Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dog days and drama

I do sometimes ask myself why we as a family, appear to lead a life spiked with drama, albeit often on a mundane household level, take for example Drama Queen No.2 who didn’t just loose her highly expensive school hat, but had it eaten by a seal, ( for full account).

I can attribute some of the constant drama to maternal slackness and absent mindedness- on which topic where did I put those birch twigs so handy for whipping oneself with? If you are generally late and unprepared for events it does tend to lead to a life veering towards the dramatic and exciting. However there are some events that even in my desire to hog the guilt light, I have to hold up my hand and disclaim responsibility. The fact that 2 out of the 3 Drama Queens have had appendixes that have burst in somewhat spectacular style is probably down to a combination of bad luck and explosive genes on both sides of the family, though occasionally I do wonder if a steady diet of burnt offerings was a contributing factor.

Yesterday, in a classic example of the domestic drama that stalks us, Husband and I set off for early morning walk with the dog along the Spit, a local harbourside walk. It was a fabulous morning, we were clasping take out coffees from the yacht club and all felt very right with the world, which should have been an indication in itself that it was all about to go pear shaped – and it did. The dog gave an almighty start and jumped in the air before licking a front paw in a frenzy. Pluto is not a calm dog (surprise, surprise) so this didn’t worry us unduly. He then recovered himself and bolted off in his usual insane, canine fashion. However a minute later he was vomiting copiously and staggering round in circles and it was obvious we were into new territory on the pet emergency front. I carried him back to the car and we did an ambulance style dash to our vet who had fortuitously arrived half an hour early for the Saturday shift. Pluto had difficulty breathing during the ten-minute drive to the vet and I did consider how on earth to do CPR on a dog, mouth-to-mouth takes on a new dimension when black fur and dog saliva is involved. Both Husband and I also later admitted that we had been cravenly thinking of how on earth we were going to tell the Drama Queens that we had taken the dog on a walk and killed it.

Based on a country friend’s experience with her dog, I was dramatically gasping “Snakebite” as I staggered into the vet’s clutching my limp and incontinent bundle. In actual fact it turned out to be the much smaller, but almost as deadly in Pluto’s case, bee sting.

Running true to form, we’ve got that rare beast, the dog that goes into severe anaphylactic shock with a bee sting. The vet was fantastic and had him on a drip in seconds and peppered with injections. Thank God though for pet insurance as resurrecting a dog from near death extremis doesn’t come cheap.

The dog came home at the end of the day, a very sad and subdued creature. The vet had suggested tempting his appetite with barbequed chicken (I kid you not), and after toying with slivers of lightly grilled chook fed to him by his devoted handmaidens, he collapsed in a heap for the night. I found myself back in the new baby syndrome where you spend your whole time waking them up to check they are still breathing.

Happily morning dawned with a dog nearly restored to full bounce, and given the all clear by vet with warnings to avoid bees in the future. In the meantime I am left a shattered wreck of a pet owner pondering a future of canine epi pens in my handbag.


  1. Catriona, I love your engaging writing style .... but oh so very sorry about the bee sting episode, poor little chap, and poor you. I can totally empathize with you having had loads of pet dramas myself, the worst was when my late German shepherd decided to jump into a glass door and tear a major vein (don't know the medical terms) laying about 10 cm bone bare. The vet having had to actually put in a piece of artifivial vein. He survived that ordeal.

    Anyway, it kind of is slightly humorous considering that there are soo many 'nasty' creatures and critters that could have harmed your four legged friend, but no just a bee, but with such heart stopping trauma for all of you.

    I am currently still in the UK but will join my son and his lovely wife sometime this year, relocating to Sydney. They have an adorable little pooch, and recently had loads of huntsman spiders ... yikes ....


  2. Hi Geli, lovely to hear from you. Look forward to following your adventures as you set off for the big move to Sydney. Not too keen on the huntsman spiders myself but have grown accustomed to them as I am the only person in the household game to tackle them!