Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fat, dachshunds, dental care, crying in public, and why I shouldn't be allowed to leave my house.

I made a very kind vet tech cry today. It was an event 11 years in the making.

Let me explain.

Li'l Frankfurter has a long history of being too thin. When I first met him eight years ago, he was thin-ish but fine. Then, six months in? He had emergency surgery to remove carpet backing from his intestines. I don't have any carpet in my house (see also: dogs). He'd had the carpet backing in his system for months, if not years. It messed his gut up.

We had great success working with a holistic vet and Li'l Frank gained weight. And then those tricks stopped working and the vet moved out of the country and well, he just got thin. Too thin.
It hurts to look at this photo. I'm not gonna lie.

In August, we started seeing a new holistic vet. My baby boy has gained and gained and gained and is now a new dog. When you weigh five pounds and gain another four? It's a game-changer.

Now, he looks like a dachshund! Behold, the thick layer of neck fat! My Guy refers to it as Frank's "neck cankle." And our friends now refer to our once-sickly doxie as "beefcake."
So phat. And demanding!
It's such a blessing. And you know what blessings mean: dental hygiene!

I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to teach Li'l Frank how to floss. However, he now weighs enough to withstand a dental cleaning with the new vet.

Now, in the past, I have been a little chippy, if you will, about the veterinary! professional! dental! cleaning! But Frank's mouth was a stinky mess. It was time.

Today was the day. The kid had three little teeth pulled and came through like a champion.

When I picked him up, the vet provided a report card, complete with Li'l Frank's photo. Except they gave me two report cards - one with a photo from September, and one with a photo from today.

I know. I know!

And that "before" photo was after he'd gained a pound because we forgot to take his photo when we first started seeing the new vet. My poor boy. But look at him now - so furry! So robust!

So, I was already a touch delicate. I had been worried that the anesthesia would be troublesome, or that the kid would need to have all his teeth removed. But we were looking at the best possible outcome. And I was reminded of just how far my little boy had come.

The vet tech shared my relief and went on and on about how well Frank did and what a good boy he was. She also mentioned that before they put him under, he dropped a giant deuce in the middle of the table, because that's just the kind of guy he is. We laughed.

Then, she showed me before and after photos of his teeth. She pointed out his top, front teeth.

"These teeth are really worn down," she said. "Does he chew or ... is he in a kennel a lot?"

"Well, my best guess is that he was a puppy mill dog, so ..."

She was visibly relieved. "Oh, that makes perfect sense! We see this a lot in puppy mill dogs. They get so agitated that they chew the bars of the cage. And see this curve on the back of his canines? A lot of the time, they'll hook their canine teeth around a bar and just work it, trying desperately to get out."

Now, I will admit that I want to kill this dog at least once a day. But he is a trusting, kind, loving spirit. And the idea of him being treated so horribly, of being so desperate to get out of a cage that he wore down his front teeth and wore grooves into his canines? Well ... I started to cry in the middle of the vet waiting room.

"Oh, honey, I didn't mean to make you upset!" the vet tech said. Then she teared up. "The good news is that nobody here cries alone. I can't help it."

"Oh, no, I'm sorry! It's OK - he's so spoiled now. I just ..." I didn't have the words. So I asked about some post-op instructions even though I already knew the answer.

I got Li'l Frank home and he is appropriately loopy. Right now, he's curled up in a blanket on my lap and making sounds like a pigeon. And I kind of can't stop crying.

I know I am doing right by this dog. But sometimes I'm amazed by how much the world hurts. It's like the bitter cold air right now - it hurts to coexist with it. My heart seems to grow more and more tender and I just can't even stand the thought of some things. It's like the world is one giant ASPCA ad.

So, I'm going to dote on this big little dog who sounds like he is leaking air. I'll focus on that and hope my face stops leaking fluids.