Friday, July 27, 2007

There's No Altering My Puppy

My 7 month old puppy, Oreo, got neutered this week. Dogs and cats get spayed and neutered every day in this country. This surgical alteration is probably the most common operation performed by vets. It is routine and predictable. But when its your own dog going through it, there is nothing routine about it.

The night before the surgery, you give your dog his last meal by 7PM. Then, nothing but water until morning, when you must pick up the water bowl. This probably doesn't seem that bad to you, but to dogs, who are strict creatures of routines, it is devastating. Plus, its not like you can explain to them that tomorrow is the day they will lose their manhood and that's the reason we are starving them.

A typical dog day at my house begins around 6AM, with going potty, eating breakfast, and going for a walk. At 7:30, we wake up "daddy" and the dogs get some cheerios from him. Then, they eat some of my mini wheats and go play in the yard. We do this day in day out, with little change in the routine, unless its raining, in which case we skip the walk.

So, you can imagine how lost the dogs were on the morning of the surgery when after going potty, there was nothing to do. Since I have two dogs, I had to deprive Misty, my older dog, of breakfast and water as well. I couldn't feed her, and starve her brother. That would be so unfair. I couldn't walk them, because then they would be thirsty and I couldn't give the puppy water.

After looking at me with those "starving eyes", the dogs realized they weren't getting anywhere with me. Let's go wake daddy!

The dogs went to the bedroom and stared down Jeff. When that didn't work, they put their paws on the bed and nosed him. Then, the whining started. You could almost hear them saying, "Please daddy, give us some cheerios, mommy is starving us." Finally Jeff got up, and the dogs followed him like he was the Pied Piper into the kitchen. They sat patiently while he poured the cereal in his bowl. The guilt was killing me. I lured Oreo out to the yard, so Misty could at least have some cheerios. Oreo knew immediately what was happening, and started barking his head off, saying "I was tricked". I skipped my breakfast, as I felt I should have to suffer along with Oreo. Poor baby- if he only knew what was to come.

I drop Oreo at the vet around 8AM, went home and fed Misty and myself. It was actually nice not having him around for a few hours. Its amazing how much easier it is to clean when you don't have a puppy attacking your vacuum, broom and dust rag. Plus, I was able to give Misty a good brushing without Oreo attacking the brush. All Oreo's toys were stowed in the toy basket. My house was spotless. By 3:30 though, I was anxious to see my baby. I went to pick him up, along with the many medications and instructions to follow.

Oreo came home with the plastic E-collar on to keep him from licking and biting his stitches. Dogs typically hate those things and Oreo was no exception. Worse though, Misty was completely terrified of it. She would run as far away from Oreo as possible. Part of the problem was Oreo kept banging the collar into things and walls, and the noise scared Misty.

Misty is a dog with a severe anxiety problem. When we first brought Oreo home as an 8 week old puppy, Misty had to spend a whole day at the vet on IV fluids. She had gotten so worked up about this little creature invading our house. She was vomiting yellow bile all over the carpet which made her completely dehydrated. Plus, she had some pretty explosive diarrhea. I had to replace our living room carpet, because the stains would not come out after trying every cleaner on the market.

So, now I feared I had 2 patients on my hand. I started Misty on some Kaopectate as a preventative measure. I didn't want to have to buy another living room carpet.

Oreo was very groggy and just wanted to lay down. I knew he had been on fluids all day, so I thought he would have to pee. I brought him outside, but all he did was sit down. I brought him in and put him on his bed. When he got up later, there was a puddle on the bed. Clearly, he was leaking urine.

I recognized the puddle, because my last dog was incontinent for the final 2 years of his life, due to prostate cancer. Munchkin had an ample supply of "diapers" to catch his drips. I kept the diapers, thinking you never know. But, I didn't think I would use them on my puppy.

I called the vet, and she said the leakage was probably the anesthesia causing him to lose muscle control. The operation had been no where near the urinary tract. On went the diaper- thank goodness it fit. The vet said she would be surprised if Oreo didn't pee on his own in the morning.

Oreo slept like a log that night. I don't think he moved once. I had read all sorts of stuff online saying that dogs are back to normal the morning after the surgery. So, I was expecting to go back to our old routine. Not the case with Oreo.

In the morning, I brought Oreo outside to pee, and nothing. He just sat down. Now, I started to panic. I felt like I had ruined my dog's life and he would never be the same again. Why had I done the operation? How could I mutilate my beloved puppy? Would he need diapers the rest of his life? I was starting to lose it. I'm not good with changes to my routine either.

Jeff to the rescue. Jeff got out of bed, got down on the floor and fed Oreo his breakfast on a spoon. Jeff kept saying to me, "Are you watching? See him eating? He's fine." least he's eating, but what about the peeing thing.

Next thing you know, there is a huge puddle on the new living room carpet. At least we know he can pee. We go through several towels soaking it all up. Why dogs always vomit and pee on carpets and not vinyl or tile is a great dog mystery. Oreo is now in desperate need of a bath, since he had the diaper on when he peed. He was covered in pee. The post op instructions said "No bathing" for 14 days. Yuk. So, we wiped him down with a wet wash cloth and baby wipes, avoiding his incision.

Now, Oreo wouldn't stop crying. I don't know if he's in pain or just frustrated. He isn't walking. All he does is take 2 steps and sits down. I call the vet.

The receptionist relays my woes to the vet. I keep getting,"that's normal...that's hasn't even been 24 hours." I won't hang up the phone though, so they finally say to just come in and we'll check him out.

I bring Oreo right away. Some of the people who work there say, "Oreo's back already?" The vet is very patient with me, and assures me that he is doing great. She gives me another pain killer for him. I think she does so more to make me feel better than Oreo. I tell the vet tech about how Misty is freaking out over the cone collar, and that we both need some Valium. I know they have it there, but they didn't give me any.

I bring Oreo home. He runs to the back door, I let him out, and he goes to his favorite pee spot and pees for a long time. Then, he starts running around the yard and tries to get Misty to chase him.

Guess I jumped the gun on bringing him to the vet.

Three days later, things are pretty much back to normal. Except Oreo is not supposed to run or jump. He and Misty are both dying to chase and wrestle with each other, and I have to keep telling them to stop. Oreo has also caught on to all my "tricks" to get him to take his medicine. Now, I pretty much have to tackle him. Why do they make dog medicine bubble gum flavored? You would think liver or chicken would be a better idea.

You always hear that puppies calm down after being neutered. Not the case with Oreo. I think that is just a trick to get people to neuter their zany puppies. But why would we want them to calm down? Puppies bring life and energy into our homes. I'm glad to have my crazy Oreo back, especially after that long morning of worry that I altered him more than originally planned.


Betty said...

"Days with Oreo and Misty" make such good reading. Take my advice and send this to your local paper and see if they would be interested in a new human interest column. If you sent in "Technology and Me", it could be the start of a new Commentary by Sara. These are both as good as anything I read in our daily paper. Don't laugh. Try it out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with aunt betty. if you have read any of the other blogs near you on this site you would see that they are not nearly as interesting or entertaining.


Sara said...

You guys are very kind, and boosting my self confidence. Don't you think you are a little bit biased though? I'm just glad someone is reading (and liking) what I write!