Saturday, February 21, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

Please note: The blog that published in Saturday’s pet section was edited for space concerns. The full blog is below, and part 2 follows. Thanks for reading!

Sensi was a little more than a year old when we gave him the OK on a behavior that would come back to bite us in the butt (or rather, the wallet).
It all started with an old can of pop that someone left on a window ledge in Brent’s room.
It was his first summer at the rental house and, as the temperatures began skyrocketing, the bugs came out in all their glory.
While we were watching TV with the dog, I felt something itch my neck and I scratched without thinking about it.
It didn’t go away, so I scratched again and this time, I felt something. To my horror, there was a large carpenter ant crawling up my neck.
I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat about creepy-crawly things, and I jumped off the bed as I knocked it off. The dog, surprised, jumped up too, wondering what in the heck I was doing.
“Oh my God, hun, look,” I said to Brent, my husband.
He turned around and our eyes focused on the parade of ants marching single file on his headboard. They crossed the headboard, went up the wall, across another and down the window until finally reaching their destination — the old pop can.
Our eyes weren’t the only ones focused on the ants and their march to the pop can. The dog noticed too.
I reached for a shoe, Brent grabbed a magazine and we started an ant massacre.
“Arf!” Sensi barked, now clearly excited.
We weren’t paying any attention to him. We were, after all, fighting a war against some rather large and grotesque ants.
So Sensi made a decision for himself — he was going to help. He busted through our weapons of shoes and magazines and started eating the ants. He scarfed one down and moved on the next.
Brent and I looked at each other. “He’s better at this than we are,” Brent said.
“Is there any reason why he can’t have ants?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” Brent replied. “They’re a good source of protein, right?”
So we gave him “good boys,” and encouraged him to keep going. While we focused on the areas Sensi couldn’t reached, Sensi took care of every ant that was at dog-level.
Before we knew it, Sensi had cleaned the room of ants. It was impressive.
His love for preying on bugs continued to grow, and we never thought of any reason to put a stop to it.
“Just protein, right?” we’d say to each other, laughing at our dog’s antics.
One day, though, we found a very good and very expensive reason to stop Sensi’s love for eating bugs.

Be careful what you wish for: part 2
Throughout the years, Sensi’s passion for preying on bugs grew stronger. Nowadays, Brent and I can’t even pick up a fly-swatter without our dog going full-blown into bug-hunting-mode.
All the years of carefree bug killing came back to haunt us on another hot and sunny summer day.
We had visited Ruger’s owners (read Comfortable ANYWHERE) to have coffee on a Sunday morning — a normal routine for us. Brent and I had plans to shop at the mall after coffee and our friends offered to keep Sensi while we were gone.
As we watched Sensi carousing around the backyard with his pal, it was a no-brainer. Sensi would stay and have fun, Brent and I would shop.
On our way home, our friend called.
“There’s something wrong with your dog,” he told Brent. “He’s red and swelling.”
Brent told him we were on our way and said it was probably just his food allergies acting up. Our friend challenged him on that, so Brent handed the phone to me.
“Seriously, he’s fine,” I told our friend. “He gets red and rashy, like hives and stuff. He probably just found one of Ruger’s bones. Don’t worry about it. We’ll be there soon.”
Just as I was feeling very proud of myself for not freaking out — my usual course of action in these situations — the phone rang again.
“He’s not fine,” our friend said sternly. “He needs to go to the vet now. His tongue is swelling and we’re afraid he’s going to suffocate. So your only choice is, which clinic?”
There are only two options for emergency vets on a Sunday, and we chose the closest one — Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Auburn Hills.
We pulled in the parking lot just before our friends did, and I’ll never forget watching my dog get out of the car.
“That is not my dog!” I said in shock. “That cannot be Sensi.”
The dog they had on the end of the leash was giant, black, wrinkled puff ball. This dog had a head at least one and a half time’s larger than Sensi’s, and with all the wrinkles, it looked like a Shar-Pei. The eyes weren’t even visible, tucked behind massive wrinkles.
But as the dog licked me with a swollen tongue and began scratching his head against my legs, reality set in. This was my dog.
Mere minutes and hundreds of dollars later, Sensi got a shot and Brent and I got instructions to buy some Benadryl on the way home.
So what happened?
We can’t be sure, but Brent and I both believe that he ate a bug, or at least tried. Probably a bee.
The right side of his face, especially by his mouth, was the last part of his body to stop swelling and revert back to normal.
Consider it a fair warning. Eating bugs is not, “just protein.”

No comments:

Post a Comment