Not Quite the Worst Case Scenario

I was leaving for Nashville in less than 12 hours, so it was unsurprising that we found ourselves at the vet – Gwynn had gone from limping on Monday to having trouble getting to his feet on Thursday.  A thorough exam later and we were sent home with the diagnosis of ‘strained muscle in back’, some muscle relaxants and instructions to come back next week.

I headed out to Nashville (awesome place!) safe in the knowledge that my family had it covered in the Dog department.  Frequent check-ins reveal they’re still only taking him on short walks, but the meds are doing their trick.

Almost exactly a week later, I’m on a bus somewhere in the US and getting a frantic series of texts.  With pictures (that I’m not going to share with you because you’re welcome).  In the winning submission for most traumatic belly-rub ever, Doodle discovered that Gwynn’s “back issues” were actually from an oozing, swollen and painful wound fully hidden in the thick fluff of Gwynn’s armpit.  From what we can tell, he must have hit a tree branch at speed when we were last out in the woods.

This was his ‘stoned Cindy Lauper Lamp’ phase.  
Painting by numbers:

10 days the dog was in pain before we properly identified the issue

6 hours and a border crossing away from him when he’s checked in to the vet.

4 days at home during which time I could have identified the issue before it became so terribly infected

2 days at the vet with the worst blunt-force injury my vet had EVER seen, requiring a great deal of surgery to remove infection.

4″ of stitches along his arm-pit, that, because it had been sitting for so long, still had a huge amount of infection.

6 pills spread out throughout the day to combat pain, swelling and infection

7 days before he could semi-comfortably make it around the l

10 days during which the wound oozed nearly constantly, requiring the living room to be coated in a constantly refreshed layer of towels.

To add insult to injury we got the stitches removed yesterday at the same time as he was diagnosed with a skin infection on his nose.

It’s not the worst case possible, I keep telling myself, but it came far too close for comfort.

On a more positive note, Gwynn has been thoroughly enjoying the freedom I’ve given him from leash during his lamp-phase.  That and the food – I don’t think the dog will willingly go back to kibble.  He’s eating better than a university student home for the holidays.


Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This week on Write on Edge, the Red Writing Hood prompt was:

write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about a time someone crossed a line, legally or ethically. Explore the motivation of your character and possibly the consequences of his or her actions. In 450 words or less.

Check out the other responses, or post your own by following the RWH link above.

Apparently I’m feeling a bit maudlin lately.  This continues right after Cheap in the Necessary storyline.  If you want to read it all in order, check out the Fiction tab at the top of the page.

The picture below is by Vivi, click on the image to check out more of her work on Deviant Art.

I shivered in my underwear, shifting uncomfortably on the toilet lid.  Face cupped in my palms, I felt the icy water falling from my hair, dripping down onto my legs and drizzling down my calves.   I struggled to maintain some kind of composure. I was tired of being that girl.  The crying girl.  For once, I’d like to get mad or sad or flustered without that prickling sensation behind my eyelids, the blurry shiver of salt water welling up and blinding me.

The narrow strip of vision I had showed a vacant sink, the overflowing garbage can, cheap crumpled paper towels scattered around it.

“Your shirt is almost dry,” Joanna called out, over-loud above the rattling whoosh of the old hand dryers.  “I don’t know about your jeans, though – you might just have to put them on damp.”

“O-“ I croaked.  Coughed, tried again.  “Ok, thanks.”


“I said OK!” I tried to sound cheerful.

A few minutes later, she passed my newly rinsed and dried shirt over the stall.  It still smelled like gravy.  Or was that my hair?  I ignored the wet that soaked through the shirt the moment I flicked my braid behind me and snagged the damp jeans from the door.

Beggars can’t be choosers.  I sighed and swung open the stall.

“Are you ok?”  I asked, surprised.  She’d been all fire and fury while helping me rinse smears of starchy potatoes out of my hair.  Now, she looked worse than I did.  Her eyes were haunted and watery, her face was drawn and haggard.

A grin fluttered weakly across her face, but crumpled in an instant.

“What’s wrong?”

“Her brother-“ Joanna pressed her fist against her mouth.  I tried to remember ever seeing her as upset as this before.

“What?”  I laid a comforting hand on her arm, but she stepped away.

“Nothing.  It’s just… nothing.  I should never have said anything about him.”  She hugged herself tight, staring down for a long moment.  She met my eyes and whispered, “Do you think I’m a bad person?  Like… really bad?”

“What? No!”

“You were mad at me for not caring about your feelings.  And I…  Katie and I… we used to be friends.”  Eyeliner tears traced black down her cheeks.  “And I used it against her, just like I did to hurt you, only… worse.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat.  I couldn’t believe she was acknowledging that behaviour so openly, so apologetically.  The difference between now and that night at the club was like night and day.

“You were just trying to protect me.”

She let out a sob and sank to her knees.  “I used her dead little brother to hurt her.”


I very briefly mentioned the possibility of Sadie being rehomed in my previous post.  It’s been about a week since her owners first brought it up with me (via text), and I’m out of that weepy/murderous/relieved phase of emotions that wells up at the thought of them getting rid of her.  Enough that I can talk about it, at any rate.

I lie.

I just wrote out the most vitriolic post, and I’m not going to post it.  Suffice to say, Sadie’s owners make me SO ANGRY.

a dog with a great recall, despite the fact that it is practiced only twice a week.

A very shortened version of the list of their crimes:

They don’t: walk her (at all), have her fixed*, train her, socialize her, trim her nails, feed her decent quality food, know how lucky they are to have such an amazingly sweet tempered dog in spite of themselves.

I suspect they don’t: keep her up to date on all her shots, love her.

I suspect they do: hit her.  I know you should focus on a dog in the ‘here and now’, but I don’t pet her on the top of her head, because even the gentlest approaching hand in the above/side of head region causes her to flinch down.

They do: want to breed her (probably with the idea of making money, because they are stupid), have a 15(ish) year old son, but choose instead to pay me (barely) to walk her.  I suspect he would have preferred a ‘tougher’ looking breed.

They are considering getting rid of her.  They think youngest son’s asthma could be increased by Sadie (as opposed to the two long haired cats in the house that require less time/money/energy to maintain in good health… interesting**), and, while they’re still unsure of it, let me know this.

SO full of making-you-allergic, it explodes out my ears!

I want to tell them that it must be Sadie that’s causing their son’s breathing issues.  Whatever excuse for her to not live with them.  I want to tell them, not a problem, just give her to me.  I want to be sure that in their next lives, they are treated just the way they treated Sadie, but I can only hope.  I want to take her home and get her fixed and teach her that getting her nails cut isn’t too bad, and teach her to ‘down’ and ‘stay’ and ‘leave it’ and ‘play dead’, and not go on the couch, and get rid of her food guarding, and maybe do some agility with her, because she’s super smart.

I live with my parents, and my dad is about to go in for a knee replacement surgery.  They might love having Gwynn, but they aren’t interested in being a two-dog household.  I would love to take her, but the best I can do for her is try to find a good home for her, and, if necessary, keep her for a few weeks (and training her a lot!) while looking for that home.

Yup, definitely not out of the weepy/angry phase… relief might come back into play once they determine once and for all that they’re going to get rid of her.

*this is not a comment on all people whose dogs are unfixed, or who intend to breed their dogs, this is a comment on irresponsible, stupid jerks who see their dog as a possession they can make a profit off, instead of a living creature and part of the family.

** I like cats a lot, don’t get me wrong.  But in the grand scheme of allergens, cats are generally higher on that scale solely due to their cleanliness.  All that allergen-filled saliva-bathing does a number on your sinuses.