Little dogs feel the pain
My wife has informed me once again that our current
dogs, Lucy and Rocko, will be the last dogs I will ever have the
misfortune of owning.
"Youíre not a dog person," she reported for
the thousandth time a few mornings ago. "You donít care about
Thatís not true. I know Iím not a cat person, and Iíve
always had dogs, so obviously Iím a dog person. Itís just that Iíve
always had BIG dogs, and our current twosome, which happen to be pugs, are
a little small for my tastes.
"And donít give me that Ďbig dog, little dogí
crap," she said before I could speak. "Remember Ralph?"
I loved Ralph, most of the time. He was a BIG dog and we
owned him for years. It wasnít my fault he kept running away. I had no
choice. If I hadnít taken his tags off it would have been a $500 fine if
the Animal Control people caught him again.
"Cruel," she said, shaking her head. "No true
dog person would ever have done what you did to Ralph."
She was probably right. But she hadnít seen Ralphís
ungrateful look when I got the calls to pick him up after his latest road
trip. He was a wanderer, and Iím sure heís still wandering somewhere
on a ranch in Montana. At least thatís what I told the kids.
Anyway, the subject came up because Lucy, our 7-year-old
little pug, had a toothache. Thatís right, a toothache.
Well, actually weíre not sure if her tooth actually ached.
The veterinarian said her left canine tooth was cracked and could become
infected if it wasnít pulled out completely. Naturally, because she is a
dog person, my wife immediately agreed that the dental work must be done.
"800 DOLLARS!!!" I cried when she told me how much
it would cost. "Thatís ridiculous. Iíll pull it out myself."
"She needs to go under general anesthesia," she
calmly replied. "Thatís a big part of the cost."
This was insane. Lucy showed no signs of being in any pain,
and certainly had no problems chewing. She would chew through a cyclone
fence to get to a doggie treat. Sensing the moment, Lucy wandered over to
the table where we were discussing her future health. She looked at me
with those sad pug-eyes and I looked down, way down, at her. I was
obviously in far more pain than her.
"Look at her," said my wife, reaching down,
way down, to pick her up. "How can you not care about her? The vet
said if the tooth becomes infected it can be very dangerous for pugs
because of the shape of their mouths."
"Did the vet suggest we get braces for her teeth,
too?" I asked, perhaps a bit too sarcastically. "Maybe that
could help solve the problem."
The argument was over almost as quickly as it started.
It was confirmed that I was not a dog person and therefore not qualified
to advise on a dogís health. Lucy was going under the knife, or whatever
they use to pull a doggie tooth.
The operation was performed last week. Lucy was indeed
in pain that morning, but only because she was denied her morning treat
and breakfast because of the impending anesthesia. Iíd never seen her so
My wife called me later that day to gloat about the huge
success of the operation. Apparently, the doggie dentist had found another
tooth near the canine that had an abscess, and it would have become
infected, too. So they pulled that one, and a couple of others next to it.
"1050 DOLLARS!!!" I cried. "I thought it was
only 800 stinking dollars for absolutely nothing."
"Complications," replied my wife, ignoring my pain.
"They said they were lucky to have found the abscess. Lucy could have
I thought of the old Jewish proverb, "Life Begins When
the Kids Leave Home and the Dog Dies." But I only thought about it
for a second.
I was truly relieved that Lucy was doing fine. When I got
home that night Lucy was as happy as ever, but my wife claimed that was
probably because of the pain medication she was on.
I was going to ask for some, but decided against it.