No matter what you celebrate, or do not celebrate, about this midwinter season, I hope everyone had a low-pain, low-stress, and enjoyable time over the holidays. To add some jolly to everyone’s mood, I offer you these photos of two of the lights of my life.
Crackers is having a heavenly day today. I’m in the thick of my expected low point of the week (adios, morphine!) so today has been all about hydrating, stretching, and distraction. Usually, Harriett wants the snuggles and she is bigger and more dominant, so poor Crackers gets shoved to the periphery. But for some reason (probably its just that she’s cold, or maybe because she’s been having some allergies lately), Harriett burrowed under the Big Red Fuzzy Blanket and decided to hibernate today. One of Crackers’s Favorite Things is to lie down on the couch next to me and rest his head on my arm, and today I could feel he was cold so I even got him a blanket so he could cuddle AND be warm. He has his back to me right now, head on my upper arm, and one leg resting on my lower arm as I type this. Doggy Bliss. The human in this equation is pretty happy too–it helps exceedingly to have company that just wants my honest presence. There’s no question of trying to put on a good face for him–he knows how much pain I’m in, he loves me just the same, but he doesn’t come with any attachment to me feeling better. He is here for me and thrilled to be loved after his hard-knock life. He certainly wishes me the best, but I don’t feel like he would be happier if I were not in pain, because he’s about as happy as he can be to have a human who loves him. It’s a comforting company to have today.
As promised, I have photos of the dog nail polish. They really do look spiffy with their nails done up to match their harnesses and leads. Crackers, like a toddler at the barbershop, is not convinced that having his nails painted doesn’t hurt. He’ll be calm for a while, then start to worry, and finally yelp like I’ve stepped on him or something. It’s a bit disconcerting for me, but I think it’s great handling training for him to get used to, and it will make his nail trimming much less traumatic since he’ll be more accustomed to having the nails handled.
Harriett had Neon Purple on her first try, and now she’s rocking classic Red nails.
The Pawdicures pens are pretty cool–they’re a paint pen where you have to press or pump the tip to get the paint to flow. The flow is rather uneven, but it’s way better than trying to deal with a brush around your dog. The nail polish reminds me of colored white-out in opacity and consistency, but doesn’t get lumpy. It’s water-soluble until it dries, so if you get some on yourself you can wash it off, and a single coat (I prefer thicker coats) dries in about a minute. With one heavier coat you don’t need multiple coats, and although they recommend painting black nails with a base coat of white, I didn’t find this necessary with Crackers, who does have a few little black nails.
Harriet doesn’t mind having hers done much at all, except for some of the holding still part. And yes, Crackers is completely back to his normal self after his traumatic toad incident last week. They are happy and very stylish-looking little doggies.
My next dogs post was supposed to be about the dogs getting their nails done, but something more dramatic happened the night before last–Crackers caught a cane toad.
Cane toads are big ugly voracious invasive things that secrete toxins through their skin when threatened. My dogs, being American Hairless Terriers that come from Rat Terrier stock, love to chase little things that move fast. There are a lot more cane toads here than rats running around and on occasion I’ve been letting the dogs chase the toads a short ways while on lead. I didn’t realize how dangerous this was until Crackers actually bit one.
We’d chased about three toads around for a few hops each at the end of our evening walk and were heading home when Crackers started resisting the lead. I looked back and he was foaming at the mouth and shaking his head. I knew it had to be that he’d mouthed one of the toads without me seeing it in the dim light. I scooped him up and we ran home, me wiping the foam on my shirt.
Luckily my sweetie was home, so while I stuck Crackers in the sink and started washing his face and gums because I didn’t want him swallowing any of the foam, my sweetie was able to Google what to do. He learned that the best thing to do was to rinse the mouth and gums sideways or away (so the dog doesn’t swallow or breathe the water) for ten minutes to get rid of as much toxin before it is absorbed as possible. So we switched sinks and really hosed him down, poor little guy, and then I wrapped him up and wiped out his mouth with wet paper towels for good measure.
However, the smaller the dog, the more concentrated the poison in his body, and Crackers is only 9 pounds. So as I was sitting there with him, just keeping tabs on his pulse for irregularity, his muscles started to stiffen. It looked painful and was horrifying to see his little legs stretched out all the way backwards, and he wasn’t even able to put them down to meet the floor when we tried to check and see if he could stand. So I made him swallow some hydrogen peroxide to get him to puke up any toxin he’d swallowed, and, not being able to reach our vet or the other vet we know, we wrapped him up and drove to the place where the dogs had been quarantined, because we knew a vet lived at the house on that property and it was close by.
We banged on their door and she kindly came out to check him out. She felt his pulse and told us that the toxin tended to have its worst effect during the first hour, which we were about halfway through, and as she held him the paralysis started to recede and he began to look around a little. She said that was a great sign and that she thought he was going to be fine, so we took him back home and hung out with him. Within a half-hour he was trotting about the house uncomfortably, so my sweetie took him out again and he got rid of the remaining hydrogen peroxide and was asking for a bit of a run, then looking forlornly at his food bowl since he’d missed out on dinner. He seemed a little tired and of course a little wary of me since I’d not only rinsed his mouth but made him throw up that evening, but was completely back to normal by the morning. After checking in with our vet, we fed him normally and he ate well, and is just fine now.
That was the scariest thing I’ve been through with either of the dogs so far. I’m so glad he made it–he easily could have died if he’d absorbed just a little more of the toxin. And we will not be chasing any toads in the future; although I doubt Crackers will be very interested in cane toads any more. We were extremely lucky and we won’t be pushing our luck on that one again!
Harriett likes to lick my feet. She does it pretty much every night, when I lie down in bed and start reading. She runs down to the end of the bed and licks my feet. She’s really thorough, too. If she really is into it, she’ll even use her teeth on the calluses on my heels. It’s probably weird that I enjoy this, but I do. And how cool is it that I have a dog that does pedicures, right?
I found out about dog nail polish last week. Who knew, there are actually multiple companies that make nail polish for dogs! They dry quickly and have fewer nasty chemicals. I assume this means the finish isn’t as nice as in human nail polish, or else, why aren’t the people nail polishes less toxic too?? So I decided to buy a few and paint my doggies’ nails to match their harnesses. (I went for the Pawdicure brand. I’m such a consumerist pet owner sucker!) But it seems only fair to do a little pedicuring back!
I’ll put up some photos if it goes well. Harriett and Crackers had never had their nails trimmed before they were rescued, so they were so long their little toes were getting deformed, but we’ve been working them back. The vet says not to stress about it, as the next time they get their teeth done, he’ll cut them off close while they’re under anesthesia. So there is still plenty of nail to paint. I’m so amused. Dog nail polish!