I had a tough time Wednesday evening. I was not alone. Let's start at the beginning with a tad bit of background.
I have the 3 wirehair dachshunds: Oscar, 11; Bruno (twins), 11; and Sadie, (say slowly) "Sadie-Is-Four-Years-Old." My baby girl, Sadie, is slowly coming out of her puppy-behavior years and has developed the ability to bark at any object: people, squirrels, delivery trucks, leaves falling, sticks, anything.
Bruno has one great love: Eating. He can do his share in barking if the mood hits. We have this one great big white bird (?Heron?) who likes to walk up and down our waterfront. This is usually too much for a self-respecting, over-weight dachshund. Of course, he only barks from the back porch. It is too much effort to lumber down the hill to our chain linked fence and bark.
And, finally, the cause of my sadness, Oscar, is my Ball Boy, possessed. I understand that if you find a dog that can be possessed with playing ball or Frisbee - or something like that - that singular dog could become a great drug dog. They will find drugs just to be able to get the ball again. Oscar is this way. Eleven years ago, I once wrote a song about Oscar called: "I am my dog's toy." Yes, as he ages, he is slowing a bit. While we were able to play thirty minutes to an hour, now he seems to tire after 15. Or, it could be me that is tiring; and, Oscar is taking mercy on his good ole dad. Dogs are smart and would know if I am tired. I've noticed Oscar can be so very, very compassionate.
"BALL!! BALL!! THROW THE DANG BALL, STUPID!! HURRY!! QUIT MESSIN' AROUND!! THROW THE DANG BALL TURKEY FACE!! NOW!! BALL, I'M WAITING!!"
As explained in a previous writing, on Wednesday I give the dogs 1/3rd can of soft dog food with their normal dry food, mixing them together in order to prolong the happiness. I am not sure this was THE issue which caused our problem. I mention it merely as a thought and to help the time line. The dogs were fed about 4:10 that afternoon. Greedily, the soft food was gulped. The boys never chew anything. WE swallow all food whole if at all possible. On the other hand, Sadie chews every bite, every small kernel, every sliver of food. I swear she must count to seven with each chew.
Supper over, we go to the backyard for Oscar's ball playing session. While Sadie will play a tiny bit before becoming bored, Bruno parks his body on a back porch cushion to stare out across his estate - unless, of course, he has decided it is time to share his "woo" with the dung beetles. I threw the ball down the hill; Oscar snatched it in mid-air; I stumbled down the hill; I threw the ball again; Oscar watched the ball land within 3 feet of his nose; he made no effort to retrieve.
This is not normal. I threw it three more times. He made no effort and, in fact, he began to slowly walk up the hill to our back porch. If I threw the ball in front of him, he might pick it up for a foot or two. I gave up; Oscar gave up; we went into the house. Sadie stayed outside to bark and roll in the grass. Obviously, there was something down there that needed rolling on.
Around 5:30, I could tell Osccar had lost his energy. He parked on a couch with his head down. By 6:30-7:00, he seemed even more lethargic, if indeed he could. My wife and I started to watch some TV as we do every evening. Oscar gave out a little moan and started pacing about. I called him to me. That didn't work. So I got up and felt his sides. They were as hard as a rock and extended out. He moaned and started pacing again. Next came his efforts at vomiting. Nothing would come out except foam.
I started looking up extended stomachs on my phone - aren't smart phones marvelous? What I read gave me great concerns. Extended stomachs were usually caused by gas - bloating in the stomach. They started a listing of which dogs are most affected. It seems that if a certain dogs gets this problem, the stomach will roll over - yes, roll over. When this happens, the blood supply to the stomach is cut off and the dog will die in a few minutes. Now, I'm telling you, this got my attention.
I won't tell you how miserable Oscar was (and us too). He paced. He attempted to vomit. Nothing. He did drink water, lots of water. Somewhere, between 8 and 9, I started looking for a vet. Apparently, our vet doesn't work after hours. His voice mail suggests driving to an emergency room in Mansville - about an hour plus away. I did try to leave a voice message; but his machine wasn't working correctly - the message was so soft I couldn't hear. I gave up.
I started to guide Oscar to the dog pit to see if he could have better expulsion out there. I stepped into the hallway, and a string of enormous bits of dog poo (woo, as we call it) extended down the hallway. I called my wife to work on the hall as I tried to get all 3 dogs to walk carefully towards the door. It was just luck that nobody stepped on anything. My wife did a great job.
Next, I had her call the vet and leave a message. Her message scored. The vet returned the call which I took while standing outside in the dog pit. Oscar was walking the perimeter moaning, trying to vomit, and panting. I won't relay the entire conversation; but, it is safe to say that by its end, I had made up my mind that Oscar would be dead by morning.
The Vet made one final suggestion as we ended the call. I was to give Oscar a spoonful & a half of Pepto Bismo. It seems that Pepto will / can break up the air bubbles in the stomach. It was a major project to find the P.B. and the device we use to squirt liquid down the dog's throat ... Hypodermic needle thingy without the needle.
I suppose that I was able to get about a half spoonful of juice down his throat. Apparently, dogs don't like pink stuff. One of MY efforts against HIS resisting effort ended up with a big squirt on top of his head. Boy dogs don't like to wear pink on their heads.
You don't know what it is like - or maybe you do - to sit in a chair with your dog lying on a cushion at your feet panting, breathing extremely fast, gagging, and looking up into your eyes as if to say, "please help me." I went on my knees and loved him. As I describe this, I still get emotional. I was losing my boy. Once again, I swore to never get another animal that I had to watch suffer like this.
I tried off and on to push more Pepto Bismo down his clinched jaw. Some made it. Then, at 11 p.m., he stood up and was fine. His stomach had relaxed. No more gagging. We went to the pit where all three emptied their bladders. We came back in, and Oscar grabbed a ball. It was over. On Friday, we got him to the doctor. His stomach is still a bit big. The doc thinks he may have an enlarged liver or spleen - we did not Xray. All seems to have passed.
I do not like feeling like I did Wednesday evening. I know Oscar didn't. Bruno and Sadie could have cared less what was happening. It was the saddest thing to have happened to me since our Greta died at the age of 18 about 2 years ago. I am not strong when it comes to my puppies.
P.S. AS AN ASIDE. Dog food from cans is now OUT unless I buy the really expensive stuff. Instead I am looking at giving them boiled chicken breasts on Wednesday nights. They will be happy either way. Who doesn't like a good boiled chicken breast? -- or baked? -- not fried!!