I Think We Killed Him

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.  I buy junk food at the grocery store that I know will overrule my meager will power.  I plan more things in my day than I can possibly accomplish leaving me stressed and anxious.  However, the worst thing I do to myself is ignore my inner voice when it tells me something is a bad idea.

For example, ten days ago John decided it was time once again to rid the dogs of internal parasites (aka worming).  Somehow the rat terriers have a sixth sense when this ritual is approaching, and they disappear so John asked me to catch them before he went outside.  After giving them a much smaller dose than the one that almost put Tuffy in a coma the last time (See “How to Poison a Dog”), he asked if I wanted to worm Champ.  He asks me this every time, and every time I say, “No, he’s getting too old, and I’m afraid the medicine will be harder on him than any worms he might have.”

So why on this occasion did I put my common sense aside and take a tiny dab on my finger from the tube he held?  As I went into the house, my inner voice was saying, “This is a bad idea.”

“It will be okay.  It’s half the amount John gave the rat terriers, and I don’t want Champ to have gross worms chewing on his insides,” I countered.

“Then why have you said ‘No’ the last five times he asked?”

“Because I baby him too much.  That’s what John always says.  It will be fine,” I insisted.

“But this is John and dog wormer.  Are you really this slow?”

“Shut up!”

The first hour passed uneventfully enough that my anxiety began to diminish.  The vomiting that occurred the second hour is a fairly common reaction so I didn’t see this development as a problem.  Hour three saw some labored breathing and periodic cramping.  This was a little more disconcerting, but still no problem as it was within the range of expected symptoms.  However, I thought he might be more comfortable if I held him so he spent the next two hours on my lap.  When he started to whimper a little, I put his head on my shoulder thinking that position might be more comfortable.

Sometime during hour five, Champ’s body stiffened and then went limp as he simultaneously lost control of his bowels.  This might be a problem!  With the hem of my shirt pulled up over him, I rushed outside and gently put him on the ground.  Only then did I realize he had stopped breathing.  I only yelled for John a couple of times because I had no idea if he was anywhere near the house.  Champ had one chance, and it appeared to be a long shot of epic proportion:  me administering CPR.  I don’t know how long I did compressions and blew into his nose, but that was what I was doing when John sat down beside me and asked what happened.  With tears in my eyes I said, “I think we killed him.”

As John picked up his limp body, he said, “Are you sure he wasn’t breathing because he’s breathing now.”

I felt a surge of relief, but his glassy eyes and rag doll posture made it difficult to be very hopeful.  The next few hours saw little change, but slowly he began to improve.  His walking was very unsteady, and he had difficulty eating for a few days which made us think he might have had a mild stroke.  Whatever happened, he continued to make gradual improvement with each passing day.  By the next week, he was back almost 100%.  Even the nightly whining that we attributed to doggie dementia returned.  Yeah!!  The night the whining resumed John said, “During the last 15 years, Champ has survived an attack by a dog that outweighed him by 50 pounds, two bouts of pancreatitis, and surgery to repair a ruptured disc in his back.  I know something is going to kill him someday.  I’m just glad it wasn’t us.”

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