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.
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
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."
"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.