Sunday, March 30, 2008

In Treatment, Part 1

So last weekend, I had to leave Pigpen in a kennel for the first time. His stay was uneventful but ever since I picked him up, he's been determined to punish me and ensure that not only will I never board him again, but I'll never be allowed to leave the house, not until I run out of Oreo Cakesters or the neighbors complain about the smell, whichever comes first.

The Pig wasn't allowed to visit my fam at Easter because of Molly, the rents' six year old Boston Terrier who hates everything that's not my mother. On a good day, she's on the cobra side of the cuddly continuum (the dog, not my mother). On a bad day, she's Naomi Campbell.

Fig. 1: Molly

Aside from wearing puffy coats and snapping at family members, Molly's hobbies include going mental when she peeps another dog out the window or on television, let alone one who may place a paw on her property. So Pigpen (and my sister's pet which she claims is a dachshund but may actually be a ferret or a large piece of lint) were both sent to camp, like Ernest but with more cognitive ability.

He only spent three nights away but he was a week's worth of pissed. I picked him up on Monday night on my way home but it was Tuesday before he even looked in my direction. I could've been wearing ground beef pants with Snausage stitching and he still would've feigned an interest in investigating the baseboards, staring at the corner, or watching "The King of Queens".

I had to work on Tuesday, so he was alone save for Bunny, his favorite toy (other than the doormat, the one throw pillow not purchased on clearance, and any article of clothing marked 'Dry Clean Only'). I came home exhausted because pretending to like people and acting unconcerned even though I'm cradling their bare, bunioned* foot in my hand (THE VERY SAME HAND I HOLD MY TOOTHBRUSH WITH)** is tiring. Pigpen, however, was not tired. When he'd finished trying to bite the inside of my nose, he and Bunny started Greco-Roman wrestling until one or both of them flopped off the bed. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Around 3, when I was still awake and approaching that special kind of delirium when a Diamonique serving platter sounds like a great idea (Only 13 easy payments!) and/or you find yourself agreeing with Nancy Grace, I grabbed Pigpen and Bunny and hauled them both to his crate.

At 3:04, the whimpering started. By 3:06 it had escalated to barking. Loud, full-bodied Boxer barking. At 3:08, my upstairs neighbors were awake, pounding on the floor and quite possibly using expressions that invoked Jesus' full name. I crouched in front of the crate and explained to Pigpen that if he didn't let me sleep, I was selling him to the Korean restaurant on 3rd Street. I patted one of his meaty thighs, snapped off the lights, and stomped back to my room.

I had just drifted off when I heard the noise. It was a brainscrambling high pitched squeal/scream combo platter, similar in intensity to the cries of the feasting vampires from 30 Days of Night and more unsettling than Josh Hartnett's continued employment.

The sound stopped when I flipped the light on and saw Pigpen staring defiantly at me, standing on his puppy bed that fifteen minutes ago had been Tide white but was now Appaloosa-ed with shit. As soon as I walked toward him, he started thrashing around like an extra in a House of Pain video, causing the poop to fly out of the crate, some of it settling on the (white) rug and (white) walls beside it, other bits clinging to the crate's wires like stalactites.

He seemed pleased.

At fifteen till four, I was elbow deep in the guest bathtub, vigorously scrubbing Pigpen and wondering if the Fresh n' Clean Puppy Shampoo would be able to remove the poop stains from my dinosaur pajama pants. Sigh. I really should save them for special occasions. I toweled the Shitmonster off and left him howling in the bedroom while I busied myself cleaning the mess, accompanied by intermittent stops from the angry line dance upstairs.

Whether or not he'd done this on purpose, it had unintended consequences: Bunny. She'd taken some, um, friendly fire and had to be unceremoniously laid to rest. Sorry, Pigpen, but there was no way I was placing that in my washing machine, where I clean pillowcases and washcloths and other things that touch my face and/or butt.

By the time the last inch of floor had been Wetjetted, it was almost six and I had an hour before my alarm started spitting out some soft rock. The silence from the guest room meant that Pigpen was either asleep or he'd managed to Dufresne his way out and was now robbing the Sunoco across the street.

I changed pjs and tucked myself in. 64 minutes later, Dan Fogelberg told me that the Leader of the Band was really tired and I told them both to fuck themselves. I peeled my head off the pillow, went to the guest room, and was slapped awake by the smell. At some point, Pigpen--still sleeping peacefully of course-- had gone all Linda Blair, showering my prefab furniture with a thin veneer of vomit. This, I decided, was not on purpose.

Immediately I called Dr. Parker--his vet--and she agreed that yes, this sounded bad and yes, I needed to bring him in with the quickness. I grabbed Pigpen--sealing off the guest room and silently hoping for a fire--threw him in the car and drove to the clinic. After hearing last night's excrement-filled itinerary, the vet said that Pigpen should be admitted for a number of diagnostic tests.

I told her that sounded really expensive. She didn't disagree.

I was given a stack of paperwork to fill out and told that they would need to keep him overnight, that I should plan on returning around noon the next day. That gave me approximately 30 hours to myself. To sleep. To incinerate my guest bed. To move to another state.

I checked in with her several times during the day, each call adding another line item to the bill. Pigpen was getting a battery of tests... x-rays, IVs, and quite possibly liposuction. She suggested a stool sample but responded with silence when I asked if I could save $40 and just bring her my pajama pants. I knew that all of this was necessary, but at the same time, I work part-time. Selling running shoes. I probably bank less than the 8 year old Asians who stitch them together.

My last anytime minutes of the day were spent on the phone learning that Pigpen was going to be OK. He didn't have any chronic diseases. No blockages, nothing permanent. This was huge. I was bracing myself for the announcement that he was going to require a colon transplant. All systems were go for him to come home the next day.

I drove to the clinic early on Thursday and was immediately intercepted by one of the other vets. She introduced herself, shaking my hand and her head as she said "Wow, that Pigpen's always in trouble isn't he?"

That can't be good.

"Dr. Parker was getting ready to call you--", she began before being called to help with a leaf-covered cat that was trying to cough up a Kia.

I was guided to an exam room. Dr. Parker came in alone. Without Pigpen.

"Did you get my message?" she asked. I said I hadn't. She gave me a tight-lipped smile and said "We are so sorry." She paused for effect. She paused too long. "But he did get a bath this morning."

I waited.

"We tried to call you. Nothing like this has ever happened here, I assure you, but we'll need to keep him another day".

To be continued...

No, he's not dead.

*No one finds it amusing if you refer to their foot deformities as "Fun-ions".
**My boss met with me last week to stress his concern that I'm not being 'intimate' enough with the customers' feet. Right now, I struggle to be cordial to them.

33 comments:

notsojenny said...

oh man, that sucks. my dog had a stream of blood coming out of his backside once, lovely i know. so i'm very familiar with the "we'll need to keep him here for a while" vet speak. and unfortunatley with the comma filled bill that comes with it. but they're worth it.... right?? mine just had some sort of eating disorder, had to be switched to special food because he's got a too sensitive tummy.

hope pigpen is better soon.

rs27 said...

This could be like a choose your own adventure.

Ok, I'm going to say Pigpen threw up all over himself and got some vomit in his eye and now has to wear an eye patch.

Close?

Allie said...

man, way to leave us hanging...I'll be refreshing this page all day just to get the ending!!!

Laura said...

What a cliffhanger - I am SO curious to hear what has happened!

My guess is leaning toward a Legally-Blonde-2-style discovery that Pigpen is gay (yes, I watched Legally Blonde 2. Actually, I own it.)

Nate said...

Almost this EXACT same thing happened a couple months ago with Sam. We quickly learned that if we just abandoned the crate altogether and let him sleep in the office but outside the crate that he was fine. Here's hoping that Pigpen's okay.

jakki said...

truly worried if he's okay but....

HOW CAN YOU STOP AT A MOMENT LIKE THAT?

Mickey said...

Cliffhanger! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!

Seriously, you should not be handling feet. You should be getting paid to write.

I'm glad you decided to let us off the hook a little by telling us Pigpen's still with the living.

J-Money said...

notsojenny: What kind of food? Pig is on a "low residue" diet that unfortunately does not mean "low incidence of poop in the house".

rs27: After that, I want to encourage everyone to guess the affliction. You're in the lead.

allie: I'm leaving for work in a few--the feet cannot wait!--so it may be tomorrow a.m. That should save you some refresh-time.

laura: I may or may not own that too. And I may or may not have watched it on cable two nights ago. Just so you know...

nate: Actually, he sleeps in my bed. I'm an enabler. But, whew, Sam's OK... save for encounters with paper bags.

jakki: I was trying to reel you in. Are you reeled?

mickey: Thanks...hopefully the foot handling isn't forever. Just until I can pay the vet bills, so I should clock out around 2274.

Kayleigh said...

Ahhhh, Pigpen!!! :( What is going on with him? Don't keep us waiting!

Poor guy. And poor guest room while we're at it.

RazZDoodle said...

Holy Lord, that is the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

Princess of the Universe said...

Seriously - I NEED to know what happens next. :)

mindy said...

NOT FAIR! Keep writing, dammit.

Also, when I go in to a shoe store, I sincerely HOPE the workers don't try to become intimate with my feet. Tell your boss there are websites for that.

Are You Willing to Change? said...

Oh my gosh...What happened?! This sounds so crazy, and you are leaving us hanging! At least he was in his crate though and the guest bedroom when all of the bodily fluids began to come out!

jen said...

I hope Pigpen is ok!! My money is on "ingested something really obscure" Cause I"m pretty sure most vet's offices have seen it all.

poodlegoose said...

Ok, so seriously? Not cool. You can't just leave us hanging like that. When I read the end, I was very much expecting to get upset, but yeah.

I really hope he's ok, and this is just going to be a big joke at the end where we laugh and laugh and laugh...

I'm sorry but when bad things happen to pets, I get very sad (and crazy).

A Lover and a Fighter said...

I'M REALLY NERVOUS!

J-Money said...

kayleigh: Both of them should recover, after a thorough cleaning.

razzdoodle: Awww, you say that to all the girls.

princess: You will. I promise.

mindy: This is an approach I'll be taking tomorrow. As long as you can hire me after I'm severely beaten with an Asics 2130.

are you willing: Yes, as opposed to on the right side of my bed where he normally sleeps. NEAR MY STUFFED DINOSAUR.

jen: Warmer...getting warmer...

poodle: He's fine. I promise. You don't have to be sad.

a lover...: Ssssh... it's OK.

Katelin said...

oh man that sucks, animals get serious attitudes sometimes, haha. hope pigpen gets better soon though.

Dexter Colt said...

I love how vets make everything seem so dire. They've watched too many episodes of ER.

-Had a dog do the exact same thing. Nothing wrong with her. Just separation anxiety. Your dog sounds every bit like the over-anxious dog.

-Works in conjunction with vets. Feels like they prescribe too many unnecessary diagnostic tests.

-Knows what peace of mind is worth to a dog-owner.

Robbie said...

I've come to the conclusion thatyou watch far too many 2-part drama/serialisation day time movies for your own good.
I hope Pigpen is better

Lo said...

I have bunions. I call them my "foot corners". I'm so sorry you have to look at other people's feet. I don't even enjoy looking at mine, much less anybody else's. Blech. And I sincerely hope your puppy is feeling better soon, whatever his affliction. I am oh so familiar with the enormous vet bills that come with pet ownership.

BTW, I'm a new reader and thoroughly enjoy your blog. It has helped get me through two thoroughly boring work weeks!

Ashley said...

i spent a lot of time yearning for a puppy but then read posts like this and the yearning turns into a sort of dread and i am glad i never made the purchase.

however, i hope pigpen is ok...and i am sort of dying to hear the rest of this story

Vanilla said...

Holy crap that was funny. I've had my dog for 8 years now and I'm convinced that without all the money I've paid for him in vet bills etc. I'd be driving a Porsche instead of a Jeep and corecting everyone who didn't pronounce it Porsh-uh.

I hope that Pigpen gets better.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I just like the fact that your dog has a mane.

For this reason, I hope he gets better.

Amy said...

Choose your own adventure, part doo:

Pigpen has joined the Russian Maffia, headed an epileptic Siberian husky and a three legged Himalayan named Dennis. His initiation task was to head off the fuzz while the Himalayan compromises the food bins, heading straight for the stacks of canned mackrel.

In an unforeseen and unfortunate turn of events, Pigpen cracks under the pressure, craps on Dennis and adorns the halls with a vision of poo that defies the senses (and hospitalized two workers).

Allie said...

I need a time frame again b/c starting at 8am this morning I've been checking your page just about ever hour...I have to know the truth!!!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Did I mention that I love how you named your dog Pigpen?

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Gracefully dodging the dog-business: "Dufresne" is a great verb. If you can use dufresne and bogart together I'll be impressed.

TNT Jim said...

Too many Snausages post bath I think.
BTW now that you're shoe goddess extraordinaire what would you recommend in for a larger runner with high rigid arches and a neutral gait?

PS. I've been waiting years to use "Snausages" in a conversation. BOOSH!

I hope you're both doing better.

hairyweisenheimmer said...

Whats with this " to be continued" crap?????

I'm guessing he ate the tub stopper?

Looking forward to the rest of the story!

surviving myself said...

this is like the end of an 80's sitcom where everyone laughs and then the scene freezes.

I must know more!

RazZDoodle said...

OK. I've taken off 2 days waiting for this blog to be updated. Can you give us part 2 so I can feed my kids and go to work?

Hollywood Sucker said...

this post was just what I needed to accompany my fresh cup of coffee at work this morning

if my dog ever does this, i'll die. and make the boyfriend clean it up.

i'm sorry to hear about your dinosaur pants.