Boss quickly settled back into life at home. He wasn’t too pleased about the daily menu options but such is life when you are a dog. For the past 6 weeks he had grown accustomed to twice daily feasts of chicken, carrots, broccoli and kibble. And not just any chicken, carrots, broccoli – we’re talking the good stuff, organic. It’s true. One night we were sitting in Whole Foods and noticed the mother in law walking out of the store. When Chris asked what she was doing, she said: buying organic chicken for the dogs.
Naturally. Of course.
Around here, it’s just kibble. The best kibble we could find but kibble nonetheless. An occasional spinach leaf that I “accidentally” drop on the floor at a predictable time each day (lunch). Maybe a rawhide bone. We don’t do treats and we don’t value food. We figured if we raised Boss without placing a high value on food he wouldn’t value food. There is nothing worse than a dog that demands people food – jumping all over the dinner table, attacking loaves of bread on the counter. I know this because my parents had such dog. Cookie, the Dalmatian, who once at an entire wheel of Baked Brie.
Entire wheel of cheese: gone.
About a day after Boss got home, I took him to the vet for some vaccinations. Every time I go to the vet there is receptionist so surly at the desk that I want to shove my dog in the face to cheer her up. Just smother her in cuteness until she can’t resist but smile while taking my money. No. Instead it’s the same cold greeting every time:
What is the dog’s name?
Boss. His name is Boss. Seriously how many Boss Waterstraat’s can there be in county.
Boss and I take a seat in the examining room. I can sense his fear as he not only jumps on to the bench to be with me, but crawls behind me.
Exhibit B: Boss, "scared"
It’s always a different vet. This one spends about 5 minutes gazing at Boss, then sticking his hand out to see if Boss with bite or not then finally when I was ready to tell him to touch the damn dog already, he’s a vet, isn’t there some kind of Dr. Doolittle class that they attend so they know how to talk to the animals, he starts to check Boss out when he looks up at me.
He’s a little overweight.
Did he…? Did he really….? Did he just call my dog fat?
That’s like calling my chihuahua a barking cat.
My dog weighs 10.2 lbs. Yes, I know a few months he weighed one pound less but come on…one pound? I did the quick math and realized that would be like me gaining 10 pounds in a few months. That’s some hefty poundage. Ok, Boss might need a diet plan.
But it’s not our fault. Enter the in-laws, Boss’ Shangri-La of chicken, kibble, carrots, broccoli. About a week ago I was visiting Boss when I noticed that they were giving him treats for coming inside. After making potty. There’s more: cheesy treats for sitting, table scraps after begging loudly enough and….and….lately they had been giving Boss the leftovers from Chewie’s dinner.
And that is how my once 9 pound Chihuahua weighed in at 10.2 pounds.
The vet says a little overindulgence added up quick. Yes, yes it did. And before you give me and my dog an eating disorder will you please stop perseverating about the weight. So he moved on to the shots.
Within about 30 minutes Boss was vomiting and turning red. I left him at the vet for some observation. And a few hours later picked him up. Brought him back home and he broke out in hives and threw up again. He was bright red. A trip to the emergency vet, a shot of steroids.
This was Boss’ $255 day.
The next day Boss laid listless on the couch. He wouldn’t eat. So I made him a sweet potato. And spoon fed it to him. I heard from Chris’ grandma that Boss likes sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are on the seasonal menu over there. Organic of course. After that he went back on the couch. And refused to go out to take a poo. Something’s not right. This dog loves to take a crap.
Back to the vet and he says there is nothing wrong with Boss, just give it time. It will take a few days. The next day Boss was the same. Bright red, listless and confined himself to the couch. He was swollen and looked like a Sharpei. He stayed like this for two days until I went back to the vet.
I stood at the desk.
What is the dog’s name?
His name is Boss. Boss Waterstraat. Dear god woman would it kill you to remember his name? Are there any other Chihuahuas turned Sharpeis that have been in here THREE times in the past four days?
The vet confirms that Boss had an “inappropriate reaction” to the vaccine. Thank you for your medical opinion. That’s all you’ve got for me: inappropriate? Then they determined it was time for the big guns. I’m pretty sure they were getting ready to inject Boss with crystal meth (she said it would make him edgy and pee a lot) but it was just a powerful steroid. I ask her if my dog will ever return to normal and she said:
Even – tu – al – ly
Adverb, circa 1860: “at an unspecified later time”
Well then in that case, I might pay my bill. Even-tu-al-ly.
Within a day Boss returned to his more normal self. I breathed a sigh of relief because I was fearing the vet had nearly killed my dog. I know it was the vaccine but things like this are much easier to accept when you can displace blame to someone else. I just wanted my zippy little dog back.
It’s been a few days since then and Boss has slowly been regaining his form. But then I noticed that he was still very itchy and rolling himself on the area rugs. It took me about one day of watching him itch and watching little black bugs crawl across my laptop screen before I realized what was going on here.
Know what this means? I live in squalor.
Exhibit C: "squalor"
I look around our house. It’s pretty clean. I’m pretty clean. There are days I don’t change out of pajamas and sometimes I have bed head but otherwise, I’m down with hygiene. And so is my house.
Sure enough I look in Boss’ ear and there is a little flea. Everything is washed. I demanded that Chris take Boss into the shower with him and a bottle of Dawn dish soap (it really works). The sight of those two in the shower stall should have been caught on video. I also demanded that Chris sing to him. That video should also have audio.
Poor little Boss! Throw him a bone. First the vaccine, then the fleas. He needs normalcy. So I took him to the dog park. He was leary at first. Marked a bunch of tufts of grass, sniffed things cautiously. Took a poo. Then started to run. That’s my Boss. Running in only the way Boss does, like his back legs can’t keep up with the front legs and his tail wagging high in the air. Everything was going well, really well, until Boss was bumrushed by two crazy pugs. There are these people out there that have multiple dogs, entire packs if you will, and they show up at the dog park. One woman has a maltese, three beagles and a Corgi.
That is not a household, that is a petting zoo.
The pugs slowly stalk Boss. Boss catches on and all of a sudden there is hell breaking out in a series of yelps, yipes and barks as these pugs are rolling Boss around like he’s a little ball. I see Boss pinned under the female pug who not only needs to release my hound but really needs to be told she’s overweight. And that is me putting it politely.
This happens one more time just as dramatically as the first time. Finally, Boss sits violated by the exit gate. The dog park is no longer his spirit cave. I want to rescue him but I stand firm. We will not leave this park. The pugs will go first. The Chihuahua and I stand our ground.
A few of the regulars arrived. Johnny and Ponchy the poodles, Ellie the Chihuahua and Louise the spotted dog. Louise’s owner approaches Boss as he cowers, distrusting.
I’ve never seen him like this.
I know. Poor little pooch has had a rough week. He was overvaccinated, forced back to kibble after weeks of gourmet food and he just got pugged. Twice.
Louise got beagled a few weeks ago.
The pugs leave and Boss finds his way back to himself. In no time he is circling Ellie and trying to engage her in play. He is becoming Boss again.
We went on a shopping spree at Petsmart the other day. This is what childless people do when they have dogs. They smother their pooch in gifts. Because I am still convinced that nothing that comes out of my vagina (uterus, Elizabeth, what you really mean is uterus – is what my mom told me the other day) nothing will ever be as cute as my dog.
(that’s his new plush bed with matching blanket)
I love my little dog!