Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I've been working hard on the Chet Baker book lately, writing chapter after chapter. It's such fun it doesn't feel much like work. Like living with him. He's no trouble at all, just a joy.
Well, sometimes he presents a problem. We all do from time to time.
Chet eats grass. A lot of grass. The problem is, he's a carnivore, and his teeth aren't really suited to grinding grass. So he tends to swallow many of the long blades whole.
A few days ago he came in and lay down at my feet as he usually does while I'm writing. He kept doing that wheezy snort that we call The Wheezles. When he starts that he can't get his breath. So I cover his nostrils until he breathes through his mouth and after a little while that stops the cycle of wheezing and snorting.
This time it didn't work. He went into a full-blown case of The Wheezles, his four legs spraddled out to the side. He just wasn't getting any air.
And then he started sneezing. He sneezed and sneezed until he hit his nose on the floor and it started to bleed. Blood and mucus flew everywhere. And still he sneezed, nonstop.
I became thoroughly alarmed and suspected he had inhaled something up his nose, maybe a grass seed or a bug. I knelt with him on the floor, holding his head so he wouldn't bonk his nose, mopping away the mucus, and still he sneezed. He was rigid and panicking, just like me.
I dialed his veterinarian with one hand and got an answering machine. These things always happen after hours, the Thursday that they're closed, and on weekends and holidays. That's the First Law of Dog Emergencies, isn't it?
So I called Dr. Lutz at home. Another answering machine. Left a frantic message saying I was heading into town with a barely oxygenated Boston terrier. That's all I could think to do. Get help, somehow. I wasn't sure I could make the half-hour drive with him sneezing the whole time, but I couldn't lose him like this. I knew there was a 24-hour emergency veterinarian in Parkersburg, about 40 minutes away. Gaaah! 40 minutes away?? Just one of those times when you realize that living in the back of nowhere can be hazardous.
And as I knelt to pick him up I saw something sticking out of his left nostril. The end of a blade of grass. Which he must have swallowed, and which then made its way not down his throat but up his esophagus, over the soft palate and into his nasal passage from the back. Uccch!
I pulled on it and a 2 1/2 inch-long blade of grass came out of that poor puppeh's nosehole. And the sneezing stopped, and Chet started breathing again. He put his paws on my knee and kissed me for knowing what to do. Well, I didn't do anything. His body got rid of the obstruction in the only way it could. I just sped the process. Oooch, imagine having a piece of grass come through your nose.
It was turrible, Mether. I am so glad you got that grass out of my nosehole.
I have squirtles to chase. Things to do.
Chet Baker I am not sure grass in your nosehole would kill you but you certainly did a good impression of a dying doggeh. You scairt Mether. Don't do that, Bacon.
We love you too much.
You have miles to run with me yet.
I know. We have a lot to do, don't we? And you have a book to finish. So get to it.
I want to go on tour.
Posted by Julie Zickefoose at 3:30 AM