It’s been an interesting week with Strud — what else is new? A week after Gas Gate, he still seemed to be struggling with his little problem. We had people over to our house in Montana and we put him and Thunder in our bedroom. Well, Doug opened the bedroom door to put someone’s coat in there and the woman saw the dogs. She mistakenly went to pet them and, let me tell you, it was sheer politeness that stopped her from openly plugging her nose in horror from the toxic odor. One could only hope she knew it was the dogs.
Now Strud, as you know, cannot be trusted on his own. When he is in the house, he is either in his crate, in his ‘playpen’ (i.e. his gated-in designated play area), or under our supervision. But, when he is being good, we sometimes give him some leeway and he roams. MISTAKE! This always ends in disaster.
A few nights ago it took me about two minutes to realize he had left the living room. I promptly found him in our closet where he had gotten on his hind legs, knocked Doug’s backpack off the shelf, and started eating – wait for it – SUGAR-FREE GUM! Pure poison for dogs. Although it wasn’t clear to me whether he’d actually swallowed any of the gum – I found him with an unwrapped stick in his mouth – I induced vomiting by mixing a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with yogurt (poison control and I go way back on this dog). I took him outside and, sure enough, he threw up. I didn’t see any gum though, so bullet dodged. He was 100% fine.
Fast forward a few days to last night: He came down with a case of diarrhea. Thankfully we discovered this while taking him outside. He slept in his crate right outside our room and seemed okay when we went lights out. However, at 5am this morning he started crying. I got up, ready to take him out, but it turned out his crate was already covered in the liquid equivalent of that terrible gas. My heart! My nose! My stomach!
I was in my PJs, but I grabbed a coat and got him outside where the situation continued. I felt like a hero because Doug usually does the morning walk, but I was giving myself major points for taking this one. When we came back in, I had quite a bit of cleaning to do in and around that crate. I put Strud in the garage because he can’t be left alone outside. It’s Montana! There are foxes and moose; he could run away; and it’s dark and freezing in the early morning on the mountain. I mopped down his crate, the plastic removable floor that goes in the crate, the floor around the crate, etc. The crate pad and toys inside the crate were goners.
I had the door open to the garage where Strud was stationed and, next thing I know, he is projectile vomiting all over the garage. I mean from spot to spot to spot. Poor Strud! He seemed fine in terms of his spirits, but this cannot have been pleasant. I got him some water and put him in his ‘playpen’ since my work was not done around the crate and now I had several disaster spots in the garage to address.
Thankfully, we have those huge black garbage bags they use on industrial sites and that was exactly what I needed. I mopped, I 409’d, I hosed, I scrubbed, I rinsed and repeated, and, finally, I dried. I also lit a few candles since as you can imagine the smell was less than pleasant. Then I went back in and dealt with Strud, who was wagging his tail, seemingly happy to be included on Mom’s Fun Morning Adventure. He kept bringing me toys wanting to play! I managed to sneak him into our room past a peacefully sleeping Doug – again, I am a hero! This makes up for every morning of the vacation in which Doug has done the walks! We are even! Into the shower we went. Sweet Strud seemed to enjoy the warm shower. It was as if he knew he needed it and, frankly, I needed it too.
When we got out, he wreaked havoc on our bathroom — shaking the water off all over everything and trying in the small space to do that running fit dogs do after you bathe them. We managed to towel off and sneak back out (now I am in a fuzzy robe and Uggs) before he promptly indicated he needed to go back outside.
Outside we went where his problem continued, though things seemed to be improving. Now I was parading around the neighborhood in 14 degree weather in my fuzzy brown robe like a mafia Don. At last, Strud seemed ready to go inside.
That is where we now sit, Strud next to me and sleeping. I will call the vet when they open just to make sure there’s nothing more I should do. I was thinking in the midst of all this how much work this dog is. But the thing is, he has such an endearing demeanor. He’s loving, a cuddler, playful, and – believe it or not – actually pretty obedient. It’s almost like having another kid. The work and stress around him is considerable but worth it. Still, one can hope that the new year will bring a sense of serenity into this pup’s life and, as a result, into ours!
PS – Doug just woke up and I read this to him as Strud snuggled up next to him. His assessment: “Seems like you two had a nice spa morning together!”
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