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Dogspeak

Theo communicates with his urine, but Valentine uses body language. This is her “Wanna throw the platypus?” pose.

wanna play

I doubt you’ll argue that this next one means anything other than, “You know you want to rub my belly. Do it. Come on. Just give it a little scratch.”

gotta rub that tummy

This one is, “Omg I think a cat just walked by.”

omg a cat just walked by

Sweet Sweet Valentine

V-dawg

Poor little thing.

Last weekend Dopey, Kim, and I all got together for a lady blogger dinner. We met at my place and that is when it got complicated.

You see, my beloved, loyal, sweet, smart little Valentine does not take too kindly to household guests, especially if she’s never met them before. She doesn’t bite or anything (she doesn’t have any teeth to bite with), she just goes absolutely berserk when she hears someone coming up to the door. Absolutely berserk as in, uncontrollable, out of her mind, unconscious crazy. This is something we’ve been trying to train her out of for all the six years we’ve lived with her, with no success. Now we just try to ignore it, hoping that if it doesn’t garner a reaction she’ll give it up. We tell guests walking in that, “the little dog will act psycho for about five minutes. Ignore her. She’ll be asking for a belly rub before you know it.” Because that’s usually how it works.

On this night, Dopey and I were sitting out on the balcony when Kim pulled up in front of my building. Valentine was in Dopey’s lap and when I called hello to Kim, I saw the dog’s nostrils flare and her ears stand to attention. The dog heard Kim’s footsteps on the stairs and went balls-out ape shit, literally throwing herself off of Dopey’s lap, landing on the floor of the balcony with such a loud thud that even Kim heard it. V-dawg looked a little stunned, but stood up and went right on back to barking like a frothy-mouthed maniac. I ran downstairs to let Kim in and warn her to ignore the hysterical barking. When we came back inside the apartment, Valentine was doing what she normally does, charging Kim’s legs and barking like she meant it. That was when I noticed the blood spatter all over the carpeting. Of course, I didn’t realize what it was at first. Why is the carpet covered in red polka dots? I wondered out loud. Ohhhhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiit. Ladies, looks like we won’t be getting dinner for a while. Anyone want to drive us to the emergency vet?

kimskitchensink

on the dopey ambulance

This is where I’d like to say that I have two of the best blogger girlfriends ever. Were they starving? Yes. Was our evening being taken over by a broken toenail? Yes. Did they care? Not at all. They just wanted to make sure Valentine was okay. Dopey grabbed my purse and the leash, Kim cleaned up the blood, and off we went.

The minute Valentine was in my arms she was completely subdued. She was perfectly still and quiet the whole way to the vet’s office. When we arrived, Dopey filled out paperwork so I could hold her. She was starting to shake, but she always gets the shakes at the vet. A vet tach came in and weighed her, took her temperature, listened to her heart and her lungs, told us her vitals were all good. This wound was not serious, she explained. Very painful, but not serious. They’d just need to clip the nail off and we’d be on our way home.

broken toenail

Toenails should not stick out at that angle. Ouch.

After the tech took Valentine into the back so the doctor could work on her, Dopey and Kim helped keep me calm by telling jokes, live tweeting the event, and taking photos like this:

is there something on my shirt

Do I have anything on my shirt?

The light-hearted banter worked, too. I was a little on edge, worried, but I was okay. Until suddenly I wasn’t. Kim was telling us a story about something, I can’t remember what now, because somewhere in the periphery of my hearing there was an animal screaming. One minute I was listening to Kim and the next minute my arms and legs were tingling and my vision was all swimmy and gray at the edges. A thought floated into my head: What’s happening to her?

“Is that Valentine screaming?” asked Dopey, horrified.

I leapt up and ran into the nurse’s station. “Is that Valentine screaming?” I asked, adrenaline soaring through me.

“No, ma’am. That is not your pet. That is a dog who ate snail bait. He’s in a lot of pain and we’re doing everything we can for him. But it’s not your pet. Your pet is with the doctor and she’s going to be just fine.”

After that, we three girls were pretty sober, saying little prayers for the dog who ate snail bait. We were lucky. Our little dog was going to be just fine. And she was. Is.

The broken toenail left a nerve exposed in her foot, so she’s in a lot of pain, even now, five days later. We’ve got her on anti-biotics and two kinds of pain medication, so she’s a little loopy. When we tried to take her for her first walk post-injury, we couldn’t help but laugh at the stoned little dog who couldn’t seem to remember why we were outside. She sat in the grass leaning so far to one side I thought she’d  tip over, staring sleepy-eyed over the edge of the e-collar, until her feet finally slid out from under her. Then she just lay there, staring up at us, looking very pathetic and miserable.

awfully pathetic

We think that when Valentine fell out of the chair, she caught her toenail on the edge and ripped it out. This maniacal barking at guests is clearly more than just an irritating behavioral issue – it’s dangerous to the little dog. If anyone can recommend a dog trainer in the West Valley who can help us train her to stay calm when guests come over, we’d really like the help.