Monday, May 7, 2012

The Trouble with Homer's Nose

Outside the window beside my desk, morning birds are starting to trill and sing; it's almost 5am--my favourite time of day--but today I'd rather sleep through this quiet, dark hour.

Where to start?

Let's start at 3:17am, when I woke up drenched in dog pee that I still, though I have bathed since, feel pressing against my side and seeping into my night shirt. At 3:17am this morning, I woke up to find Homer in this massive puddle, on his side whimpering and shaking like he had no control over any part of his tiny nine pound body.

Rewind to earlier today: Homer discovered a stockpile of chocolate at a relative's house. When we picked up Homer, he was sleeping, but upon waking he vomited four times on our way to the car. Significant vomiting. Two of the piles were easy palmfuls in my hand (trust me, I know -- I cleaned two of them up). At that point he was happy, looked perfectly normal, and we hoped he had gotten all the forbidden food out of his system. He slept for the entire ride home, curled against Belle's spine. When we got out of the car in Seattle (at 1:30am as we were at a wedding, which is a whole other story), though, his behaviour was erratic. Off-the-wall energy left him running into every surface, going down familiar hallways the wrong way, and running around the block as though he could go on forever.

Behaviour like that does not belong to our dog.

Once inside the house he drank a ton of water and kept throwing up into his mouth. At this point we were worried, but still thought this could pass. After a while he settled into bed with me beside him, and just as Gabe and I were drifting off to sleep, I got soaked in urine.

From there a lot happened quickly. Homer was rinsed off and wrapped in a towel as I called my dad to ask exactly what trouble Homer's nose had found. Dad went downstairs (without a single complaint or grumble -- I'd be grumbly at 3am!!) and located the offending food. According to Dad, Homer had eaten as many as eight mini Turtles (11 grams of chocolate, pecans, and caramel per piece).

Gabe called our emergency vet: the Animal Medical Centre of Seattle, a 24-hour veterinary care facility Belle discovered for us when she jumped out the window, and we scrambled into clothing while tending to our dog-in-decline. Homer puked into the towel he was wrapped in twice before we made it out the door. He puked again in the hall, but I failed to catch it all and we now have a brown puke stain on the carpet outside our condo. Before getting into the car, he wet himself again and then puked in the grass. All the while Little Homey is shaking so hard he can barely stand. I've never seen a dog so sick.

I drove to the emergency clinic while Gabe held Mr. Homer Pants. Here is a list of all the items puked on during the drive:
1) Gabe's jeans
2) Gabe's jeans again
3) Gabe's iPhone
4) The vehicle's centre console
5) The passenger seat
6) The e-brake
7) The towel
8) Homer's paws
9) Gabe's jeans (one last time, just for good measure)

We arrived at the clinic stinking of chocolate and caramel dog vomit with a hint of dog pee. Homer hadn't stopped shaking or whimpering and was whisked away (not before puking once outside the clinic door, once at the front, once in the hallway) to the back room to be seen by the vet immediately. At this point, Gabe and I sort of collapsed into the available seats and starred off into sleep-deprived space.

After a while the vet came out, said Homer had puked again in the back room and that, given all the signs, our wee dog has poisoned himself with chocolate: has theobromine poisoning. He discussed with us the prescribed treatment, which sounds holy unpleasant and costs the same as that week-long, every-expense-considered trip to DisneyWorld we were hoping to scrounge money together for come October for our second anniversary. Homer is obviously our priority here, and we'll be paying this one off for quite a long while. Homer's actually still at the emergency clinic. We can call for updates and they're going to call us at a "reasonable morning hour" (when we're likely to finally be asleep, although as you may have noticed, I'm not quite ready to head back to bed yet...and the sheets, liquid-proof mattress cover -- best purchase ever!-- duvet, and duvet cover are all in the wash), so we'll have an update soon and hopefully be picking him up later on today.

Gabe's supposed to be at work in a few hours, and I'm suddenly so grateful I start my new job Tuesday, not Monday as originally proposed.

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