Biological wonder

On my refrigerator, next to the list of Adagio’s “Toileting Errors” (which has had no additions for several days), I need a bold, red-lettered reminder: “Avoid feeling smug.”

It was with some smugness that I reflected just the other day on the huge change in Adagio’s sleeping ability since we got him. It’s been less than two months, and he has transformed from a frightened baby who had to be taken out for a potty break at least once in the middle of each night to a solid fellow who never wakes us up in the wee hours.

I had this thought Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning about 3:30 a.m., the sound of Adagio vomiting was loud enough to penetrate my earplugs. I staggered over to his kennel, and my flashlight revealed a little pile of… something he had just regurgitated. Fortunately, we still keep a roll of paper towels on top of his kennel. I grabbed a few and found that I could easily pick up the whole pile of… whatever it was. I closed the kennel door, put the sodden wad on top of the kennel, and went back to sleep.

With the return of daylight, I got around to inspecting the contents of the wad.  Here’s what it looked like after it dried:

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Note that it includes several stones and an assortment of sticks and twigs, along with a bit of string. I knew exactly when he ate all this. We’ve had some workmen at the house for the past few days, so the back doors have been left open more than usual. At one point, I realized that I didn’t know where Adagio was. I found him down in the lower yard, nose to the ground. I hoped he hadn’t been grazing, but clearly that hope was in vain.

What fascinates me is that he was able to throw up the indigestible bits so selectively. No puppy chow came up with them, and he ate all his meals with gusto the following day. Was this ability evolved to enable wild dogs to survive even though their pups were dumb enough to eat sticks and stones? (Maybe that’s something to feel smug about.)

Not 100% perfect

Beverly has been such an amazingly good puppy sometimes it’s easy to forget she’s still just a young dog. But this past weekend, we got a rare reminder. Here’s what happened (just for the record).

I woke up sometime in the wee hours Sunday morning to the unmistakable sound of canine regurgitation. (Raise a couple of dogs and you’ll never forget it.) I was too sleepy to crawl out of bed to see who it was coming from (Beverly or Tucker). But in the morning, it was obvious. If Beverly threw up much in the way of solids, she made them disappear by morning. Still, along with a sour smell, this is what we found on her dog bed:

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She seemed quite unaffected by whatever had upset her stomach; ate her breakfast and acted normal all day. And we had a good idea of what happened. She’d spent most of the day at the home of another puppy-raiser, playing with three doggy pals while Steve and I participated in another activity to which we couldn’t take her. We assume that sometime during the day, she must have browsed on some irritating vegetation.

The good news is that the incident prompted us to thoroughly clean her dog bed. Now it looks and smells fresh and clean.

Unfortunately, I failed to get a picture of Beverly’s face when we collected her. She was literally grinning with happiness; obviously she had a wonderful time. If the aftermath illustrated that she is still only 98% perfect, that seems a fair trade-off.

 

 

Bye-bye Bev (briefly)

In my role as a puppy-raiser, I think it’s easy to slip into denial. I want Beverly to succeed (as so few of her predecessors have), and I’m impressed by all the ways in which she seems promising — her low-key charm, her failure to get into all the trouble that so many of her predecessors have gotten into. She’s an elimination machine — give her the command and she poops and pees almost without fail. Except for the figs, she hasn’t seemed driven to chew and swallow every stray item in the yard, with the resultant vomiting and diarrhea that such behavior invariably brings.

So when she threw up her breakfast two days ago, I brushed it off (in denial). It was a fluke, I told myself. Some minor hiccup of her normal digestive perfection. And indeed, she showed no sign of wanting to throw up her lunch or dinner that same day.

But this morning, at 5 a.m., I was jolted awake by the very loud, roiling sounds of a dog in the process of regurgitating something large. An elephant? “Which dog is that?” I demanded tersely of Steve, still deeply asleep next to me.

“Mrgff,” he replied.

I crawled to the end of the bed and squinted into the gloom. Tucker was curled up in his bed, looking vaguely mortified by what he was hearing. The gross-out sounds were emanating from Beverly’s kennel.

Down at kennel level, I shone in my flashlight. Beverly batted her eyelashes at me, giving me a “Who, me??” look. I saw no elephants, nor any piles of doggy vomit. There was a small slick of mucus near the front of the kennel, however, with a small brown object in it. Later, I retrieved it and determined it to be part of the palm frond that Beverly had pounced upon the night before, out on the patio. Had the tiny fragment of it provoked that disgusting noise?

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I added the penny to show the scale. (She didn’t eat that.)

Once again, we threw caution to the winds and fed her breakfast. And we’ve heard nary a burp since then.

So that’s good news and bad. The bad is that Beverly isn’t perfect. But the good is that she’s really not very bad.

Good and bad, she’s about to embark on a huge adventure. Steve and I had the opportunity to go on an extraordinarily long and complex trip to Asia. If all goes well over the next several weeks, we’ll visit the 4th and 7th tallest buildings in the world (in Taipei and Kuala Lumpur, respectively), and stand at the foot of the tallest mountain (Everest in Tibet). We can do those and other things only because of the extraordinary generosity of the CCI puppy-raisers and puppy-sitters who are willing to take Beverly in our absence. She’ll spend time in the care of at least four such homes.

I’ll transport her to the first this evening, along with assorted gear and paper work.

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It’s quite a load.

 

After I got up with Beverly this morning , I sat on one of the steps in Steve’s office. Beverly came up and rubbed herself against me. She’s never been an affection-greedy pup, but this morning, she seemed to need some reassurance. She wagged her tail slowly and buried her  face under my arm. If I’m honest, I have to say I probably won’t miss her while we’re traveling; there will be too many fascinating sights and experiences to distract us. But I’ll be very, very happy to reunite with Beverly when I return home. Even if she’s not perfect.092916-affection