Saturday, July 12, 2008

Big brown eyes

The romance of dog ownership: walking through sunlit cornfields with your frisky chum, cleaning up undigested stomach contents that have leaked from a hole in his abdomen, changing dressings and smearing cream on his testicles.

Yes, the big guy is home after his operation* for stomach torsion. He hadn't been recovering well in the veterinary hospital - constantly anxious and refusing all food for six days. So they decided he might do better chez Risdon.

He has. Getting back, after panting unhappily the whole of the drive, he found his bed, lay down, sighed deeply and slept for six hours. Then he ate. He passed on the first walk after he got back - too busy sleeping - but next morning he was waiting with the others to jump into the car. You try jumping with a ten inch, week-old, suture-clamped cut running the length of your belly. I was going to lift him, but as soon as he saw me start to stoop he was in. When I collected him from the hospital, eighteen hours earlier, I'd had to lift him in.

It's rescue dog syndrome - and the vet hospital knew that. Membership of the group really matters to mutts and when that is broken, when they change ownership, under circumstances they sense are traumatic, it's a shattering thing for them. They frequently bond almost desperately to their new owner or, in my case, pack. And they really don't want to have to go through it again, so kennelling anywhere is a problem.

Tell me again, someone, how animals don't have complicated sensibilities.

Sorry it's blurred, but here's the chap in question, as I type:

That hole in his side is odd, though. I think they must have stitched his stomach to his abdominal wall, perhaps to prevent a repeat performance. Certainly, a (happily, decreasing) proportion of anything he eats is evacuated through this hole through which they were feeding him when he wasn't eating. I'm assuming here that an equal proportion isn't being deposited in his abdominal cavity.

It's very odd. Not long after getting back, Ben had a big drink of water. Ten minutes later, the dressing was flapping in the breeze, and a large pile of lurid orange sludge was on the lawn (I'm pleased to be able to report that this happened outdoors). This was the gunge they were pumping through a tube directly into his belly. The hole is where the tube used to be. The original plan was that I'd tube-feed him at home, but that changed when Ben intervened by chewing off the feeding tube a couple of hours before I collected him. They gave me a "flowerpot" for him, but Ben has no need of it because I put it in my hall (bookcases had been shoved in there during re-carpeting, it's not normally this cluttered) and, therefore, it was plainly meant for cats:

Thanks to Cleo for sorting out that potential misunderstanding.

*Thanks very much for the good wishes expressed there.


Anonymous said...

"..lurid orange sludge.."

Yikes! Presumably coloured that shade so they are able to see more easily if any is 'leaking'...?

"I was going to lift him, but as soon as he saw me start to stoop he was in. "

That was a lucky escape, with the size of him :). Perhaps you might want to invest in a pet ramp:

Peter Risdon said...

I guess that's why it's coloured. Strange stuff.

Lifting Ben isn't a problem, but I have been thinking about getting a ramp for Humphrey the arthritic Labrador.

Mac the Knife said...

Floreat the Risdonpooch!

'and, therefore, it was plainly meant for cats'

I've had occasion to talk to you about this before have I not?

Peter Risdon said...

Mac, you have. The cats are disappointed in me too. Someday, it might sink in.