Our animals have kept us on our toes this week. On Monday, my big, handsome canine BFF gave me a good scare. I let him out on Monday morning as per our usual routine. When he came to the door to be let in, his little ears were swollen, his face was red, and he was visibly upset. I called him to me, but he ran away, went into the front room, and hid under the desk. That is not like him at all. When I tried to get close to him, he would run. Finally, I sat on the couch and called him to me. He reluctantly jumped up on the couch beside me, which was also unlike him.
After much cajoling, he permitted me to look at his ears. They felt hot, swollen, and very, very red. I immediately gave him a Benedryl and tried to put a cold compress on his ears, but he snarled at the washcloth and returned to the front room to hide under the desk. I had an appointment I had to keep, so I lured him into his crate with a treat and left for a few hours.
Upon my return, I checked on him immediately. His little ears were still swollen, hot, and red. He had vomited in his crate, and he was shaking and looking miserable. I immediately called our veterinarian, who was finished with appointments for the day, but advised me to give my Heavy-B three Benedryl and three aspirin and to keep an eye on him. I hid the pills in peanut butter bread and waited and worried.
Within a half hour, my Heavy-B was looking more like himself. The redness toned down, the swelling went down a bit, and he behaved more like his fun-loving self. No matter what I did, he would not allow me to look at his ears or put a cold compress on them. Rather than get bit by my canine best friend, I snuggled him on the couch and snuck hydrocortisone cream onto his ears a little at a time. It took me over an hour to smear the cream onto his swollen, itchy ears, but it did seem to make a difference. We continued this routine for three days; I would slip him Benedryl and aspirin in peanut butter bread, then sit with him on the couch, hiding the hydrocortisone tube in one hand and sneaking dabs of it onto his ears while he slept.
I knew Buster was not feeling well when he had no interest in going for our daily walks. Actually, it was all I could do to get him to go outside. I had to bribe him out the door with treats. I’m not sure what he got into, but it had a very negative effect on him. I believe he got into bees when he was out and about. That is the only thing that makes sense to me. However, being unable to look at his ears, I can’t tell if there are signs of him being stung. He is a rather difficult patient. I respect his space because he is one hundred pounds with a large mouthful of teeth that he isn’t afraid to show off when aggravated.
To say I was worried is an understatement. Even The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean, who generally lament about my big handsome buddy’s bad behavior and say things like, “Buster is the worst!” babied him and went out of their way to be extra nice to him. I am relieved he is back to normal. Although he still will not allow me to look at his ears, he is asking to go for our walk and acting like his normal happy self. I can feel scratches on the underside of his ears when I sneak the hydrocortisone cream onto them while he sleeps. However, his ears are normal size and don’t look red.
In many ways, our pets are more problematic than children. At least once children reach a certain age, they can tell you what hurts and what they fear. With pets, often, it is a guessing game and remains a mystery. I also don’t have to worry about my bean biting me when she doesn’t feel well. I know my boy would not hurt me under normal circumstances, but he is a dog working on sheer instinct when stressed. Although I do not love this personality trait, I respect and understand it. If I’m being transparent, there are days I feel I could bite someone if they bother me when I am not feeling well. However, biting is never an appropriate response, and I must repeat over and over, “Don’t bite The Bean or The Bibbed Wonder.” Mostly, it works.
On this overcast July day, stay safe, be smart, don’t bite the people who care about you, keep your veterinarian on speed dial, master the medicinal sneak attack, don’t get bit, and keep washing your hands.