Dogs – they are so rewarding in so many ways. The happy excitement they show you when you walk in the door, the cuddles when you’re feeling low, the way the smallest treat is like manna from heaven for them. It’s amazing just how quickly they steal your heart and become an irreplaceable member of your family. On the flip side, they can be a right royal pain in the arse, yet no matter how irritating they are – no matter how many times they roll in cow pat after they’ve just had a bath, or how many pairs of fancy knickers they eat(always part of a matching set, of course…) or how often they decide they simply are not ready to come home from the park yet when you’re working to a tight schedule – just one look of those puppy dog eyes and your heart melts. I cannot count the number of times Bonnie has caused me a whole world of inconvenience, and yet I cannot find it in my heart to be cross with her for long. I know. I must have ‘mug’ stamped on my forehead!
She really put us through the ringer though last week. Being a Beagle she has always been extremely focussed on food – she is normally quite picky about who she allows to pet her or even get near her, but there is very little that she will not do for a scrap of bread or a piece of cheese. Many a visitor to my house, disappointed by her reluctance to come out from behind the sofa for a pet the first time they meet, has found it relatively easy to buy her love with a bag of treats. As a result, we have to keep a very close eye on her when we’re cooking, eating or discarding of any food she shouldn’t really eat. Oh, and she always wants the food that is going to kill her, I must add, doggy chocolate is not good enough for our Bons, it simply must be the expensive, high in cocoa kind!! As I’m sure any of you with dogs or children can testify, you only have to take your eye off them for a second for them to get hold of something they shouldn’t…
It was late on the Saturday that we had finally sat down to eat a delicious chinese takeaway. As we were clearing up we were debating whether or not to let Bonnie have the last chicken satay skewer as she’#d been pretty good while we were eating. We decided to let her have it, but I don’t like to feed her directly off the table so I started to clear away the plates ready to give it to her in her bowl once we were done. In hindsight, it would have made far more sense to take the leftover food off the table first, but I thought it would be fine sat in the middle of the table in a takeaway container. Wrong! As I turned back around to retrieve the last of the dishes, I saw a flash of tan and white fur disappear into the next room, leaving in it’s wake the chicken satay carton – now empty. I dashed after her and cornered her in her crate ready to pry it out of her mouth, but to my alarm there was nothing there, and after a desperate search through her blankets I had to accept the reality – she had swallowed the lot, skewer and all! Cue a panicked call to the emergency vets – who I honestly thought would tell me to feed her some bread and keep a close eye on her – where they told me to bring her straight in. We made the 40 minute drive to the centre closest (!) to us, and were alarmed to say the least when they decided the best course of action was to perform an endoscopy under general anaesthetic! This would mean us leaving the premises to let them get on with it, which resulted in me having a teary meltdown because she’s scared of strangers and I didn’t want to leave her there alone! Dan managed to convince me that there really was no point in us sitting in the waiting room because she wouldn’t know we were there anyway and so we headed home to await news of how it had gone.
Next came a 1.30am phone call to let us know that they couldn’t see a complete skewer, but they could see some material that could potentially be the skewer already broken down in her digestive tract. Nothing could be seen on the x-rays either. We had two options – keep an eye on her and hope for the best, or send her into surgery to make sure there was nothing left that could cause her any damage, and could we make a decision in the next 10 minutes as she was under anaesthetic already?! Cue another teary meltdown because I couldn’t think clearly on the lack of sleep and couldn’t get hold of my ex, who I share ownership with, to run it past him. Luckily Dan was the voice of reason again and pointed out that surgery carries its own risks and it didn’t seem right to put her through that just on the off chance if nothing was picked up on either the camera or the x-rays, so we decided we would await a second call to let us know she had come round and was ready to be collected. A couple of hours and £1000 later, we made the 4am journey to collect my baby and bring her home for a well earned rest – and she was of course allowed to sleep with us on our bed so we could keep an eye on her!
Now every time I see the little shaved patches on her forearms I’m simultaneously full of fury that we were exploited into sending so much money ‘just in case’ and then guilty for putting the poor thing through all that stress, but I just know I would never have been able to forgive myself if it had caused her internal damage. I think I’m partly blocking the expense out of my mind to stop it sending me into a panic – luckily I have a healthy savings account at the moment and we’ve just found out we’re getting a bonus this month so it hasn’t left me without, but the truth is I know I’d have found a way to fund it somehow. As hard as I try, I just can’t bring myself to feel regretful when I look at her little face and imagine what life would be like without her around!
So all in all, this probably sounds like a strange topic for my Happy Mondays series, but I guess what I’m trying to say is, despite the trauma and the cost of it all, I wouldn’t change her for the world!