful,” they said. “So well-behaved.” Chloe the receptionist came over to give me a quick massage and tell me , “Gracie, you are such a wonderful dog.”

My mom put me on the scale. I’m down a few pounds. Well, no wonder. If you had to eat that awful bland diet, you’d be a poster child for weight loss too.

Creampuff’s anesthesiaq-free dentistry went swiftly. Ophelia of course was the Drama Queen of the day. She yowled all the way in the cab and made her feelings known in the reception room. Then the vet discovered she has a cavity so she has to come back and get anesthetized. Dr. Clare drew blood while Ophelia loudly proclaimed that she was on her last paws and not long for this world.

Luckily we had no trouble getting cabs each way. My mom gave the drivers big tips. She was so grateful that they took the whole family.

As soon as we got home, Ophelia headed under my mom’s bed. I must admit I couldn’t resist teasing her a litlte. She was waddling around anxiously, as if to say, “Don’t make me do that again!”

“For wahat I pay in vet bills,” the mom said, “I could have a long vacation on a Caribbean beach.”

As Tony Soprano would say, “Fuhgeddaboutit.” Cathy hates beaches. She’s an urban person. She’s happy in Seattle. She needs us.

But just in case, I’m on good behavior the rest of the day….well at leaset an hour.

Dog is under the weather…

…and very nasty weather it is too. We’ve had about 5 days of rain without interruption. My mom misses the desert.

On Monday the vet was open (although there was a holiday) so my mom took me to the vet. Dr. Clare said, “Gracie is not as bright as she was last Thursday.”

True. I was feeling like the world should be one big nap.

After poking and prodding, they stuck needles into me. The diagnosis: It seems I have something called pancreatitis. Expensive but ultimately curable. As a dog, I don’t get into the dollars and cents. But I want to get better and go back to running around, driving the mom nuts and walking with my Aunt Sara. Instead, I am lying on the bed or my mom’s counch. Creampuff just ran over to comfort me. Ophelia has ignored me. No surprise there.

My mom shoves nasty-tasting things down my throat all day long. “I have to give Gracie 5 pills a day,” she told soeone one the phone. “Dogs are worse patients than cats.”

Really? At least I don’t have to be force fed. I nibble at my food and eventually eat it. I like to go for walks. I even try to play with other dogs we meet.

My mom hates being sick. For once, we agree on something.

The $100 Poop: Don’t Read If You’re Squeamish

My mom Cathy lives on the Internet but she’s shy to the point of being ridiculous when it comes to talking about certain topics. When she got the First Dog, she had to figure out how to tell the vet that Keesha wasn’t um…doing her business…yeah, that kind of business.

Now Mom’s a pro and she knows that we dogs need time to adjust our digestive systems after we get adopted or move to a new city. But back then she was a certified cat fanatic, desperately trying to learn how to be worthy of her splendid new dog.

Mom’s also discovered that dog owners actually look for ways to discuss these solid matters.

When Cathy lived in New Mexico, for instance, she was a volunteer marshal with the Tour of the Gila bike race. She and another volunteer were posted at an intersection to stop cars from running down the bikes. Naturally she took Keesha. And, she tells me, Keesha took the opportunity to make a very large deposit during one of the traffic breaks. The other volunteer (a cute young school teacher) called out, “Feeling better now, Keesha?”

Mom wanted to hide under her own signal flag.

So she wasn’t surprised when a neighbor in New Mexico commented, “Big poop for such a small dog!” (although she really didn’t know how to respond). Or a current neighbor commented on my output with, “Wow, that’s really solid.”

Alas, I have a delicate tummy and I eat everything in sight. On Wednesday we rushed to the vet because I had produced blood along with the usual products. The vet gave me a shot (ouch!) and pills (yuk – I’ve gotten really good at spitting them out). Mom paid just over $100 for all this.

Nothing happened. Cathy emailed the vet with a frantic message and was advised to “observe” me for 24 hours. No problem. I sleep next to her while she works so she observes me all day long.

Then it happened. Perfect. I get to go back to normal food. Mom can take her gaze (and her mind) off my rear end. I still get a few horrible pills but I can deal with them. dogs cost money

Mom calls it the $100 poop. But she doesn’t complain. “At least Gracie didn’t wake me up at 2 AM for an urgent call of nature. We live on the third floor of a city apartment.”

Mom gets healthier…dog gets hungry

My mom was getting really tired of my finicky digestive system. So she bought some bland diet food at the vet and Mallory,me at the vet the vet tech, gave her a measuring cup.

“When Gracie’s on a bland diet, move her back to the regular diet very slowly,” Mallory said.

Here’a a photo of me with Mallory (on the right), the vet tech, and Ruth, the office manager, when I visited the vet last March. I’m trying to keep their attention focused on my front end.

Ruth remembers when Cathy first adopted me. “Doesn’t look like the same dog!” she always says. Well, I’m now a Cuppie: a Canine Urban Princess.

Cathy realized she hadn’t been measuring my food, the way she had with Keesha, my predecessor.

“Hmm…maybe that’s why your tummy keeps rumbling,” she said. So now she measures my food — 2 cups a day.

If I don’t eat, it’s gone. No more food for me to nibble when I’m in the mood for a quick snack. My only hope is to sneak over to the cat food.

Then Cathy decided she should walk more. Translation: we will walk more. So yesterday we walked all the way home from the dog park. I’m exhausted. Cathy is too, but she won’t admit it.

“If there’s any justice in this world,” she says, “I would be skinny.”

No comment. You think I’m gonna go there? I’m heading straight for my cushion, saving my energy for the next sock available for chewing.