Monday, January 18, 2010

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." ~ Ben Williams

Except when that puppy has about a quarter of an inch of gross tarter on his teeth and he has the most disgusting, nasty-ass breath EVER!

Meet Joe...

Yep, all 5 pounds, 6 ounces of him. Yes, he's also the one with the nasty-ass breath. What's that joke? He has "Zackly breath." It smells "zackly" like his ass. Actually worse, although I don't really go around smelling dog butts. Yeah, well, anyway....we adopted him last Tuesday from the local animal shelter. He was in a large dog run all by himself and came over to the front of the run to greet me, tail wagging. If he could smile, I think he would have been grinning ear to ear. But then, a smile like that would have revealed the gross teeth, so perhaps that's why he chose to just wag his tail, look me directly in the eye and proceed to lick my fingers when I stuck them through the chain link to touch him.

The people at the shelter said they thought he was about two years old, but we found out later he is more likely about 5 years old. Joe's supposed to be all white, but his coat, particularly around his feet, ears and under his eyes, are stained from lack of care and irregular bathing. And somebody gave him a real bad haircut, like with kitchen sheers. It looks like they chopped the hair off in clumps off the top of his head.

We've already had him to the vet twice. The first time just for a check up and rabies vaccination. I didn't take him to our regular vet. Dr. Chris' office is about 15 miles out of town and I thought rather than driving out there I'd check out a vet that's only a block or so from where we live. We could have walked over for our appointment had it not been raining. The new vet proceeded to tell me that Joe's mouth was infected, which was why he was coughing, and that his teeth were pretty bad and needed to be cleaned. Okay, no problem. They will clean his teeth when he is neutered tomorrow. In the meantime, the vet gave us antibiotics for the infection which we were to administer twice a day ~ once in the morning and once at night. That was last Thursday.

I've had lots of animals over my lifetime - dogs, cats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese - and have never had a difficult time administering meds to any of them. It's generally just part of the routine and you learn to do it quickly. But Joe did not take well to having human fingers attempt to shove even the most itsy-bitsy, tiny capsule down his throat. No matter how quickly or how far down his throat we'd try to shove it, Joe would gag, cough and maneuver his tongue just perfectly and spit out the little white and yellow capsule every single time. By the third or fourth try, the capsule would be wet and sticky and nearly disintegrated, but no matter how wet or slick or flat it would become, Joe's little tongue would find it, grab it and roll it back to the front or side of his mouth and then slowly shove it out of his mouth from between his little teeth. Just when we thought we were finally successful, we'd stand watching him for a couple of seconds, then "chkkkktowt" and there it would come, that mooshed up, wet and slimy capsule on the tip of Joe's tongue, and it would sit there stuck to the hair around his mouth. It was comical. It would take both of us to get the job even partially done. Tom would hold Joe so he couldn't squirm away, I'd do the shoving. After 5 or 6 tries, Joe would have ingested maybe half of the antibiotic powder inside the capsule simply because it would continue to get wet and disintegrate with each attempt. No amount of peanut butter or wet dog food could coax Joe to just swallow those damn pills and by the end of each session, Tom and I would be exhausted from sheer frustration and fear of hurting this tiny yet determined little dog.

After our bout Friday night, Tom decided to take Joe into our regular vet's office Saturday morning, regular office hours for them. He wanted to have Dr. Chris or one of the other vet's take a look at Joe's throat. We're thinking at this point that maybe his throat is infected or swollen or both. We are also thinking that a liquid antibiotic would be a hell of a lot easier.

Saturday night meds time...a half a dropper of liquid antibiotic on the back of Joe's tongue...a quick squeeze of the bulb...down the throat it goes...easy, peasy. Thank. God.

Over the past week, Joe has followed us from room to room, laid at our feet while we are standing at the sink washing dishes or sitting at the table having breakfast, lunch or dinner. While I am working in the office, he sleeps in the chair next to me. When we are watching tv, he sleeps in Tom's lap. He doesn't seem to be bothered by loud noises or new people. I vacuumed Sunday morning and it didn't seem to phase him at all. My in-laws came over yesterday for dinner and he greeted them with the same enthusiasm he greeted me the first time.

This is my mother-in-law...

She is in her mid-80's and now walks with a cane.

She and I didn't hit it off in the beginning (over 40 years ago). But as time has passed, we both have changed, we have overcome our difficulties and grown to trust and care deeply for each other. I have never, ever seen anyone as good with babies and kids as she is.

One thing that has not changed about my mother-in-law is her dislike for animals. This is a woman who has demanded that our cat be taken from the room because she is afraid it will rub up against her leg. This is a woman who always refused to go out into the yard to meet any one of our dogs, cats, sheep or any other animal. Even when our neighbor brought her horse over to take our grandkids for a ride, my mother-in-law wouldn't even go out on the porch to watch. This is a woman, when met face to face with one of our cats or dogs, would respond with a resounding, "SHOO! SHOO!"

Yes, this is that same woman...

with Joe in her lap! This woman who said, "SHOO!!" to all other animal invaders, asked for a towel for her lap, then proceeded to reach down and pick Joe up and place him in her lap. And she sat there for quite some time with Joe in her lap, stroking his coat as he slept quietly.

Many times yesterday afternoon, Tom and I exchanged that bewildered, wide-eyed-What-The-Hell-Is-This???-look.

Will wonders ever cease??

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