Friday, October 15, 2010

Flashback Friday: Jack and the Spicy Clover

Spring 2008
Jack has always been a little nutty around water.  (Over on The dogs behind the blogs  you can read a little more about the irony of his full given name.)  When it rains, he won't go out.  When there's dew on the grass, he'd rather wait.  But sometimes, when you've got to go, you've got to go.  After finishing his rounds in the backyard, he will return to the slider and tap his paw, or 'knock', very urgently if not desperately on the glass.  Then, he will proceed to roll on the floor and repeatedly wipe his face on the carpet, left side then right, back and forth.  This even when only his paws got wet.  Can pets have OCD?  I don't know.  But I'm pretty sure if he could figure out the pump mechanism on the bottle of Germ-X, he'd be sanitizing his paws every time he came inside.

Not particularly enjoying the smell of dog on our family room carpet, we generally try to discourage the excessive dehumidification.  As we scolded him one spring day over his copious 'cleaning', it occurred to us that it was a beautiful, sunny, & dry day out.  Where had he gotten into water?   Jack is normally a people-pleaser, unless we are competing for his attentions against another animal or something that interests him more at the moment.  So that day it surprised us when he went back to rubbing his face all over the carpet.  It was as if he was pushing his face now - running the length of the room one way, and back again.  Was he itchy?  He appeared to be itchy!  On closer examination, he had a nickle-sized welt on his face.  Poor thing!  We rubbed his face for him and took him outside to play ball as a distraction.  Surely whatever it was would go away soon and he'd forget all about it.

After the game of fetch concluded,  he came back inside and laid down to rest.  A short while later, he was up, obsessively scratching his face on the floor again.  This time, his whole face was lumpy.  I mean, the pictures can't do it justice.  Our beautiful, sleek, golden boy was now anything but.  (It's hard for me, looking at these pictures now, remembering his discomfort!)


 

With his eyes nearly swollen shut, we frantically called our vet.  One of the things that we *love* in this world is our vet's office.  Never snooty or worried about malpractice suits, they are knowledgeable, laid back, and always willing to dispense advice over the phone.  They said to go ahead and give him a benedryl.  Wow, that's all?  Yup, they said.  As long as he doesn't sound like he's having trouble breathing, give him a benedryl and wait it out.  They said he probably was having an allergic reaction.  I remembered that little welt we had seen earlier.  They asked if he could have been stung by a bee.  I went to check for a stinger, but the welt was gone.  That area was completely smooth now.  Hmm... I checked all over and found no other outside signs of trauma(well, other than the baseball size swelling all over his head!)  They told me that sometimes dogs, labs especially, eat the bee and get stung on the inside of the mouth.  Genius.

This fit with Jack's personality as well.  He had a habit of chasing and devouring anything that flew - moths, flies, dandelion fluffs...  sometimes he'd wait for them to land on a blade of grass or a clover, then BAM!  (They call me, "Sneak Attack Jack").  When he was a puppy and we had had him a little over a week, he ate a slug.  We called the vet, quite worried, because he really had eaten the whole slug!  I don't remember what all the vet said other than, "Most puppies do eat a slug once, but the experience is so gooey and awful they learn from it and don't ever try it again"  Well, perhaps Jack heard this and took it as a personal challenge because we caught him with four other slugs that summer.  I think by fall, he had finally figured out the cause and effect regarding that unpleasant aftertaste. 

The story has a happy ending; the benedryl did its thing, and our beautiful lab returned to his normal self again.  Come to think of it, though, he's not so much in the habit of chasing after floating objects anymore, and stays away from what he must have told himself were the spicy clovers.

Have a great weekend, everyone! 
~Heather

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