A Glass Case of Emotions

If you’ve been reading this blog for any reasonably significant amount of time, by now you probably know the following things about me:

1. I seriously love to eat.

2. I seriously love my birthday.

3. I seriously love my dogs.

4. I am otherwise rarely serious about anything.

5. I have a lot of feelings.

And while I actually do have something to post about that falls in line with points 1 & 2 (because, you know, I haven’t posted enough about all the ridiculous amounts of food I’ve been consuming lately or anything), today, I shall be addressing points 3 & 5. Thus, recapping the grand birthday dinner I had with my family on Friday will simply have to wait (my mom has been out of town for the past month, so we waited to celebrate until she got back) because I have other things to report.

SO! Let’s start things off with Saturday night and the first time I cried that night. (I told you: FEELINGS.) My wonderful sister texted me earlier when I was out with Sean, asking me when I’d be home because she wanted to Facetime. Given that there is very little that we sisters cannot communicate via our wicked fast texting fingers (honestly, I think between Jenny and me we could probably beat some kinda record), I was already slightly suspicious that something was afoot. I was a little worried that perhaps my older and wiser sister had befallen the myth that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding and my perfect little niece Mia would be getting an Irish twin.

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Say what now?

My suspicions arose further when Jenny proceeded to Facetime me within 60 seconds of walking back in the door of my house, all but proving the fact that she had been stalking me via the “Find My Friends” app. And yes, there was indeed a reason for the call, though it was nothing like what I expected. My sister proceeded to put Mia on the phone (for lack of a better image), and, in a voice that sounded suspiciously like my sister’s, just 3 octaves higher, “Mia” asked me if I would do her the honor of being her godmother.

I mean, c’mon. Do I even need to tell you that this is when the waterworks started?

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Pull yourself together, woman.

I managed to utter a garbled “Yes!” between sobs of happiness, and then proceeded to watch my sister feed Mia prune juice through an eyedropper 1,400 miles away (TECHNOLOGY!). It was really a very special moment… up until the part where, y’know, she spit up prune juice. Which, coincidentally, also happened to be the part of the evening where I discovered the remnants of a VERY THOROUGHLY DESTROYED packet of Orbit gum on the stairs of my house. Which brings us to our second emotional point of the evening.

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Caught in the act.

Oh, the joys of dog ownership. On a routine basis, you might find your dirty underwear strewn about the house, food wrappers fished out from the garbage, or a panic poop in the basement. At least they generally have the decency to act guilty/apologetic about it, although in this particular case Harry didn’t seem to think anything was amiss. Daxter’s guilt, on the other hand, was evident–he does this automatic ears-back rollover thing that is so cute you automagically forget why you’re mad (see above picture). I didn’t think too much of the incident, seeing as how my dogs have eaten a lot worse things than a couple sticks of gum, IMO (like the time Harry ate half a FILET MIGNON off my end table, or when Daxter polished off half a bag of Fizzing Whizbees from Harry Potter World…). In fact, I thought it was funny, and so I posted about it on Instagram and Facebook.

daxter orbit

And it was kinda funny. That is, until I started getting flooded with messages about how sugarfree gum–like Orbit–contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol. And xylitol, unbeknownst to me, is really, REALLY toxic to dogs. Like, not just like “Oh, you probably shouldn’t feed that pizza crust to your dog because they don’t digest wheat as well as humans”-bad, but “Well, now your dog’s blood is being flooded with a huge amount of insulin and his organs are probably going to start failing within the next thirty minutes and HE WILL DIE”-bad.

Yeah… so, in hindsight, I’m gonna go ahead and say that Googling “xylitol dogs” really didn’t do much to help the situation. Enter: Phase 2 of crying (and this is, clearly, not the good kind of crying).

Anyway, needless to say, at this point I am FREAKING THE EFF OUT. Harry and Daxter weren’t exhibiting any strange behavior, but since we didn’t know A) how much gum they actually ate or B) which dog even did the eating, I knew it was better safe than sorry and there was no question as to what to do. Sean and I threw both dogs in the car and zoomed off to the emergency vet. Which, of course, considering my dogs’ proclivity for bad things happening to them, is a route I know all too well at this point.

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We got to the vet, I explained the situation (in tears), and they immediately took both dogs into the back to check them out. Meanwhile, I learned that there is an animal poison control hotline that I needed to call (still in tears). They asked me a bunch of questions as to exactly what was ingested, and what the worst-case scenario was in terms of how much gum they ate. Thankfully–THANKFULLY–it turns out that Orbit as a brand has low xylitol amounts, and even if one of my dogs <25 lb. dogs had eaten half a pack (7 pieces), they likely would have been okay. At this point, the vet had already made both dogs throw up, so I did find out that Harry was the sole culprit in terms of actually consuming the gum (though Daxter had a field day with the cardboard wrapper, which I guess explains why he was acting guilty?) but I could take them home that night. I would just have to monitor them for signs of hypoglycemia and my regular vet would likely follow up and want to run some blood tests.

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And nobody at the clinic even commented on the fact that Daxter is still pink.

All in all, I realize I got pretty lucky: There were only a few pieces of gum left in the pack, and I have some VERY thoughtful friends and blog readers who alerted me to the danger quickly. Because, honestly, if they hadn’t told me, I might never have known! Although I guess if we’re going that route, I also would not have known if I didn’t constantly exploit my dogs via my various social media channels. So clearly the lesson here is: Post everything about your life to social media!

Oh, c’mon, I kid, I kid. In truth, I really have learned a valuable lesson about the dangers of anything that contains xylitol (which is mainly sugarfree gum, but also some jams, jellies, and baked goods) when it comes to my pets. And to me, the peace of mind in knowing that both my furbabies are okay was worth the outrageously high vet bill… and I say that only, like, 40% begrudgingly.

So there you have it. One Saturday night, MORE than enough emotional roller-coastering to last me until at least the end of the week. Whew. I am emotionally drained just having rehashed the experience for you guys.

Have you ever had a pet medical scare? I feel like at this point I have had more than my fair share with both dogs… It’s all worth it, obviously, but still. Oy.

Not Today


(source)

Okay, well, maybe that’s a little bit dramatic, but I’m super into Game of Thrones right now (haven’t caught up to the current season yet though, so no spoilers!) and I felt it was apt. Here’s why: A few months ago, I discovered a lump on Harry’s right side. Though I lapsed into steadfast denial at first, I finally took him to the vet yesterday to get it checked out. I was (understandably) worried, since both of my boys don’t have the best luck when it comes to their health. Daxter has had two major incidents where he had to be hospitalized, and Harry was diagnosed with canine lupoid onychodystrophy a couple of years ago (an autoimmune condition where his nailbeds routinely reject his nails, causing them to painfully fall out).

Wise Old Man

As you can imagine, I was very much fearing the worst. As they took Harry into the back to take a sample from his lump for inspection, I was already mentally calculating the cost of doggy chemotherapy. So what was the diagnosis?

Harry

It’s a lipoma, which is a fatty tumor but is totally benign! The vet said that it will never, ever become malignant, and unless it continues to grow (it’s about a centimeter right now), there’s no need to do anything about it. He said it’s the best possible kind of lump you can have! Hooray! Not today, cancer. Not today!

Gimmie!

I don’t think it even needs to be said that my pups are my babies, so I’m very relieved. And this good news comes just in time for Harry’s big day on Saturday. My little man is turning EIGHT this weekend! Whoosh. Time really flies.

Have you ever had to deal with a pet health scare before? Or, more seriously, a real pet health issue?

Poor, Poor Daxter

Yesterday started out as a normal enough day. I worked, then I braved the ludicrously hot weather to take my little pup Daxter to the vet for his yearly checkup and vaccination boosters.

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Seriously. Ridiculous. Anyway!

Everything was hunky dory at his 4:30 appointment as he braved getting multiple shots, blood drawn for his heartworm test, and the ever-pleasant taking of his temperature (you know what that means.) He was on his best behavior, and didn’t even shriek when they cut his nails!

Fast forward to 10:15 PM, when all of the sudden he runs into my room, starts pawing at his face, trying to dig to China in his doggy bed, and flops around my bedroom floor. Granted, I have a strange little pupster, but this was odd behavior even for him. So I pick him up, look into his face and…

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His entire face was swollen up like a balloon. You probably can’t tell very well in this picture, but the rims around his eyes were puffed up to the point that he looked drunk. And Asian. Which normally, you’d think I would be all about, but in this particular instance I was just a little concerned. He was also really hot (to the touch!) and kept panting.

EDIT: Here’s a picture that Ben took where you can really see how pink and swollen his eye is:

Day 149 - Pink Eye

What a trooper. šŸ™

I quickly went and asked for my roommate‘s opinion about whether his face seemed swollen (it did), then called my simultaneously-least-favorite-and-most-favorite place in the whole world: The Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine.

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This emergency-only, 24/7 veterinary hospital in Vienna, VA is seriously amazing. They saved Daxter’s life when he had a freak choking accident at only 14 weeks old, they diagnosed Harry’s symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy (a rare condition where his nailbeds were literally rejecting his nails, and they were falling out) after my regular vet had no idea what was happening. In short, they are just, flat-out awesome.

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They told me on the phone that it sounded like he was having a reaction to his vaccinations, and that I should bring him in to have him looked at. I wasted absolutely no time in doing exactly that. And 15 minutes later they had taken my brave little soul into the back to give him (more) shots of steroids and antihistamines to counteract the reaction.

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After a little more waiting, the doctor came in to explain everything to me, get a little more background, and said that he would be fine to go home tonight but I should monitor him for worsening of his reaction. I also got a tiny bottle with a single Benadryl in it to give him this morning with his breakfast.

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He did look much, much better this morning (after waking up pretty much every hour throughout the night to check on him too, hahaha) and I can now officially breathe a sigh of relief. Never fun to be in that situation though! If you are a pet owner and in Northern Virginia, make sure you know where this place is (for your reference, it’s in Vienna off of Main St. if you turn left where the Chipotle, Noodles & Co., etc are.)

And my other piece of advice for pet owners is also to GET PET INSURANCE. I use Embrace Pet Insurance and they’re awesome (and I’m not just saying that because some of their amazing customer service team reads my blog, hehehe.) Seriously, yesterday would have been almost a $600 day for me with everything that happened, but with pet insurance I know I’ll be getting a lot of it back. Plus, Harry & Daxter’s pictures are scattered all throughout the site!

Anyway, that’s my “exciting” adventure from yesterday for you. All’s well that ends well, I guess! Obviously you guys see a lot of my dogs here on the blog, as well as how much I love them (to say the least!), so now I want to hear about you! Do you have a pet? What kind? Are you a dog person? Cat person? If you don’t have a pet, but want one, what’s keeping you from doing it?