Well, it has been awhile since I told Part 1 of the story of how our high-energy, herding breed dog, Gimli, busted out of his crate behind closed doors and proceeded to destroy everything in sight. There really are some dogs that need to be crated every night for their own safety and this guy is certainly one of them. I really think all puppies and younger dogs need this, but there are quite a few troublemakers who may need the be crated when they can’t be supervised for the long term. As Gimli just turned 2 this month, the jury is still out on him. He no longer needs the direct supervision that, say, a toddler might, but we still don’t trust him alone for longer periods of time. I’m sure you can see why.
There is a reason for this. Actually, there are many reasons for this.
On the night in question, if you do not recall from my previous post, my daughter was away for the evening. Gimli’s crate is her bedroom, so my 13-year-old son put him in his crate for the evening—or so we thought. When we awoke the next morning, we opened her bedroom door to find that Gimli had busted out of his crate and destroyed anything he could get his paws on, including most of my daughter’s sewing supplies. We cleaned up the mess and thought little else of it until later that afternoon when Gimli began to act rather strange.
Gimli would be doing his usual frolicking about (if you have a high-energy dog, you totally get this), when he would suddenly stop, curl up into a ball, and bite at his lower abdomen. After a while, he ran upstairs and hid under the bed, which is definitely not his usual behavior. He prefers to be in the midst of whatever action trouble there is to be had. I immediately started to think back on the debris field that Gimli had left in his wake that morning, especially the sewing pins that had been strewn across the floor.
Now, any pet owner knows it’s a fact that if your pet needs emergency assistance, it will be during a time when the vet is closed. It’s science, folks, and you can’t argue with science. They do not get dangerously ill or injured during business hours—it just does not happen. So, we hauled Gimli to the emergency vet. Just a word of advice—if you need to go to the emergency vet, it’s best to stop by your bank, if it happens to be open on the weekend, and take out a second mortgage.
After a round of poking, prodding, x-raying, and decision-making, we concluded that Gimli had not eaten anything metal, which ruled out the sewing pins, thankfully. The x-ray did show something in his intestines, which could have been either gassy irritation or something plastic. We were sent home with some meds and orders to bring him back immediately if he would not drink or if he began throwing up. We spend that evening worrying, watching, and feeding our little guy sips of water every 15 minutes. I have never, ever been so happy for the vet’s office to open on Monday morning.
The vet quickly concluded that more than likely Gimli had eaten something plastic, causing an intestinal blockage. We had to leave the poor guy behind, where he endured three days of laxatives and a diet heavy in mineral oil in an attempt to avoid surgery. Our entire community prayed for him, for which we are so grateful. When we received the call that Gimli was finally pooping and would not require surgery, there was much cheering and rejoicing, not only in our family, but amongst most of our friends and relations. We raced to the vet’s office to pick him up, where he looked a little exhausted, but so happy to see his family.
The vet was nice enough to save the offending item in a Ziploc for us (seriously, thanks)—a plastic piece of scissor handle so small that one would not think it could possibly cause so much trouble, but, oh man, it did! I really learned my lesson that sometimes it takes very little to cause a life-threatening situation for a beloved pet. They really do need quality toys, crates, and other tools to keep them out of trouble. I now inspect his toys and chewies a little more closely to make sure pieces of them can’t break off where he could swallow them. I certainly make sure the crate is latched tightly in the evening and that the latch continues to work properly. I don’t want to have to look my kids in the eye and tell them that their dog died from something that could have been so easily prevented.
When it was all said and done, life went back to as normal as it gets around here, except I may slip Gimli a little extra doggie treat now and then when his pack mates aren’t looking, just to let him know I’m glad he’s still here.