A week after I returned from my summer vacation in July, my dog's breath, already at a tangible 15-year-old level, suddenly got worse. Every six weeks, she gets bathed, combed, clipped, and has as many teeth brushed as she'll allow. Two years ago, the Vet and I discussed knocking her out for a deluxe cleaning, but we opted not to, because of her age. No problem. We’ll work it out.
So, as I was saying, you could smell her breath when you opened the door. It permeated the entire house (all 900 square feet of it), like death. I imagine. So, I grabbed my little plastic finger and the breath spray she likes and attempted to get near her to rub her teeth and gums a bit. She hates it, but likes it, but hates it, but likes it, so I can usually get a few swipes in there before we both get cranky. But not this time. There was a big pink blob of something jutting out from the front of her mouth. I knew I had to investigate, even though I was foaming at the mouth from the stench. She wouldn’t let me near her mouth long enough to know exactly what was going on in there, but from the outside, it looked like the beginnings of one of those tumors on the TLC people who have to be cut out of their homes. We hightailed it to the vet where they ordered emergency-ish (this was Friday and surgery could wait until blood work and Monday rolled around) dental surgery to remove it and do a professional cleaning.
She did fine. She lost 16 teeth in the process (I know, I know, this is where you have my permission to beat me up for being a bad dog owner, but I refer you to the above mention of a prior discussion about surgery in which I was told not to do it) and now gums canned food, but all is ($900 worth of) well.
Well, until last week. (This post is not really about her teeth – it’s all just PETA court evidence that I do at least try to take care of the dog on most days.) It’s no secret that Sabrina and I have issues. Think two old ladies sharing a semi-private room at the home. When things get ugly, they really get ugly. And the middle of the night is when we tussle the most. Sunday night, she started this fake throwing up business. (You know the kind where they swallow incessantly and do a little dry heaving.) This dog is not out chasing vermin or digging up worms anymore. She’s on a 30-foot tie out that gives her access to the same little patch of condo land that she’s on every.other.freeking.day.of.her.life. In other words, what she could get into was beyond me and frankly just ticking me off.
She went under the bed to do her swallowing/gagging routine, and I couldn’t take it. I decided toot sweet to put her in the bathroom for the night. I sat down on the floor beside the bed and went for her collar and, as usual, she tried to bite me. So, I grabbed my slipper, conveniently sitting on the floor next to me. In theory, I would hurl it at her ass like a simultaneous spank and shove towards me so I could grab her. In actuality, the old gal turned her head to bite it and she got hit in the left eyeball. Yes, the edge of the rubber sole smack in the eyeball. She yelped once, but that was it. She did move toward me, so I grabbed her collar and put her in the bathroom to dry heave all she wanted. And I went to sleep.
The next morning, she looked like death warmed over. I don't think she slept all night. And her eye? It was either going to sink into her head and come out the other end the next day or shrivel up and pop out and land on the floor for me to slip on later. It looked horrible. Thing is, though, that she wasn't rubbing it or shaking her head or crying or anything. And she was eating fine (that runs in the family). My son, who was there that afternoon, said that he'd give it another day. By that night, though, it was red and hazy and altogether not right, and I swore she had internal injuries. As one who goes to the dark side, I started googling doggie head trauma.
At bedtime, I held her and petted her and cried like a baby and prayed to The Baby Jesus. For me, really, more than for the poor dog. "Dear Baby Jesus. Please don't let me have killed this dog with a slipper. How can I possibly explain that? I'm a good person. Please don't let her die from my killing her. And, really? I just spent $900 at the vet. Oh, and that stupid $50 memory foam bed for her hip. Oh, and the new little treats that she can gum. I spent like $10 on those. Seriously. Please, please, please don't let her die."
Sabrina looked up at me all pitifully, yet somehow smugly like she was enjoying the show, and kissed my hand. Then, we went to sleep and the next morning, I was prepared to take her to the doctor first thing. But, she was a whole new dog, none the worse for wear and wanting to play. So, thank goodness and The Baby Jesus, now I can tell the slipper story from the comfort of home and as a near-death close call instead of from an undisclosed location and as a homicide. I’m not cut out to be on the lam, really.