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Sweet Little Wiener

Last Thursday I was getting ready for work when Mike told me that Theo wouldn’t eat his breakfast. He wasn’t interested. And his belly was all swollen. My heart hit the floor. Loss of appetite in a dog is always a red flag. And a swollen belly could only mean twisted gut. Theo was going to die if we didn’t get him to a vet right away, I just knew it. Sure, twisted gut usually only happens in large breed dogs. But when I saw my little wiener pacing, panting, crying, his belly swollen so far past his ribs he looked about to burst, I knew it couldn’t be anything else. And then, in the middle of the carpeted hallway, he pooed a pile of soft-serve poo so large it could only have come from a human.* Something was definitely wrong.

I called the vet and was told our doctor was working out of their Encino branch, but she would take him right away if I didn’t mind the drive. I didn’t care. I dropped Mike at the office and drove Theo to Encino. We sailed down the 101, rare for morning rush-hour on a Thursday. Even still, Theo cried all nine miles. I drove one-handed, my other hand rubbing under his ears just where he likes it. He panted and wiggled and cried some more. I can’t remember the last time I was so scared.

They were waiting for us when we walked in. This was an emergency situation. The doc felt his belly all over and quizzed me about his diet. He paced and whimpered and panted and licked his chops and cried some more.

“What’s he been eating? Is he trash-fishing? You leave him out in the yard?”

“Um, no, we don’t have a yard. He eats of lot kleenex, like I don’t even know where he gets it, but every time I turn around there’s shredded kleenex all over the place. And, um, sunflower seeds? Black oil sunflower seeds from the bird feeder, like the shells the birds spit out and sometimes grass and oh my god he always eats shit off the sidewalk. Not actual shit, well sometimes actual shit but usuallywhatever it is is down his throat so fast I don’t get a chance to identify it much less pull it out of his mouth. Is he gonna be okay?”

“I don’t think it’s twisted gut, but it could be pancreatitis. He’s definitely in pain.”

“What’s pancreatitis?”

“It’s medical speak medical speak medical speak medical speak.”

“How would he have gotten it?”

“To many table scraps. Or it it could be he got into something that’s making him sick. Did he get into anything in the last few days?”

Kleenex, sidewalk treats, I couldn’t think of anything else. She recommended x-rays to check for a blockage and blood tests to check his pancreas, kidneys, and liver functions. I said yes, anything, please just make him better. She wanted to keep him for the day, give him fluids under the skin and antibiotics because his colon was a mess from all the diarrhea. She would keep a close eye on him to make sure he didn’t get worse. She told me to go home and look around the house to see if I could find anything he could have eaten, so I did. I also googled “canine pancreatitis” which was stupid. I knew better. But I did it anyway and then I cried the whole way back to work because my wiener’s pancreas was digesting all his other organs and it was all my fault for feeding him table scraps.

It was ten a.m. when the doctor told me she’d call with test results in about two hours. From ten to eleven I googled pancreatitis while breathing into a paper bag. From eleven to twelve I checked the clock every two to three minutes while trying not to cry. I waited until 12:03 and then I called her.

“His tests came back normal. But his stomach,” she said, “is so full of food, there isn’t any air, it’s absolutely packed in. He got into something for sure. You should see this x-ray.”

Suddenly it all made sense.

We’d gone out to dinner the night before. We walked the dogs after work, fed them, then left them loose in the apartment because they’d been in their crate all day and seriously, what trouble could they get into in three hours?

After we got home that night we noticed that Theo’s belly seemed kind of bloated. And he needed a third poop walk – a trend I’d noticed the last three nights in a row. Mike said he was just getting fat. I was giving him too many treats and I needed to cut it out. I figured he was probably right.

In the morning when I went home to look around for things the wiener might have eaten, I discovered that someone (Theo) had chewed their way through a thirty pound bag of cat kibble. Turns out they can get into a lot of trouble in three hours.

“There were shredded bits of foil bag all over the place,” I told the vet over the phone.

“That explains the metallic bits in his belly,” she replied.

“But I have four animals! It could have been anyone. What if he’s dying???”

“They’ve probably all been helping themselves, but Theo has no off switch. Most of the time I see this, it’s a dachshund. They will eat until their stomachs burst.  And his stomach is packed solid with food. It is definitely the cause of his issues. If he doesn’t pass it all in the next twenty-four hours, we’ll do another x-ray to see if something else is going on, but he’ll probably pass it all.”

Six hundred and fifteen dollars later, Theo is diagnosed with Gluttony. The little fucker ATE HIMSELF TO HOSPITALIZATION.

But I didn’t care. I was so relieved he was going to be ok. When the nurse brought him out to me, I swear his whole face lit up. He was as happy to see me as I was to see him.

The best part about this story is that he’s a dog. He has no idea his dinner buffet was the reason he had to spend eight hours in a metal cage being poked with needles. We got home from the hospital and Theo, feeling great after a nice nap, plenty of fluids, and some really expensive drugs, couldn’t wait to get back into the cabinet. I blocked it with a case of rice milk and watched him check back, every few minutes, to see if there was a way in. Like the rat in the science experiment who keeps pressing the button to get his cocaine high, over and over until he’s dead. It wasn’t just the wiener, however. Over the course of the evening I watched all four animals check to see if the door was open. But only Toby, King of All House Pets, tried to get in. He rubbed his face on that big heavy case of milk, rubbed his face and his shoulders against it over and over all night long, nudging it away from the cabinet millimeters at a time. When I woke up the next morning and stumbled to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee, that case of milk had moved three inches. Not enough for a certain black cat to squeeze his big head in for a meal, but almost.

It’s been nine days and I am happy to report that Theo is totally fine. He’s on a strict diet (no more table scraps!) and he is not pleased. We’re still using the case of milk to block the cabinet and Theo still sniffs it out, over and over, in hopes of finding it open. Sometimes he scratches at it with his paw and whimpers, then stares up at me mournfully as if to say, “Please let me in. I’m soooooo hungry! Starving! Feed me!” And the moral of the story is that wieners always want more.

*Props to Mike for cleaning up that mess so that I swear you’d never even know it happened if I hadn’t told you. I love him.

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Bolivia

Everything about today is frustrating. Irritating, annoying, anxiety-producing. I think it has something to do with the fact that I started my period today. Or else it’s because it’s Wednesday and I’ve already had it up to HERE with everything. Or it’s because I haven’t exercised in an entire week (if you don’t count the 45 minutes of yoga I squeezed in yesterday.) Of course it could have something to do with the fact that I feel like all I ever do is work work work work work work work work work and yet there is always more more more more more more more more more more work to do. And by work I don’t just mean paid work, I mean laundry and dishes and bills and dog walks and vacuuming and shaving my legs and everything. Life just feels so dreadfully exhausting sometimes.

Yes, I know, these are first world problems. I’m lucky. I have a job. I chose to have four pets. Blah blah. But for once I’d just like to have one. week. of nothing. One week where I could just … rest. Without feeling guilty. Without email. Without nagging phone calls. Without knowing that at the end of the week I’ll have to pay for my rest in the pile of emails/bills/laundry/dog hair. Is that really too much to ask? Apparently it is.

No, Bolivia didn’t count as a restful vacation. There was too much hiking and not enough eating. Literally. We were hungry most of the time. At least I was.

In other news, Valentine FINALLY got her bandage off on Monday afternoon. Remember when I said her injury was minor? I’ve changed my mind about that. When an injury requires FIVE doctor visits, two rounds of anti-biotics, and two rounds of pain medication, it is not minor. But, as of Monday, she’s been declared mostly well. No more bandage, no more meds. She has to wear the lampshade hat for another five days and she can’t have a bath for another week, which is horrible because she smells so awful even I can barely stand to be around her (and I usually really like her stink-doggy smell) but other than that, she’s doing very well.

V-dawg

She’s totally over the lampshade hat.

Michael has spent all this week crashing classes at our local junior college, trying with all his might to cobble together a full load for the semester. Did I ever tell you about the time he went to sign up for classes on his assigned registration day and he discovered that every. single. class at the school was already full? And the wait lists were full too? This is due to the fact that we’ve cut our budgets for school, so the schools don’t have any classes, even though there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of students needing classes. Welcome to education budget cuts! Cheers for the legislature and government and yadda yadda! So glad we’re not raising taxes. Budget cuts makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE. I mean, what the fuck is education anyway? Like that bullshit is important.

waiting

Mike texted me this photo of HALF of the line of people waiting to get added to Anatomy yesterday. The head of the department was there and told the waiting people, “Hey! This isn’t bad! There’s not so many of you.” That isn’t bad? No, no, I guess it isn’t bad. IT IS FUCKING APPALLING. Fortunately, by some sort of miracle, Mike’s name was one of the four names the teacher pulled from her purse (she didn’t have a hat, so she put everyone’s name IN HER PURSE) and so he will most likely be able to add. He’s also managed to get into Spanish II. That’s two classes for the semester. Out of six he has crashed. Which is good, you know I don’t want to complain or anything, even though at this rate it will take him four years to get through a two year program. But whatever. It’s not like there’s a job market anyway.

Do you see? I’ve had it up to HERE with EVERYTHING.

The good news (for me) is that I’ve actually stopped feeling all self-conscious about my Bolivia posts and have begun to really enjoy writing them. When I have time to write them. They take FOREVER. I am so long-winded, I know. I go on and on. But the fact that you read my ramblings at all means a lot to me. I swear, sometimes I feel like y’all are the best thing I have going for me. And of course, my husband. And my family. And these guys:

ridiculously cute

TAKE A PICTURE OF ME! says the wiener.

Yeah, all right, so life isn’t that bad. Whatever.

Play Date

1

Hey Theo. Your ears smell funny. Wanna play?

2

Yeah, yeah! Let’s play! Totally!

3

Time out! Let’s rub our faces on the carpet!

Yes! The carpet smells funny!

4

Theo? Dude. Where’d you go?

5

Rawr! I got you! Ha! I totally took you by surprise! Rawr!

6

(dramatically) Oh! You got me! I’m dying!

Yeah! I got you! You’re dying! Rawr!

7

Whoa. Your butt smells funny.

Scouts

Scout

The dogs do this thing where they have to get up and go on patrol. Valentine will be worrying a toy when she’ll hear something and freeze, ears erect, nostrils twitching. She’ll drop her toy on my belly and trot back and forth in circles around us, until she’s sure we are safe. Then it’s Theo’s turn. He’ll have watched her make her rounds and when she’s through he heaves himself up with a grunt and scuffles the dozens of dachshund steps between my feet and my chin to check in, lick my face.

4

I’ll scritch him behind the ears for a while as he breathes hot puppy breath in my face.

1

When he’s certain I’m ok (or when he’s accepted the fact that I’m not dead yet and no, he can’t eat me), he’ll walk around the top of my head, back down towards my feet… (it’s a long way for a wiener)

2

3

Then he’ll drop  to his side with a thud and a sigh, his job complete.

5

valentine

Little guardian lapdogs.

Meh

It’s so windy today! And also, it’s 85* and oh-so-sunshiney, so I am not complaining about the wind, not one little bit. It’s a gorgeous day in the valley and I wish I could spend it frolicking outdoors, but instead I’m cooped up with my face pressed against a computer. Bummer.

There’s a lot of life going on right now and I’m very tired and anxious and exhausted so how about we don’t talk about anything else today and just take a break to look at some wieners?

wiener

Maybe if I lay real still, she’ll give me some cheese?

sleepy

He’s awfully pretty for someone that eats poo and likes it.

And let’s not forget this one:

P1010003

Whatever you do, DON’T FEED IT AFTER MIDNIGHT.

Two Wiener Palms

goodmorning

Adam snapped this off my balcony this morning. I love the Valley.

I am in Palm Springs for the next five beautiful sunshine-y days. It’s Adam’s birthday and he’s in town from New York and we are going to be pool side starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. I cannot wait.

Yesterday we got together with friends for brunch. Michael took this photo of Kevin taking a photo of Adam and Dori looking at the photo that J.D. just took of them. I’m the one standing on the stairs looking like a red-haired loon.

sunday

By the way, my hair isn’t actually red, it’s just a chemically treated disaster.

This morning Adam interrupted me while I was packing for Palm Springs. He was laughing and pointing at our linen cabinet. “You’ve got to see this!”

I turned my attention to the cabinet and it trembled. Then it opened an inch and a black nose appeared. At first I thought it was one of the cats because they love to hide in the cabinets. But it was not one of the cats.

theointhecloset

People who own herding dogs always talk about their dog’s instinct to heard everything, but dachshund owners never talk about their dog’s instinct to ferret small frightened creatures out of hiding places.

pooramelia

Poor Amelia. She just wants my wiener to leave her alone.

God Bless Suburbia

After dinner last night, right before we headed upstairs to get ready for bed, we realized we’d forgotten to run the errands we needed to run. We were supposed to pick up coffee, sugar, a GFCI electrical socket, and the required black pants/black shirt Mike needs for his new part-time job. (Yay for the part-time job!)

Luckily, it was only seven-thirty, so we tucked the dogs in for the night, grabbed sweaters to protect against the freezing sixty-degree weather, and hopped in the car.

Yes, we get ready for bed at seven-thirty. What can I say? We’re an old married couple.

By eight-thirty we were brushing our teeth and marveling at how we’d just run three hours worth of errands in one. It was because of the strip mall. And the trunk of the car.

You see, most people who live in suburbia take for granted their ability to run multiple errands in a short period of time. I know, because I used to be one of those people. And then I moved to New York and figured out how the rest of the world works. Or at least the part of the world situated in Manhattan.

If we were still living in Manhattan, we’d have had to make three separate stops, instead of the one we were able to make last night. First we’d have gone to K-Mart for black Dickies and a generic black button-up. It would have taken us thirty minutes to get there, plus a ten minute walk off the train, and it would’ve been a miserable experience because that K-Mart was never fully stocked and it was always so full of people there ought to be signs out front warning shoppers not to enter if they fear large crowds. Next we’d spend another twenty minutes on the subway, another fifteen minutes walking, and then we’d be at Home Depot, also terribly crowded, with checkout lines thirty people deep. Fifteen more minutes walking and an hour on the subway before we got to our neighborhood market, all while carrying everything we’d purchased elsewhere. By the time we finally got home we’d have spent at least three hours, probably four, and we’d be exhausted, sweaty, and praying for an early death.

Instead we hopped in a car, drove to a strip mall, purchased everything we needed at a Target and a Home Depot sitting back-to-back, and were home in sixty minutes. Yes, it’s a little freaky that we can buy groceries and clothing in one location, I’ll be honest. Target’s new grocery section makes me feel a little bit dirty, I don’t know why, but still. I do not miss the city at all.

P.S. There’s a wiener in the lantana.

wiener in the lantana

Little F*cker

The other night Mike was doing his homework at the bedroom desk while I put together pricebooks* on our bed. Valentine was curled up on the bed, so Theo started doing the thing he does where he bounces around on the floor and pants, his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, his face framed by his long and lovely ears. It is both obnoxious and endearing, it is an attention-seeking maneuver from a little dog who’s mama’s been working a lot of long hours and so even though Mike has asked me, over and over again, not to put Theo on the bed, I picked him up and put him on the bed.

Mike has good reasons for asking me not to put Theo on the bed. For one thing, Theo communicates with his urine, meaning, he’s peed in our bed so many times that by now I should know better, I really should. It’s not that he isn’t housetrained, because he is. It’s that he doesn’t speak English, and he has very strong canine opinions that need frequent expressing. But when he starts bouncing and panting my heart goes soft and I give in.

So he’s in the bed, and everyone’s happy. I’m working, Mike’s studying, Valentine is napping and Theo is doing that cute little thing where he burrows under all our pillows and makes a nest for himself. Next he’ll be snoring, I think to myself, as I assemble catalogues. A few minutes go by and he reemerges, snuffling and panting, tail wagging, and he pounces across the bed and starts bouncing in circles all over my assembly line of catalogue material. Pamphlets and pages go flying and, in an effort to save my work, I pick him up and a stream of urine blasts me in the face.

He’s lucky I have good mom-instincts, because instead of dropping him, I placed him carefully in his dog bed on the floor before I started hollering and scratching at my face. I had ripped off my pee-soaked t-shirt and was clearing damp pamphlets off the bed when I noticed Michael, watching in horror.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! You’re right! The dog shouldn’t be on the bed!”
“There’s pee all over the comforter.” His face was so grim you’d have thought I’d just peed in the bed. For fun.
“It’s just a dribble and it’s on my side and I’ll wash it tomorrow. I promise.”

He nodded and went back to his essay on human genome patents. And then I discovered that all that snuffling under the pillows? When I thought Theo was burrowing and getting cozy? He peed. He squatted like a girl and peed all over our pillows and then he peed in my face.

It’s a good thing he’s so pretty.

Lil' F*cker

*for the job where I sell dog food.

St. Paddy’s Wiener

*No animals were intoxicated during the making of this post.*

St. Paddy Wiener

St Patricks Wiener

St Pattys Wiener

St Patricks Day

beer goggles

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at A Serious Girl.

(Watch out for the beer goggles.)

But it is

4400068316_137262bc6f_b

If this weren’t a family-friendly website I’d make a joke about how I managed to snap this photo despite the fact that there was a wiener coming right at me.