Monday, 5:00 p.m.
Husband rushes to greet me as I pull in. How is dog? Where is dog? He is very sad to hear dog is in hospital. We begin a downward spiral of what-ifs: What if dog dies? Would we get another dog ever? What if dog needs major surgery and ends up without the use of his hind legs and we have to pull him around in a red wagon? Or would we get him more of a wheel chair arrangement? What if our insurance doesn’t cover renovating the house?
After reveling in this for a while, we clean out truck. Or rather husband cleans out truck. I retire to bed to continue dwelling on worst case scenarios. What if vet accidentally euthanizes dog after getting him confused with another dog? What if vet sells dog for medical testing? What if another dog with rabies bites dog and we have to put him down like in Old Yeller? What if I’m the one who has to do it? What if I miss and hit a cat?
Begin wondering if I might have some form of pet owner’s Munchausen by proxy disorder. Poor, poor dog.
Word has gotten around campsite about sick dog. People begin to stop by to pay their respects. I feel a bit like royalty lying in wait in the Trillium. Or Tony Soprano.
Vet calls. Dog seems much better. I neglect to mention this to the next neighbor who stops by to ask how dog is. It looks like I do have Pet Owner Munchausen By Proxy. Wonder if Jonathan Kellerman might end up writing about me. Sure, his detective Alex Delaware is a child psychologist. Maybe he can have a mid-life career change and become a vet. Or a pet owner psychologist!
Neighbors invite us for dinner. They are very sympathetic. Again I do not mention that dog seems to be on the mend. I really don’t feel like cooking. Definitely don’t mention that dog will probably be coming home tomorrow.
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.
All is right with the world. Show up to collect dog. Cell phone not working so don’t call first. Vet takes me into his office. He’s sad to say dog has had setback and been very sick in the night. Dog is in isolation. Dog’s bloodwork is troubling.
In addition, and unrelated to current problems, has anyone ever suggested to us that dog might have Cushings Disease? Have we ever wondered why dog has ratty looking tail?
Bite back usual snippy retort to any comments about inadequacies of dog’s plume. Finally admit that dog does have a bit of hair loss. But it suits him really.
The bad news is dog has to stay. The good news is, I can visit him. At least he hasn’t been euthanized inadvertantly!
After passing through several levels of biosecurity, get to dog’s isolation chamber. It looks as though they’ve begun medical testing on him RIGHT THERE IN THE VET’S OFFICE! OUR POOR PUPPY! He is passionately, extravagently unhappy. He is wearing a giant plastic hood and has needles coming out of him. Immediately feel awful for using his illness to get free meals. I would even eat fake steak and cook it myself if dog will just get well!
Vet shows me how to hold up IV bag while keeping dog under control. I take dog outside and dog gives me several looks. The looks say: What the hell? And: Hello? What the hell?
I try to get him to lay in a little patch of sunlight on the lawn beside the vet clinic. I begin to see myself as a bit of a vet/nurse combo. I am proving quite good at holding IV. Suddenly, in a trailer across the way, a dishevelled young woman wearing pajamas, begins screaming at her German Shepard, who is attempting to slink away from the trailer.
Goddamn it Spike! Get back here now! bellows the unpleasant young woman. Then she goes back into her trailer and turns up Hilary Duff’s latest CD so loud that the trailer begins shaking. I begin shaking. The dog begins shaking. Poor Spike continues his retreat, also shaking. But the girl is back on the porch.
Spike! GET BACK HERE! NOW! she screams, rivaling the volume of even the horrific Duff.
The dogs in the Human Society impound nearby begin to bark and howl. Poor Spike grovels his way back into the deafening Duff din. And my nice nurse moment is ruined. I give up and take dog back to his isolation cell. Worried that any more exposure to Duff might kill him in his weakened state.
As I leave the isolation unit, dog begins to make otherworldly howling noise in the back of the clinic. Vet kindly suggests dog might stay calmer if I don’t visit. I pull myself into truck for the drive back to the campsite and look over to see horrid Duff fan dancing. Dancing! Music to deafen a dog by: that’s what Hilary Duff is. Beyond that weird thing she does with the big poof of hair at the front of her hair, her music is also used to abuse animals. Down with Duff!
Have spent entire day in bed in Trillium. Calling vet every few hours. Dog seems to be getting better. Which makes it okay that I have been eating the whole time I’ve been in bed. Snyders of Hanover seasoned pretzel pieces. They are the perfect grief food. I wish the neighbors would bring over a casserole. I’m not up to cooking.
Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.
Dog is coming home! No setbacks in the night! Suspect fear of further exposure to Duff may have speeded his recovery.
Husband and I both go to pick him up. We buy him a squeaky toy with 5 squeaks in it! Nothing is too squeaky for our boy!
Husband takes dog for a walk while I get the latest report from vet. Dog has drug regimen that will keep me busy stuffing pills into peanut butter for some time. Husband rushes back to report that dog has just had a … successful … you know. We all rejoice. A corner has been turned. As though on cue, the harridan in the nearby trailer cranks Duff. Fortunately, she lets poor Spike, the deaf Shepard, stay outside.
I gladly pay $800 bill. It’s a small price to get away from Duff. Oh yeah, and to reclaim dog.
It dawns on me that now that dog is on the mend, I’m actually going to have to fish. I can’t get away with spending all day laying in the Trilly eating pretzel pieces. Realization puts a damper on my joy. But still…
Lose anchor for husband’s pontoon boat. Worry will be swept out to sea. That’ll teach me to read when I should be fishing. Good thing was only about 6 feet from shore or it could have been serious.
Lose multiple flys. Casting technique is a bit rusty.
Husband starting to regret dog’s recovery and my emerging from trailer.
Fall in about 6″ of water and slice hand open on barnacle. With blood running freely down my arm, actually catch fish. Speculate it was attracted by blood. Just glad it was a salmon and not a Great White Shark. Husband is very proud or at least somewhat less embarrassed by my antics.
Friday, near dawn
Topple over in about 2 feet of water. Fish for 15 minutes until cold morning air on soaking shirt threatens to give me hypothermia. Go back to campsite to change. As getting undressed, realize that water that got into my waders has settled rather suspiciously around my, um, lower midsection. New group across the way watch as the woman who apparently “couldn’t wait” gets out of her waders. Resist the urge to make excuses. It only makes things worse.
Pack up trailer for the drive home. Breath sigh of relief.