Fun With Dog Vomit – Part I

So we had some friends over for dinner yesterday evening for dinner and games. As has been the case for several months now, we had a few dog toys laying around that my dog Perrin enjoys chewing and playing with from time to time.

One such toy is a Kong’s Genius Leo Treat Dispenser.

Perrin has had this toy for several months, and it showed now signs of wear or tear. At the first such sign that one of the chew toys is going the way of the dodo, we pick it up and throw it in the trash and then make a mental note to stop by the pet store at our earliest convenience and pick him up a new toy.

This toy is large. It’s roughly a foot in length, and at it’s widest point it is a little wider than my fist.

That why we and our guests were quite surprised to find that at some point in the evening between nine and eleven, Perrin had somehow managed to devour three quarters of the Kong toy while laying innocently under our dining room table (which also serves as our gaming table). We were rather alarmed.

We had had an earlier scare on Saturday as when we came home from our dinner outing, we found that Perrin had stolen a small picture frame from a book shelf and shredded it – cork back, wood frame, glass, and all – across our living room floor. We hastily tried to reassemble the glass shards and convinced ourselves that we had managed to account for 98% of the glass. Also, as we were handling the glass pieces we found that they were not that sharp and upon examining Perrin’s mouth we saw no signs of cuts. In addition, some online research suggested that we could afford to wait and see how he was. As it turned out, he was completely fine.

But we seem to have underestimated just how much Perrin wanted to go visit our vet Dr. Miller and even get reacquainted with the fine folks at the Cobb Veterinary Emergency Clinic.

So there we were as the clock hands approached eleven and our guests were calling it a night. Melinda had read some disturbing information online about the possibilities of consumed rubber getting blocked inside Perrin’s innards, and we determined that this time we couldn’t afford to wait until our vet opened in the morning, but instead we needed to rush off to the emergency vet. We packed up the tiny remains of the partially consumed Kong toy (now a pitiful thing the size of my fist instead of the grand source of hours of amusement that Perrin had known for months), and we each brought an eReader with us in anticipation of a long, unpleasant wait at the emergency clinic.

We arrived and mercifully there was only one other dog in the waiting room, and he wasn’t gravely injured – there were no severed limbs, no badly misplaced eyeballs dangling from their sockets, or similar horrors from the Kafkaesque treasures that sometimes await poor souls at odd hours of the night in either emergency clinics for pets or ones for  humans. Perrin was quickly ushered in and then we proceeded to wait by ourselves with Jimmy Kimmel on the tube and our smartphones in our hands. I immediately decided that my mind was too frazzled with worry to focus on anything like Anna Karenina. Instead, I browsed through my Google Reader and found an article on the economy of Vietnam to keep my mind occupied while we waited. I would occasionally glance at the TV in glazed amusement mixed with hopeful and fearful anticipation of the nurse coming at some point to invite us back to meet the vet.

When the time came, they led us to what seems to be the clinic’s only patient room. It’s the same room where over half a decade ago, we were given the grim news that our dog Bodie would need to be euthanized. It’s not a place with pleasant memories for us.

Presently, the doctor came in to tell us about Perrin’s condition. She was very friendly and not a note of gloom or doom dotted her eyes or streaked her kind face. She told us that they had given Perrin an injection and induced vomiting. In no time, he had vomited up a shocking amount of purple rubber toy chunks. Struck by a morbid curiosity, we agreed to allow the staff to show us the tray where they had collected the vomit and toy pieces. Like stunned characters in a murder mystery, we calmly identified the missing Kong carcass. I told myself silently that surely that was all of the toy…

To be continued…

Not Giving Up On Day Five

So as I sit here on this Saturday evening, I’m thinking about how I really need to arrange things so that I write these little posts second thing in the morning (first thing should be hitting the treadmill) – because otherwise as the end of the day draws closer, it really becomes hard to find the time to squeeze out five hundred words. I came very close to not writing anything this evening.

Melinda and I spent a good part of the afternoon working on finding the right ski lodging for our group ski trip to Mammoth California this April. We’re very pleased with the place that we found, and the trip is shaping up to be really fun. Unlike our previous two visits to Mammoth, this time the entire mountain will be opened, and we’ll be skiing with a large group of friends. The rental property that we found has a giant dinner table in around which all of us will be able to gather and hopefully some of us will get to indulge in the pleasure of board games during the evenings.

I’m really pleased that the first week of January isn’t even over, and yet, we have the most of the details all squared away for the trip and have the lodging reserved. Now it’s pretty much a matter of picking the exact set of flights and paying for them along with the lift tickets and ski rental reservations, and then the whole trip can be safely tucked away for the next few months.

Having one trip’s planning pretty much in the bag means that I will be free to focus on planning a trip to Italy this September as a sort of sequel trip the one that Melinda and I took for our 10 year wedding anniversary. We really enjoyed the tript to France, and it was really made possible through the valuable information found in The Gluten-Free Guide to France. As the author has also written The Gluten-Free Guide to Italy and as Italy is apparently a kind of gluten-free paradise where one can find fresh baked gluten-free breads, pastas, and Italian croissants, the question of our next European vacation seemed hardly in dispute.

Although planning this trip will be somewhat easier as I learned how to properly do it the last time and will re-use the same techniques, it’s hard at the moment to get going on planning again. When we got back from France, I was so excited about how much fun the trip had been and longed so much to return to Europe immediately, that I sublimated these feelings into planning a 2013 Italy trip within days of landing at home. I quickly ordered the Frommer’s guide and the Gluten-Free guide, and then I created a spreadsheet and an entry in TripIt. Then, I got busy and soon had a high level outline forming that now months later I seem to have misplaced. But invariably, something distracted me before I got too deep in the planning and now the effort has been sitting collecting electronic cobwebs for the last several months.

I opened up the planning documents during the Christmas break and found that while I had a good start, I was missing half of the visits spots that I had sketched out on a piece of paper months before. It meant that I would have to open up Frommer’s again and scan over the various different itineraries once again and reconstruct my own custom itinerary again. That didn’t sound like much fun on my last day or so of vacation, and so I’ve still not gotten my steam for the endeavor. I seem to recall that it took a little bit of effort to really get going on the detailed France trip plans, but that usually once I got started, it would only take something like 20 – 30 minutes, before I was really engaged.

So with one set of plans nearly concluded, I anticipate starting my engines in earnest on Italy 2013 next week.

Stabbing Oneself With a Fork

On New Year’s day, in the evening I was preparing some brownie à la mode for Melinda and me to enjoy. Melinda had made the brownies the night before and the remaining brownies were still in their pan. They had firmed up in the refrigerator and I was having some difficulty dislodging the last few pieces from where they had stuck to the sides of the glass pan. Despite a brief thought that what I was about to do might be a bad idea, I gripped the side with my left hand and tried to apply more force to the fork with my right hand.

Naturally, I slipped and jammed the fork into the palm of my left hand impaling one of its tips into the flesh. It hurt quite a bit, but fortunately the wound wasn’t very deep. No blood shot out, but it did start oozing a fair bit and required a bandaid. Today, it is a little sore if I accidentally push against it. Fortunately, it’s on my left hand which doesn’t see as much use as my right hand. Looking at it now, I wonder if it will leave a visible scar – perhaps a faint mark underneath the skin. If so, then it will be a mate for a similar wound scar on my right hand.

One day when I was in elementary school, I accidentally knocked my pencil off my desk and in my rush to reclaim it before it could fall, I actually managed to impale the pencil’s tip into my right hand as the pencil had rotated such that the tip was aimed skyward and the eraser was just making contact with the floor as my open palm accelerated towards the fallen object. I think that one bled a little more. It also left a little graphite in my hand so that to this day you can see the faint greenish spot underneath the skin.

In my mind’s eye as a child, this greenish mark on my hand transformed into the friendly gaze of a sperm whale whose mighty jaw was formed by my pinky and ring finger while it’s head was formed by the rest of my hand with my thumb flattened against the palm.

As there was no graphite on the offending fork and as I suspect that brownie would be readily broken down and absorbed by my body, I rather doubt to see years from now a twin green eye on my left palm. But perhaps there will be a scarred tiny patch where the fork entered. Or perhaps not. The skin above the green spot on my right palm doesn’t appear different from any other are of my hand.

What factors determine whether or not a particular injury to the skin will cleanly heal leaving no visible trace? Obviously, a large wound leaves a visible scar, but are there factors besides wound size involved? As fascinating a question no doubt as any ever raised, but that’s what you get when you ramble on in an attempt to write 500 words on the thinnest of materials in anticipation of not having much time later to produce anything better.