>> Thursday, March 25, 2010
The dogs have been needing to get their teeth cleaned since we adopted them (eh hem) ah, two years ago. We speculate that they had been fed nothing but canned food or perhaps human scraps before we got them. We feed them Taste of the Wild dry food, which they love, but which they also gulp without chewing as much as I'd like. Lucy also gnaws on Nylabones like they're going out of style, and between the bones and the crunchy food her teeth have improved significantly.
Not so much Simon's. Not only was the tartar bad for Simon's health and longevity, but it caused his breath to be toxic. Seriously, when he yawned in my face I could feel my eyelashes and eyebrows curling as the reek of putrid rotting canine decay washed over me. They were the maws of hell. He could stop conversation with that breath, and would leave people staggering and gasping. No amount of brushing or trying to remove the tartar ourselves could get through it.
In short, I have never smelled such bad dog breath.
Finally, after putting it off for way too long, we finally got around to taking him in for a pre-dental appointment and a subsequent cleaning. Yesterday was the big day.
If you've been following my post for any length of time, you know that my dogs are neurotically inseparable. While I would ordinarily have considered taking a day off work so Lucy wouldn't have to be alone for the day, I had a big conference that I had been preparing for for months, and my husband had some significant projects to handle at work. Time off wasn't really an option.
But heck, I thought, we've been working with them to build up their confidence and to make them more independent ever since we got them, and they've been doing pretty well. So, while we were worried about how Lucy would fare without her brother for the day, we also figured we had to try separating them to find out how they would do. I worried that Lucy would perhaps bark herself hoarse locked in the crate she usually shares with Simon, but had some degree of confidence that she would manage to cope.
How wrong I was.
I came home around 6:00 to hear Lucy barking. Nothing unusual there, but I raced up the stairs to rescue her. As I reached the stairs to the third floor where the dog crate is, I was nearly bowled over by the smell. Good God, had a farmer fertilized my attic? And then I reached poor Lucy.
There she was, standing trembling in her crate with the most frantically worried expression on her face. The floor of the crate was covered in a slurry mix of urine and liquid feces. Apparently in her panic Lucy had wound up with severe diarrhea, and had spent her day pacing through it. She was covered. Head to toe.
I have never felt like such a jerk in my life.
My first instinct was to take the crate with her in it and carry it all out to the back yard to hose them off, but there was no way I could carry her and the awkwardly large crate down two flights of stairs. No, I had to open that crate door and let her walk through the house with those dripping, poop covered feet.
You, dear readers, I am certain, are glad that I have no photos with which to illustrate this post.
My husband came home with Simon about 10 minutes later, and as soon as she saw and sniffed him, Lucy returned to her usual perky self. The shaking and pacing stopped, and she started trying to wrestle with him in the yard. She did a little happy dance. All was well in Lucy's little neurotic head.
I guess the story has a happy ending. Lucy got a thorough bath, as did the crate, and the carpets got a good scrubbing to remove all the poop prints. Then Lucy and a still groggy Simon slept in their usual spot in front of the fire all evening, and seemed completely normal this morning. Lucy went into the crate this morning, with Simon, with no hesitation whatsoever. And probably best of all, Simon's breath when he yawns has no smell whatsoever - completely fresh and healthy. His pearly whites look gorgeous.
Whether there's lasting damage to Lucy's psyche I shall never know, but I can certainly attest that some permanent damage has been done to mine. When I close my eyes I can still see poor trembling poop-covered Lucy standing in that crate, looking desperately forlorn. In retrospect, of course, I see that it was very unwise to leave her alone for the day. Ah, hindsight.
My poor Lucy. I'm glad she's such a forgiving soul.