I’m logging in about 17 hours of sleep for the last 4 days, & half of that was in 30-60 minute increments. I’ve been misspelling words; I’ve caught it twice but who knows how many other times it’s happened. I’ve been forgetting about things that I never expected to forget because I was just looking at them an hour ago. Alzheimer’s does run in my family but I think I just need to get some rest.
Maybe tomorrow. It’s too late for a Xanax today; I’ll oversleep if I take one now.
2011 has, so far, been a very rough year. My impaired memory can only go back so far, but in February we had to get my house tented. I live in my grandparents’ home, where I stayed with them until they passed in 2008 & 2009, here in their house. Now it’s just me… & 4 dogs & a cat. And a guppy.
Getting the house tented was important, but being homeless for 36 hours with 4 dogs, a cat & a guppy was daunting. I had been planning to get Jack neutered, in the hope that he would stop being so confrontational with Madeline, who is 4 times his size & has rather large jaws. Madeline has taken shit from Jack since she was a puppy, & generally always been fairly easygoing about it, but you could see her patience was wearing thin, & in the last few months Jack had gotten bitten, although it seemed to do nothing to dampen his attitude. I booked Jack’s surgery for the day of the tenting, which would leave me with 3 dogs, a cat & a guppy to house overnight.
Fortunately my brother has a kennel at his house, which is where Boomer grew up (Boomer’s dad, Gunner, is my brother’s oldest dog), & I arranged to have Madeline & Chie stay in the kennel with Boomer in the house with his dad, sister & uncles (my brother, like me, has 4 dogs), & my cat & I would crash in the spare room.
Getting your house tented, especially if you are the sole human occupant, sucks. Seriously. There’s no other way it can be. There’s no way to prepare so that it won’t suck. But for minimal suckage, I highly recommend going through your refrigerator & freezer the week before & throwing out everything you don’t care about or can’t identify. Same for your cupboards. Do not buy any groceries. Having to double bag all edibles that I intended to keep in the few nights before the tenting really, really sucked. It might be worse for me than for other people because I have OCD-type issues about organization & order. I actually ended up taking things out of the bags & re-bagging. And then I’d see something else that I knew should go into the back of the bag I just sealed, & I’d try to ignore it but in the end I’d end up re-doing the bag again. It was a nightmare. No, it did not occur to me to take a Xanax.
Also know that any shrubbery you have growing near the house is going to be included in the tent. My folks & I spent 2 days pruning & lopping in the hopes that Terminix would spare some of the more rare flora that my grandparents had cultivated, with no luck. Even with enough room for someone to walk between the plant & the house, it was still deemed not far away enough. None of the plants died, but it looked like they did for a couple of weeks.
Transporting everyone to my brother’s place in Kaneohe was rough, having the 2 girls outside, scared, in the kennel, was rough, & having the vet call to say that Jack was being difficult & they wanted me to pick him up early was rough. I also got pulled over, on my final trip, for doing 73/50. The cop heard Honeygirl wailing nonstop in her carrier & decided to let me off with a lecture, after petting Chie on the head, because he could see how fucked up my day was. When I finally got everyone home I wanted to kiss the ground. It was so good to be home! Jack had to be kept in the front yard because he had stitches on his nuts & a funnel collar, & he howled in misery until I brought Chie to stay with him. Basenjis cry tears, & when I had picked him up at the vet’s I think he had decided that I had discarded him, & his face was matted with tears as he lay staring at nothing. It had taken him a moment to realize that I was there to get him, & when it sunk in I had to carry him out because he wouldn’t let me put him down. It sucked that they had to stay in the front yard for the 2 weeks of convalescence the vet instructed for Jack to have, especially since there isn’t a lot of shelter. I tarped an area & it was really ghetto & sucky for them but it was only going to be temporary. I was just glad to be home. Life would get back to normal shortly.
I was wrong. One afternoon I had all 4 dogs romping in the front yard & the neighbor’s dog came charging out to the fence. Madeline of course was all over the fence doing the “Fuck me? No fuck you!” thing, which generally stopped after a few seconds because I would step in & chase her off. This time, the neighbor’s other dog, a little French Bulldog, also charged out & things got very heated. The Frenchie’s infrequent appearances are apparently very refreshing to my dogs’ aggression levels, & somehow in the frenzy Boomer attacked Jack; he latched on to Jack’s side & wouldn’t let go. In fact, he kept biting down harder & harder, which was around when I realized my finger was in Boomer’s mouth & needed to come out immediately. No sooner had I gotten Boomer off of Jack, Madeline nailed him & fucked him up pretty bad. My right forefinger was also pretty messed up; the entire right half of the nail was ripped off. I could barely do anything between dripping blood everywhere & shaking. Fortunately for me, my parents live in the next valley & they came over & helped me mobilize Jack (who screamed every time we had to move him) & drove us to Feather & Fur in Kailua, which was open until midnight.
The veterinarian there patched Jack up nicely; there were no broken bones but he was going to have to wear the funnel collar for a week to keep him from messing with the staples. I went from horrified to panicked to a different flavor of panicked to not wanting to have dogs any more to heavily blaming myself for not having my dogs under control & the last one has kind of stuck. I booked an appointment with Leonard of Sit Means Sit because it was apparent that this situation was not under control.
So Jack & Chie were sentenced to staying in the front yard for an indefinite period of time, & I decided that I needed to find Jack another home because I just didn’t trust Madeline & Boomer any more. I knew I needed to tighten up the discipline, but I couldn’t let Jack get attacked again while I figured it out. I cried for 2 days. I blamed myself. I still blame myself. I should have seen the problems when they were still small.
Naturally there were very few candidates to take Jack. No one wants your dog; they want puppies that will start off their lives as their dog & their dog alone. Also, Jack being Jack he needed a household where there would be someone home all the time, because Jack can’t stand being alone. Everyone I emailed either responded with regret or didn’t respond at all. And it was torture because giving Jack to someone else wasn’t something I wanted to do.
And then last Friday Boomer threw up his food & looked sick. I gave him peroxide to induce vomiting because I thought he might have swallowed a mango seed from the yard & obstructed himself, & ended up taking him in to the vet where he tested positive for Parvo.
FUCK MY FUCKING LIFE.
This is because I forgot to get his boosters, which were due a month before, & because my life wasn’t hard enough. Parvo is one of those things you never want your puppy to get. There’s a very high morbidity rate, even with treatment.
Fortunately we had caught it very early. Boomer was hospitalized overnight but released to me the next day, because he had eaten food & kept it down. However, once home Boomer began refusing food & water. My work week begins on Saturday, & having to go to work & not know if Boomer would still be alive when I got home was torture. When I was at home I was out of my mind worrying about him getting dehydrated, checking his nose because I was worried about fever, endlessly reading forums & articles about Parvovirus & trying to figure out how I was going to pay my charge card after dropping $600 at the vet.
Thermometer (with sleeves – puppy temps have to be taken rectally)
A medicine dropper
On the 3rd day, the vet told me I could give Boomer Kaopectate for his diarrhea, & that seemed to help a lot as well. On the 4th day Boomer still hadn’t eaten & was still lying listlessly around the house, resisting the droppers of Pedialyte as much as he could, but he had yet to get dehydrated. I ended up dropping another $200 for a CBC which showed him at slightly low levels for various things, an antibiotic shot & a subcutaneous fluid injection. The last was performed by inserting an IV inbetween Boomer’s shoulder blades & then squeezing out half the IV bag into him.
The IV also contained B12, & must have helped Boomer feel significantly better because when I got home that night he ate. I actually cheered & clapped. I was afraid to feed him too much. The next day (today) he remained ravenous & has so far eaten every meal given to him. I mixed Kaopectate into his meals & I think today (Day 5) he made normal poop. I say “think” because I’m not sure which poops are Madeline’s & which are his, but there was normal poop in the area of the yard that Boomer normally goes in, & no diarrhea anywhere in the yard. Also, if it’s all Madeline’s poop then she went 7 times.
Last night I got a call from a teacher at Leilehua who heard about Jack & would like to meet him. He sounded like a really nice guy & he is coming over here on Sunday. Part of me still feels like crying, but the other part of me imagines the life that Jack might have without me, being someone’s only dog. I spent some time with him & Chie out front & he laid his head on my knee, staring into my eyes. At first I wondered how I could let him go when he loved me so much – & believe me, he didn’t love me when I first brought him home; he’s a Basenji & you have to earn it. Then it occurred to me that with 4 dogs, a cat & a guppy, the amount of quiet moments Jack would have to lay his head on my knee would be scarce, for all his life. And I thought maybe, with someone else, he might have more of those moments. I want him to have that.
So it’s been a rough year so far, but I am working through it. I still have hope that there will be some happy outcomes. I just have to wait a little longer.
Also, today is Chie’s birthday. She is 3 years old. I have special breakfast, lunch & dinner planned for her.