Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When it’s really pups and kittens at work

Sue likes to ask me each day when I get home, How were the puppies and kitties?

Yesterday at work I was serenaded my entire shift by a 20 week old French bulldog. He had on an e-collar for a scratched eye and was singing the blues, which sounded a little like an ewok with a mouth full of peanut butter.

He was a solid 20 lbs, a brick of black fur, flat face and a whole body that wiggled, we decided, because he had so little tail.

When he finally fell asleep, he snored.

Compare this with a later, petite patient. My day ended with an appointment with a sweet 13 yr old Chihua with a host of problems: teeth, knees, heart. She kindly submitted to an exam and then blood draw. Then Tiny Dog came out to say hi and everyone applauded the mirrored looks and natures, and this brought much merriment. 

Always handsome. A sweater in the summer? Below 70 degrees!

These two appointments fulfilled what my teenage brain thought being a vet meant. I will be the first to say it’s a tough profession on your brain, heart and nerves some days. But I have to pause when we have these cushions amongst harder hours. Viva la small dogs! Thank you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An eyeball story, part II

A pair of pants on the floor is an instant nest. Wren seeks comfort in easy places.

It’s been 10 weeks that Wren and I have been struggling with our relationship. She got a slow healing eye ulcer (I think from wrestling with Tiny Dog who likes to jump on her head), and I was the one with the medications, sneaking up on her, with cookies in one hand, drops in the other.

During this time, I took her to work three times. She flattened herself as small as she could get in the parking lot each time, and then sat by the back door, blinking at all of us. I had to carry her to the exam room, and she was a patient patient, always has been. This is how I think she survived the puppy mill. Hunker down, it will be over soon.

Today, though, it’s a mid-summer miracle. Her eye is healed! I brought tools home to check the corneal ulcer (finally figured this one out: that one should bring things to Wren, not schlep Wren to the vet). And voila. 

I am relieved and Wren, well, she has to be. She’s not squinting and rubbing.  She has a white scar where the ulcer was, and vessels branching into it. The vessels are what finally made things better—they brought powerful messengers to get things going.

She still needs drops to reduce the scar for the next week or so, but I hope she knows I do all of this out of love. I still get plenty of kisses. 

Wren epitomizes grace and forgiveness.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The chi trio and I drove across town to try out a new dog park. It’s the kind of summer day with a wide, blown open blue sky with cumulus clouds that makes your heart sing.  A cool breeze (Tiny Dog started her day in a fleecy), and lovely lovely sun. I chose a park open and vast, and when we got there, mid-week, morning, only three other dogs were there. 

The park starts with a small wooden bridge and suddenly Wren’s leash went taut. I looked back and she was pancaked on the path. NO way, she said. That bridge will eat me.

So I carried her, her body rigid with fear. And lo, we made it across ok.

Above, swallows cut the blue sky. At one side of the park you could hear kids yelling at the city pool, at the other side, lowing cattle at the country fair at the coliseum.

George ran ahead, tongue out, Tiny Dog jumped up my left calf, and Wren was my body’s shadow, behind.

I picked up Tiny Dog—the view was better up there, of course. And it was a long way around, for her. A puggle joined us for half the loop, and I thought about the latte I wanted when we were done. Mostly though, I looked up, I looked down, I kicked up dust, and I called to my pups.

This is why WI folk brave the winters. It’s these days of perfection, right in our laps.

And after the park, a nap in the sun is imperative. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Have dog, will travel

This is me, trying to write a text, three noses nosing my hands away from my phone. This small slathering of tongues really is the best part of my day: all that love at once, and insistent: pay attention to US.

Over the 4th we drove six hours north to a cabin, and I spent the ride in the passenger seat with Chibi and George asleep on my lap, with Wren occasionally rotating through. Wren is like me as a kid, eye on the road, no matter how tired she is. Like she’s watching as a way to keep the driver alert and all of us safe.

When we got to the lake, the chihuas and Atticus followed me down the steep red rocks to the beach, even Tiny Dog traversing the vertical. I carried her over the larger rocks at the bottom until we got to the sand. And then she wanted to sit on my lap. Wren was nervous about the waves so pushed into my shoulder, and George ate whatever dead things she could find.

Up at the house, on the couch or on the porch, the three would go wherever I went. Book in my hand, dogs around my feet and looking up, as if asking: What next, mama, what next?

Naps, I say, naps.

Atticus is the king of fun, as well as the destroyer. Ate the badminton shuttlecocks, grabbed the 5 yr old girl’s kite, breaking the string, and played keep away, shaking the kite with happy vigor (insert Sue running after, insert swear words). The girls, on the other hand, mingled under the net or decided to go back inside and watch from the screened porch.

There were cocktails, there was BBQ. There were snacks to drop on the floor for eager canine mouths below.  Room to room, I had eyes on me, and often 2-3 warm small bodies, asleep on my torso and legs, after a jaunt outside.

In the car, on the couches, down the dirt road on foot—at home or at the cabin—the dogs are my home that goes with me. My own tiny house.  Made of pointy ears, exuberant kisses and I can almost not believe it. It feels almost too fantastic.