I knew I couldn’t go as long and as hard as I’d been going without the wheels coming off at some point. The wheels started coming off Thursday night. Beauregard came to me with “that” look. “That” look is the look that my tummy isn’t good and I’m going to hurl if you don’t let me outside. I do not tarry when he gives me that look. I spring into action and let him outside. After around 20 minutes there was no puking, but I knew he wasn’t right. So I gave him the hydrogen peroxide treatment. A tablespoon, wait a minute, a tablespoon, wait a minute. Usually by the third or fourth tablespoon, the hurling has commenced. Not tonight. There had been no drooling earlier so I was pretty certain that it wasn’t torsion. I sat out there for an hour and a half with him. No puking. Then I decided to take him to the Contra Costa Emergency Veterinary Hospital. I am a frequent flyer here. They diagnosed Xica’s vestibulitis. They stitched up Beau’s side when he mysteriously tore it open one afternoon. I’d left the back of the house open while running down to the health food store around the corner for a snack. I was gone maybe 45 tops and I came home to a gash in his haunch. Several hundred dollars later he was stitched back up. Ten days later, I forgot to put his cone on him while I took a shower and he tore the stitches out, resulting in another $150 to staple his butt back together. These are the guys that I went to when he went out and laid flat in the back yard one day. He’d had a terrible bout of diarrhea in house that day. Something was terribly wrong. My friend Chuck had just lost Squiggy, his black retriever, suddenly on the table and I was terrified for Beauregard. I took him in and they looked very serious and suggested he’d contracted parvo. Dobermans and Rottweilers can be vaccinated for this and still contract it apparently. I knew it was going to be over a grand to save his life, but they just needed to save his life. As I left, signing off to $1200 in charges, someone yelled from the back “Don’t let that lady leave”. I immediately started bawling. I just knew that Beau’s fate was similar to Squiggy’s. Finally an assistant came out and said “He just passed something, we want you to identify it”. It was a piece to a big rubber bone that the dogs had gotten for Christmas. The blockage was probably cleared, but he was in grave shape and would have to be hospitalized for the evening. That was one of the longest nights of my life worrying about that dog. He needed to be hospitalized all day the next day and then that night he came home. This is also the vet he went to when he was attacked by the pit bull. So, I’ve got a pretty long history with these guys. Beau’s pretty popular with the front desk. They took a look at him and decided that he might have bloated and then corrected. Or he might have had a little tear in his spleen and corrected. Or he might have eaten something that didn’t agree with him, but it wasn’t poison. Or he might have been bitten by something. I was worried about him so I had the dog walker come by on Friday. She called to say he wasn’t looking good. I forgot to ask about his gums and she graciously returned to the house to check his gums. They looked good but he was still punky. I made an appointment at a new vet, around the corner from the new house for 6pm on Friday. I left work 15 minutes early and caught the right BART train and got to Concord on time. Started up the BMW and it was running pretty rough. Pulled it out of the parking space and it died. Dead as a doornail. Right there. 5:40 on a Friday night. So I call BMW to come and get the damned thing and after weaving my way through the voicemail menu I finally get to a person who has a script they can’t deviate from.
“Can we quit screwing around and get a goddamn tow truck out here, I’ve got to get my sick dog to the vet.”
“Could you repeat your VIN, it’s not showing up in our system?”.
Finally at 6:50, yeah an hour and 10 minutes later, the tow truck shows up. I’d called Harry to come get me and take me home, but I couldn’t stop worrying about Beauregard. I should have worried about my new carpet. Whatever he ate that didn’t agree with him was puked out on the carpet. Lucky me. I found the Spotbot in the nightmare garage and got it all cleaned up, maybe. We’ll see if we need to run it again.
Then came Saturday morning. 4am. Bonecrushing headache. The kind where you have to get up because it hurts having your head touch the pillow. So I got up, drank a little water, took a handful of Advil and laid down for another two hours. 6:30a.m the headache has not subsided and I really can’t put my head on the pillow at all, so I get up and make some coffee. Sometimes the caffeine will alleviate the headache. Not so today. The contractor was scheduled to come back and do the French doors with me. I called and cancelled. Then I hurled. And hurled. And hurled some more. Back to bed and slept until 1pm. BMW called to say it was the battery. BMW batteries cost $450 to replace. Don’t ask me why. It seems like bullshit to me, but I didn’t want to talk to the service person on the phone and puke at the same time so I agreed to it. And the alternator belt is shot. And the rear brakes. $1500 later they’ll call me when the car is fixed. Called my friends to say I wouldn’t make dinner tonight and I would try to make the flashlight tour of the Winchester Mystery house. 5:30pm I ate a quesadilla. 6:30pm I revisited the quesadilla and told my friends that I would be eating the $50 ticket to the Winchester Mystery house. I went to bed around 7:30 last night. Today is a new day. Hopefully this morning’s coffee will stay where I put it and I can get back to my life.
The best part of owning a Doberman Pinscher
Mom, if you’re feeling better, I’d like to patrol the perimeter.
They know when you’re hurting. Beauregard spent all of yesterday snuggled up to me. Never being any further than a few feet away from me. Leaning up against me, checking on me every few minutes. I belong to a listserve called Cyberdobes. Yesterday one of the members passed away. I did not know her beyond the list. Never met her in person. She was well regarded and that’s hard to come by in Doberman circles. She was killed by breast cancer, in Breast Cancer Awareness month. The thing that brings wonder to the story was the fact that her Doberman, Sugar Ray, discovered the cancer. He poked and pushed at her chest until she finally listened to him. He was poking and pushing at the cancer. She beat it back then, but apparently it came back with a vengeance and now Sugar Ray has lost his Mom. To all the politicians that would ban these dogs, to all the media that demonizes them, to the insurance companies that refuse to insure homeowners who have them, I say this. You’re wrong. These are the most amazing animals. Ban the deed, not the breed.