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Sunday, August 19 2012


All to often I find myself quoting Danny Glover in the movie Lethal Weapon,

"I'm just too old for this."

Stress has its way of taking a toll now. Yes, we handle what fate throws at us one day, but then we spend the next day sleeping like a pride of lions in Africa. The collective "we" refers to the dogs and I, not to Other Half, since we lounged in bed all day, and he had to work. Hah! We are all still recovering from the stress of yesterday, and he will undoubtedly join us in The Land of Slackards when he comes home. But hey, somebody has to make some money to pay the vet . . .

Our adventure began Friday night. I fed the dogs lunch before I left for the office at 2 pm. At 2:30 pm, Other Half, who had worked the night before, awoke to find Dillon throwing up in bed. Isn't that the way most people wake up?  He got up to find multiple piles of undigested food in the bedroom. So he called me at work.

"What did Dillon get into today?!!"

I had many answers for this, as in the very short time Dillon is outside unattended he could have consumed:



fallen branches


a lead rope

siding on the house



rocks in the driveway

a yuppy on a bicycle in neon colors and tight shorts


At some point he has attempted to put all of the above in his mouth. I know that while he was INSIDE the house, I personally witnessed him with these items in his mouth:

a lead rope
a kong
a kong dumbell
a rope dog toy
a paper towel
a dish rag
kitty litter

I distinctly recall pulling yellow and purple rope fibers from between his teeth, but what made him sick? That answer is a crap shoot.

He was alone outside approximately 20 minutes. Inside, he is a canine Dennis the Menace, so I keep a pretty close eye on him. But here's the rub:

He's a year old Labrador Retriever!

He could have anything in his stomach from a license plate to a piano!  Labrador puppies are like sharks in cuddly packaging.


If it fits in their mouth, it goes down their throat. If it's something big, it can be "disassembled" so that it can fit in their mouth, and thus go down their throats.

So normally the report of a dog throwing up doesn't concern me too much, but a one year old Labrador throwing up immediately gives me pause.

I returned from work ten hours later and Dillon was offered his supper. He refused.  Now this is a red neon flashing sign.  This is the robot from "Lost In Space" swinging his arms wildly, chanting,

"Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"

It was 12:30 am on Saturday morning.  We decided that Mr Dillon had an appointment with his vet as soon as the doors open. We tucked D-Man between us and went to sleep. At 5 am I was jolted out of bed by Other Half shouting,

"Dillon is throwing up!"

That's it. Off to the Animal Emergency Clinic we go . . . .


By 6 am we see the vet. It is $95 to walk in the door. They estimate the cost will start at $1200. Throw credit card at vet. By 6:30 am they are x-raying his tummy.  The $1200 does not include any abdominal surgery, that's just to put him on fluids, hospitalize him, and start looking for the problem. We begin to look down the road at $3000 to $5000 surgery.  Eegaads.  We discuss it, but there is very little to discuss. This is Dillon. He is a young, vibrant, healthy, happy puppy with his entire future ahead of him. He has already shown that he has that spark of "something" that defines him as one of the "great" dogs in your life.

And so, the decision is made to juggle money, juggle ranching priorites, tighten the belt even more than it already is, and fix him.

We regretfully leave him at the hospital and try to return to life as "normal" while we wait. Other Half goes to work. I try to get some sleep. Sleep eludes me. End up making lots of deals with God to save my dog. Still cannot sleep. Get up to phone Dear Friend Who Is Married to Our Retired Vet. They have now moved to their retirement ranch.

Wonder of wonders, he answers her cell phone. I explain problem with Dillon and my concerns that I waited too late to take him to vet.  By then I am sobbing.

Fortunately, being a vet, he is used to sobbing and can interpret "Hysterical Woman-Speak."

"No, you won't lose him. Yes, he'll recover. Yes, he'll be fine. Yes, you caught it early enough."

He patches my emotional wreckage back together and I feel better. Dillon will survive. (We may not be able to afford hay for the winter, but Dillon will survive!)

Other Half calls. He cannot wait for vet to call him back. He has phoned clinic and got results: no obstruction!

Do the Snoopy-Happy-Tushy-Dance in living room. Border Collies watch me in shock. Surely Mom has lost her mind.

Go to work. Deal with two rather disgusting issues, then meet Other Half at the vet clinic. Visit D-Man.  He is wearing an apron around his neck to prevent him from pulling out his cathater. He looks like an idiot. We all three go for a walk. Ask vet if Other Half can take Dillon home with him after work. No.

Ask if I can take Dillon home after my shift. Maybe. If he eats at 9 pm and doesn't throw it up.  Go back to work. Wonder again how normal people live.

Phone rings. Another dead man.  Sigh . . . will this day ever end?

God smiles on me and this turns into a "hurry up and wait" call once I get to the scene, so night shift takes it from me when they come on duty. I am able to pick Dillon up and get him home.

A half-dressed Other Half greets us Dillon at the main gate and the Happy Homecoming begins. Dillon is happy to be home. We are happy to have him home.

So 24 hours later, Dillon settles back into his memory foam mattress, with his favorite humans on either side, like book ends.  He is happy and they are thankful to have him back.

The Border Collies have done the accounting and are questioning why you would spend that kind of money on someone who would eat the siding off the house . . .

. . . someone who could eat a block of wood next week . . .

I have only one answer to this:

because it's Dillon!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 05:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Glad he is ok and I know how you feel.... when mine are tossing their cookies it scares the wits out of me and my emergency vet has received many a late night visit. But the $$$ are worth it to have them back with us.... and I wish I could figure out a way to screen what went into the mouths and down the hatch. Susan
Posted by Susan on 08/20/2012 - 08:26 PM
Glad D-Man is back home again and on the road to recovery!
Posted by Sharon on 08/20/2012 - 10:48 PM

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