Almost Out of the Woods …

Last Friday I made a Ark Mom fetch improv that I will regret for months to come (or until my check book recovers, which ever comes first)

While outside during our typical Ark Kid morning play of fetch and chase, Galen’s (@129lb_pup) sister, Izzy (@SweetIzzy), killed his last fetch toy, a long silly looking stuffed Dachshund with polka dots that Galen loved to catch mid air.  Unfortunately, Izzy tore the head off Galen’s favorite catch toy and went for the *squeaky* kill. 

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and this was that day.

Galen was totally not ready for play time to be over and kept giving me that “Throw Something, Mom!!” look.  With the Frisbee having taken a beating and the stuffed Dachshund now headless, I reached for a towel near the fence that I used to wipe off Benny’s (@BennyGentlGiant) mouth after he’s drank about a gallon of water.  (what can I say, he likes to not drip and if Benny wants his mouth wiped off, I wipe it off!)

I tied the hand towel in a big huge knot and threw it toward the back of the yard with Galen immediately in it’s chase and his shadow, Izzy, right behind him to check out this new “toy.”  (much like kids that play with the box more than the toy)

A game of tug the towel followed, Galen on one end, Izzy on the other, a towel ripped in half the result.  (good thing I wasn’t in love with that towel!)

I think Galen fell in love with the ripping sound and feel of towel tearing, because he decided to rip the rest of the towel he had like it was a new game!  (no, he’s not a destructive dog – the only thing he’s ever destroyed are his own toys – and an occasional sock or two when he was really young)

I hustled over to take the towel away & he was having so much fun with it, he disobeyed his command to “leave it!” … and that is when I watched, in horror, as a piece of towel about the size of my hand went into his mouth.  Immediately I opened his mouth to drag it out.  Since he was a pup, I’ve dragged a zillion things out of his mouth, mostly kleenix and paper he’s dug out of the garbage can of late. 

And then I felt that moment of doom.

It was gone!  How could he have swallowed something so big so soon!!  It was like his mouth had turned into a giant lizard suction cup and SLURP, look … No towel!  It was gone!

I called his vet to ask what to do.  Should I put something in his breakfast?  Do I feed him at all?  His Vet told me to get him to a local Vet (because the clock was ticking and I was a good 45-60 min away, depending on traffic) and have them induce vomiting.

You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, would you?

Our local vets wouldn’t see Galen without an appointment.  Period.  When asked why I didn’t take him to his “regular vet” I explained the time and need to act quickly, but only received blank stares.  A dog swallowing a large piece of towel wasn’t their concern.

Galen has chewed up a zillion toys until I put him on a toy diet.  I knew one day his number would come up.  This weekend was that day.  Friday night he ate normal and all was well.  Saturday I could  tell an ever so slight difference in him, called his vet and asked what I should watch for.

In his Pakistan sing song accent, Galen’s vet tells me, “Vomiting. If he starts to vomit you will know the towel is obstructing his digestive system and has become obstructive.”

I love our Vet.  He is the kindest, gentlest man I know.  I could listen to his accent forever.

I watched Galen like a hawk Saturday, not willing to leave his side.  I imagine he got a little tired of me constantly checking his abdomen area for pressure, but being the attention loving hound he is, I know he didn’t mind one bit,  my trekking behind him to watch him poop. (I know … Saturday night excitement.  Poop Watch.)

We got through Saturday Ok.  Ate good … but everything wasn’t all right and I could tell Galen wasn’t feeling well despite his wanting to play. (of which he was not allowed!)

The first thing I saw when I woke up Sunday morning was Galen laying in his “time out spot”  He doesn’t even have a bed there … he hasn’t had time out in over a year.  I knew we were in trouble.

It wasn’t long after that the vomiting started and I had Galen bundled up and headed straight for ER, calling them on the way so they would expect us.  I held my breath, I forced myself not to cry.

From there, you know from my Tweets … it was a long day and a lot of worry… and Galen had to spend the night in ER hooked up to IV’s.  Last night there was a point where the ER Vet wasn’t sure if surgery was going to be necessary or not,  but wisely observed and payed attention to the calm that is Galen and my observations of Galen over the years.

While we’re not 100% out of the woods yet, Galen is now home resting and surgery is not necessary, Thank God!  I can’t tell you how lucky and blessed I feel for that!  For now, it’s taking each day as it comes while Galen continues the healing process and towels are taken of the improv toy list.

I’m relieved.  So very, very relieved.  Of course, you know I could kick myself for knotting that towel up and playing fetch like that … but … who knew he would think it was a whole new game?

Mostly, though I have a message to future Vets and Vets that are building a practice who see this as a career move and forgotten that Veterinarians are Animal Husbandry:

“If you became a Vet because someone told you it was a good way to make an excellent income or you have doctors in your family and were expected to be in some sort of medical career, please, do ALL of us a favor and the eff out!  An innocent animal, who is a very important part of my family, could have died this weekend because of one of you!”

Well … that takes care of the local vets …

To all of the rest of you, Thank You so very very much for your kindness, your caring and your concern yesterday.  You’re awesome. Very, very awesome.



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