Animals — And Why? We Love Them

oz & ki'o 1218Perhaps you will recall that one week ago today Lynn and I braved the wilds of big-box shopping in Montrose and came away with our first official new-home purchase, an area rug that was the only one in the entire stack we liked.

For half of the week, we had it rolled up and leaning against the crawlspace door, but then I noticed an area of the back looked rather mauled, and I wondered if Marrakesh had used it to sharpen his claws.

So we put it down between the couch and the TV, where it doesn’t quite fit without lifting the couch and sliding the rug under (and we could do this, but we thought we would officially place it in the living room, which we can’t do until I get done with office holiday party prep/clean-up). In what seems to be a constant theme of our new house, Lynn is sad that the rug isn’t as big as she was hoping.

This rug is five feet by 10 feet, 50 feet square in a house that is 1,500-1,600 square feet of living space. So, just six days after purchase, and about three days after being put down and Lynn wondering if the furniture protectant we got from Miller Furniture would work on rugs ( we don’t have any more on hand), Oz chose that out-of-the-way, not-anywhere-else-in-the-house place to throw up.

And not the easy-to-clean kind of toss your cookies that dogs sometimes do. No, this was a soak-right-in retch — and very dark in color on this light rug, just for extra emphasis.

The day before, as he was doing his early-warning system notification that barfing (not barking) was imminent, he was near the door, so I just ushered him out. And yesterday, sometime post-rug despoiling, as I was knocking out the 40 pounds of snow packed into each wheel well of my car, he donated, twice, to the front yard. But the one that counted he saved for the new rug.

Perhaps, as you are commiserating with me about the no-longer-new rug, you glossed over the part where my dog was sick four times (that we know of) in two days. We’re not happy about that either.

[What you cannot know is that there was a very long pause here while Na Ki’o draped himself around my neck like a fat, purring stole — and I couldn’t even see the computer, let alone type. I am going to be late for work again.]

This dog arrived with a nervous stomach. He had been a ward of the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League for three weeks prior to his arrival at our house, and while they mentioned his severe separation anxiety, no one said anything about digestive issues. They gave us a vet record which consisted of one recent check-up (it also noted it was his first visit to that clinic).

We tried. We asked GVAWL if they could ask the original owners what they were feeding him and if there was any history of digestive issues. I frankly don’t think anyone put an ounce of energy into our request. GVAWL couldn’t even get its story straight on where he came from. Originally we were told Parker, then Colorado Springs, and then a third person insisted it was Denver.

I did, in an instance of kismet, intersect two cross country skiers one day not long after we obtained Oz, and I heard one of them say to the other, “That looks like Ozzie.” “This is Ozzie,” I said in surprise, stopping in my tracks. It turned out they were the volunteers who had driven to some Front Range city (I should have pressed them more closely on where exactly this was, but at the time I didn’t know it was going to be an issue) to transfer Oz from his old home to his temporary stay at GVAWL. They did add that Ozzie happily helped himself to their bed that night.

My policy on veterinarians long ago switched from one of loyalty to whomever seems best suited to whichever animal has what immediate need. (I don’t actually do nearly as well at applying this philosophy to my own medical needs, although I should.) One local vet tried several inroads toward solving Oz’s digestive malfeasance, but made no headway. A second informed us that it was acceptable if Oz threw up every fifth day. It was time to shop out of town, so we made the acquaintance of Dr. McClure of Tiara Rado in Grand Junction (and I found an overlooked check to me from the school district in a pocket of the backpack I took, so — good day all around).

She ran several tests, found nothing significant, and decided to put him on a course of steroids and change his food to one for joint protection — because inflammation is inflammation, she said, so what helps joints will also reduce puffiness in his digestive tract.

And it worked. No more random upchucking. He went for months without a mishap, and wasn’t groaning nearly as much, although he’s a talky dog and it’s hard to tell what means distress and what seems comfortable. And he and Lynn singing together — well, it’s an experience, we can leave it at that.

But now, for no clear reason — it’s all just been bilious — he is spitting up once again, and sadly misjudging the best place to do so. (For the record, that’s the kitchen, where it is easiest to clean up.) Although, since Lynn thinks the rug is too small, perhaps this is the excuse she needs to buy up. I’ve been moving a lot of stuff in and out of the house getting ready for the office party (which went well, although it ran past my bedtime), and maybe that made him nervous. If so, we could be in for quite the treat when it comes time to start a lengthy packing up and moving process for real. I’m sure that will make quite the impression on prospective home buyers as well.

I do sometimes wonder how much the upheaval in his life impacted Oz. We like to think he has a good life here, but all indicators point to a happy homelife in the Before Time, when he apparently lived with a mom, dad, toddler and baby. Then divorce happened, and — I guess — instead of fighting over him (who got to take him or who had to take him, we’ll never know), they relinquished him. They didn’t want him going to an overcrowded Front Range shelter, and someone knew someone who knew someone who said, “Cattle dogs are popular in Gunnison” — and now he’s ours.

But how do you explain to a dog, when you lead him out of your car and put him in a different one with two strangers (no matter how nice), that he is never coming back to What Once Was? That he is going to go sit by himself in a cold cage for three weeks, until someone who is ready to get a new dog finds him on the GVAWL website and shows the picture to his wife with a wistful smile of hope: “Please?”

Speaking of wistful, Oz used to look with a certain kind of hope at a certain kind of baby stroller. He doesn’t seem to do that so much anymore, and right now he is lolling in apparent contentment on the loveseat that we long ago gave up hope on and turned over to two cats and a dog to do as they wished, so hopefully even though Life is Different it is still Good.

But that does not help explain the stain on the new house purchase.

Technical difficulties: When computers work, they are truly a Miracle of the Ages. When they do not, it starts your entire week off on an irritating note. Now, two hours and two sluggish computers later, I am posting this. Sorry for the delay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mc

 

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