Saturday, March 12, 2011

Damn Dog's Broke

Too bad the title doesn't refer to the financial status of our puffy toy poodle. If the only problem with Lily were an unbalanced checking account, or the lack of access to her trust fund, then I wouldn't even be writing this post.

No, our dog is broken.

For six years, since the day Santa left her under our Christmas tree with a note explaining how the elves thought we were the perfect family to care for her, Lily has been the ideal pet. She seldom has accidents in the house -- although when she does, she always manages to hit the single island of carpet in a sea of hardwood -- and she listens really well, except when she doesn't. Until now, had you asked me if I would own another poodle once Lily is chasing ethereal squirrels in the great beyond, I would have said "yes." But then she had to go and get bladder stones, and suddenly everything's gone to hell in a handbasket!

Apparently our poodle's internal acidity levels promote the growth of bladder stones. These stones, or rather fragments of one stone, were causing her pain. Following the vet's instructions, we placed Lily on a prescription diet of moist canned food to balance her PH. She also had a pill to take twice a day for two weeks. We wrapped the pill in Kraft cheese, very likely unwittingly sabotaging the PH balancing act of the prescription diet, but you try getting a finicky poodle to take a pill.

Of course, when the two weeks of prescription food costing three times as much as the tremendous bag of dry food that would last our 12-pound pup three months was used up, Lily was no closer to breaking down and passing the stones than when she started. The only other solution: surgery.

You have to understand, while I'm no animal hater, I've often judged people who spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on their pets to be irrational fanatics. I love my dog. My Lovely Wife loves our dog. Our kids love our dog. But if we have to choose between the dog and college tuition, then our kids will be paying for school with assistance from the Lily Feggeler Memorial College Scholarship Fund.

Long story short, we paid the $500+ dollars for the bladder stone surgery. The recovery seemed to be going well, until we noticed the recurrence of phantom squatting. Once my Lovely Wife explained phantom squatting was not a new yoga position but instead described the dog's failed attempt to pee, I understood we were not yet out of the woods.

Turns out, Lily developed a urinary tract infection during recovery, in addition to the equivalent of diaper rash in the pudgy folds of her skin. How do we know she has a urinary tract infection? Because I drove the poor dog neurotic Friday morning following behind her with a Dixie cup to catch a urine sample. Have you ever tried to shove a 3-inch tall Dixie cup under a dog that leaves only 1-inch clearance when peeing?

Now, $78 later, we have new pills around which to wrap Kraft singles, an anti-inflammatory that has to be administered orally via a dropper, and a liquid to spread around her hoo-hah until her hoo-hah appears normal again.

Trouble is, poodle hoo-hahs are not my specialty. It probably is a testament to my good taste and sanity that I have not spent much, if any, of my life in training to recognize a healthy poodle hoo-hah. I guess we'll just keep applying it until the tube is gone and hope for the best.

© 2011 Mark Feggeler


  1. Haaaa, haaa that is greatness. What we will do for the ones we love. Hoo-hah cream and all are no stumbling blocks to love and good health.

  2. Thanks, V! Fortunately, the dog's health is coming along. She just returned from the groomer, which I'm sure will be a tremendous mental boost. Don't we all love looking our best?