Friday, April 27, 2012

*Fast Dogs* Part V

My eyes watered and bulged as the attractive young veterinarian gave me and my husband the run down on Little Paint's surgery.
            "She lost a tooth and a toe, and I can't tell you how many stitches that chest wound took."
            I groaned. Shut my eyes and pressed my palms into my eye sockets.
            "Look on the bright side," the vet said. "Her chest doesn't fall open like an oven door now."
            I crouched and inspected Little Paint inside her post-op crate.
            "But I can still see pink stuff," I said. "Looks like chicken meat. Raw. In between the stitches."
            The vet nodded and smiled. "That's healthy muscle tissue," she said. "Over the next month, that'll granulate. Take on the appearance of pink cobblestone. And the skin'll close up."
            I grimaced and crossed my arms. My eyes prickled with the threat of tears. 
            "Promise?" I said. "'Cause if she'd be better off dead, if the best thing would be to—"
            The vet pressed her pointer finger against her lips. "Ssh. She's going to be fine. Really."

Over the weekend, Little Paint received liberal amounts of hugs and drugs from the Paw Prints staff. They massaged her ears and tempted her with treats. Hosed her chest wound every day. Renamed her Wonder Dog.
            "Do you pray?" the girl vet asked on Monday when I came to visit.
            "Uh hunh. Why?”
            She didn't take her eyes off Little Paint. "Pray we don't find necrotic tissue."
             I wrinkled my nose. "Necrotic?"
            "Means dead," the pretty vet said. "If the tissue around the edges of that chest incision dies, we'll have to put her under again. Trim it off and sew her back together, even tighter. Like a Hollywood actress."
            I gulped. "Anything else?"
            "Can you get her to eat?" the vet said. "'Cause she won't eat for us. Not even wet food. She's losing weight, and that's not good."
            I thought a minute. "Carrot juice."
            The vet tilted her head. "Excuse me?"
            "I read in a natural pet care book that some guy brought his Dalmatian back from the brink of death by giving her carrot juice."
            "Give it a try," she said. "Might want to add some raw hamburger too. For protein."
A week later, I was begging the fresh-faced girl vet to keep Little Paint Lou just one more day.
            "You'll do fine," she said. "She'll be much happier at home, and you won't have to run her homemade food up here every day."
            She pressed discharge papers and a bag of meds at me.
            "Now, remember," she said. "It's Memorial Day weekend. We'll be closed until Tuesday morning. If anything goes wrong, not that it will, or if you have questions, call the emergency vet clinic in Fairmont."

I slept with Little Paint Lou that night. Me on a 40 year-old sleeping bag, her on a pile of soft blankets. Sometime in the night, she crept onto my sleeping bag. Tucked herself behind my legs.
            Daisy May was upstairs having a sleepover with the middle child. The white long-legged slut puppy had decided she hated Little Paint when she came home from a week at the vet's. Well, she didn't exactly hate her. She just wanted to eat her.
           When my husband set Little Paint on the ground beside the car, Daisy held her head low to the ground. A soft but gravelly growl rumbled out between her bared teeth. Little Paint tried to look fierce too, but her patchwork of shaved parts and stick out ribs made her a liar.

We made it thirty six hours before we sped to the emergency vet clinic with Painty Lou on the back seat. Her stitches were popping open left and right giving her chest the appearance of Swiss cheese over deli ham.
            "Be really sure you can't handle it any more before you take her to the Fairmont clinic," a friend said the next day when I called her about the Swiss cheese chest crisis. "It's a hundred fifty bucks just to walk in the door."
            "What's a hundred and fifty when you've already spent twenty five hundred plus?" my husband said as he hoisted Little Paint into the car.

If Little Paint Lou was Wonder Dog, the emergency vet clinic doctor was Boy Wonder. In the reception area, my husband and I both fit in his shadow. While he examined Paint, my gaze vacillated between his strong jaw and the strain of his quadriceps against his scrub pants.
            "I'm going to put your dog back together," he said. "But I’m warning you, she's gonna look like Franken Dog afterwards."
            I nibbled my lip.
            "I'll use whatever it takes to hold her together," he said as he fondled Little Paint's ears inside the humongous plastic lampshade.
            He yanked a tissue out of the box on the counter. Handed it to me.
            "Aw, don’t worry,” he said. “She made it this far. She'll be just fine. I'll do the procedure around midnight tonight. You all can pick her up at eleven tomorrow."
Boy Wonder grinned as he led Little Paint into the waiting room the next morning.
            "Sit, girl," he said.
            She sat.
            He waved us closer. "Lean down here."           
            We leaned.
            "No way," my husband said.
            "Buttons?" I said. My stomach heaved. I cupped my hand beneath my mouth. Just in case.
            Boy Wonder smiled and nodded. "Yep. Six of them," he said. "I cut them off a coat from the lost and found box. Sewed the buttons into her chest, then wrapped the suture around them. It takes the pressure off the tissue. Works every time."
            He patted Little Paint's head. "You ready to go home, girl?"
            She gazed up at him with adoring, pumpkin-colored eyes. Her tail brushed his leg over and over.
            My husband stood and shook Boy Wonder's hand. "Thank you so much,” he said. “Is there a tip jar around here?"
            Boy Wonder chuckled. "No tip required,” he said. “It was my pleasure. You've got a great dog there."

Two weeks later, the Paw Prints clinic was abuzz. I heard the whispers and yells into the back.
            "Wonder Dog's here!”
            Pretty Young Vet sat crisscross-applesauce on the floor and fingered Little Paint's buttons, one by one.
            "Amazing," she said. She smiled up at me. "We've been trying to recruit that guy for years."
            “You should marry him,” I said. “If you don’t have a husband, that is.”
            Vet techs and vets lined up to examine Boy Wonder's handiwork. Little Paint decided her chest was getting too much attention and her head not enough, so she deposited a pineapple-sized poo pile on the floor.
            The girl vet grinned and scooped up the mess with an inside out Ziplock bag. She flipped the bag right side out, zipped it, and tossed it in a corner. After she washed her hands, she crouched in front of Little Paint, cradled her face, and kissed her on the nose.
            "You're going to be just fine, Wonder Dog," she said. "No way you'd be better off dead."


writingdianet said...

And so ends the drooling tail, I mean tale, of the two long-legged, slut puppy, sister hounds--Daisy May and Little Paint Lou. I hope you enjoyed it.

(I was going to post a picture of Little Paint with her buttoned up chest, but I thought it would make too many folks nauseous so I refrained!)

Candice said...

I am so glad to hear she is doing better!! I was waiting for this post, holding my breath!


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