Last week I planned a week of card preparation. My father always sent personal holiday cards and I have been doing the same for…well since 1964.
So I designed a modest card (actually a piece of 8 1/2″ by 11″ paper folded in fourths and printed on my HP color printer). I loaded my printer with paper and ink and watched a couple Netflix comedy specials while the printer was working. Next I tackled my address list. Sadly, the list is shrinking, but a number of great names are still in my holiday thoughts.
Then, still watching Netflix, I started putting addresses on envelopes. Whoops, I did a bunch of them backwards; had to reprint the addresses and continue on.
Everything was going along well until early Wednesday morning when I noticed one of my dogs, Sandy, had a long string-like thing sticking out of her mouth. Still bleary eyed, I cut the string and realized I probably should be taking the dog to the vet, but it was early. So I had my coffee, took a quick gander at the newspaper, looked at the clock, 9:05 a.m., and said, yes, the time was right. I could call the vet office and tell them I am coming, but first I had to locate the dog.
I called for Sandy. Nothing. I walked around the house calling. Nothing. I went outside in the drizzle and called. Nothing. I walked to every corer of the yard and called. Nothing. Back in the house. I opened closet doors and cabinet doors and nothing. I tried to talk the other dogs into locating Sandy, but they just wagged their tails and smiled because I was paying attention to them.
I actually got quite frantic. After a whole hour of looking, I called my neighbor Gerri and asked if she could come over and help me look. Gerri usually can straighten out difficult problems. She came, peered under beds, in closets and walked all over the inside and outside of the house and had no luck finding the dog. When I showed her a piece of the string I had cut off, she said, “That’s dental floss.” Dental floss? Sandy, the nosey, always ready-to-eat beagle had eaten dental floss?
My mind was racing. What if the dental floss had become fatal and she crawled under a bush and just died there? Next spring would I find a pile of bones? And in the midst of all this, one of the other dogs brought Gerri a present: a dead mouse! Gerri called for a paper towel and we disposed of the mouse — something that had NEVER happened in my house before! Back to being frantic. If the dog disappeared, what would I tell people? Why did I have to have that cup of coffee? And the holiday cards….all three dogs make an appearance on the cards, and now Ill have to start over!
Desperate after having looked for two full hours, I made one more walk around my yard. I wanted to check the back gate once again; could she have escaped? When I turned around, there, behind a small bush in a corner next to the wall, a wall whose color blended with the dog, there was Sandy…lying down, eyes closed. “Oh God. Is she dead?” No, she opened her eyes and started shivering. Hallelujah!
I called Gerri, told her the good news and asked if she could come back and help me get Sandy in a dog crate. I also called the vet’s office and found out the doctor was in and he could take us. I carefully coaxed Sandy away from the wall and into the crate. Gerri and I carrying that heavy crate must have been a sight. We were both breathing like mountain climbers when we finally got the crate in the car.
Dr. Muratore of Legacy Animal Hospital was at first very gentle with Sandy, carefully pulling at the floss, but not dislodging it. He then asked to keep the dog for sedation, etc. He later called and said when he pulled the string, Sandy’s rear end buckled and that meant x-rays, whole intestine involvement, and surgery. OK, anything. I wanted that dog back home and well.
Once Sandy came out of surgery, Dr, Muratore called. He has a great sense of humor. After I thanked him for helping Sandy, remarking that I was glad he knew how to fix the problem, he said,”No worries. I just Googled ‘dog eats dental floss’ and followed directions.” Actually, he had to make two surgical incisions, one in Sandy’s stomach and one in her lower intestine to retrieve all the dental floss. He said had we waited a couple more days, Sandy might not have lived. He also said Sandy wasn’t his first patient eating something unwanted. He once did surgery on a larger dog that ate a whole kitchen towel!
A dog consuming a bunch of dental floss is not an every day occurrence, but the doctor said he had seen similar problems in cats who get a notion at the holidays to consume tinsel. (Cat owners take note.)
How did Sandy get a whole package of dental floss to eat? After investigation, I think she opened a drawer in my bathroom and simply took a small box of floss. Sandy is sneaky and sometimes finds things in cabinets and on shelves and proceeds to use them as chews…or consume them. Her back-yard poop is often quite colorful.
Sandy is back home now — a very tired beagle and I hope wiser for the experience. At least my guilty feelings have been dissipated; the vet’s office is now richer, and the holiday cards are going out as originally planned.
Yahoo! A happy ending.