Chris and I managed to pull off the entire 18 mile run today, even though there was a portion of it where we actually felt like we might die. We are both hobbling around like gimps, although less so now that we went to our gym to sit in the hot tub for a while. I was running my hamstring along the jet and moaning, which probably gave the other gym patrons something to gossip about.
We were sitting at home watching House Hunters International and speculating on the mail-order-bride status of the hot, Asian wife of a short, ugly Bostonian dude. We each had ice packs wrapped around our naked knees, even though it is exponentially more uncomfortable to have the ice on bare skin. Numbness is sometimes preferable to feeling, it turns out. Anyway, Chris rolled over and said “What’s he eating?” in reference to Willie. This is a question that gets asked regularly, and the answer is usually “my underwear.” This time, though, Willie had procured one of those containers of Ice Breakers Ice Cubes gum that is really big and meant to be kept in the drink holder of your car. You know the ones. They have 40 pieces of gum in them. He had eaten 21 of the pieces. Like, EATEN. Swallowed. Gone. All while he lay next to us on the floor inconspicuously chewing.
I double checked to make sure he wouldn’t get an intestinal blockage, and it turns out that many sugar-free gums, including Ice Breakers, contain a sweetener called “xylitol” that is EXTREMELY poisonous to dogs. It causes liver failure and kidney failure, and eventually death. GREAT!! So Chris and I rushed to action to try and find our bottle of hydrogen peroxide to make him throw up while he chased us around joyfully in hopes that we might be feeling energetic enough to play “Tackle,” which is a game where we aren’t paying attention and he takes us out by running full-speed into our kneecaps. It’s super-fun. For him.
The bottle of peroxide was nowhere to be found, so Chris rushed out to Walgreens to buy some while I kept looking. I located it in a kitchen cupboard (no idea why it was there) and then put 10cc down his throat and bounced him around a little bit. By the time Chris got home, there were about 10 piles of yellow and white puke all around the kitchen, each one studded with pretty pink chunks of gum. Willie was helping by stepping in the piles of puke while he was walking to and from clean pieces of floor on which he could commence puking. So far, so good.
But the xylitol can be absorbed pretty quickly, and the reason it’s bad is that it causes a sudden surge of insulin to be released in the dog, which puts the dog into hypoglycemic shock, at which point they go into seizures, coma, and ataxia (lack of motor skills). And then they die. So we were panicking, and because of the fact that Chris is medical, and I spent years and years as a vet tech in our local humane society by my university, we went a few steps further. I started making a list of what I needed to fix this, namely glucose syrup, iv catheter, lactated ringers solution, potassium injection, etc. Chris went upstairs and got a blood glucose meter he had once generously brought home for me to play with, until I got through the three lancets it came with and realized I’m still afraid of needles. Thank God I’m not a diabetic. With my sugar habit and fear of needles, I’d be found dead with a smile on my face and raspberry buttercream all over my shirt and face.
We trimmed a back toenail slightly shorter than it needed to be to get a drop of blood out. Willie was very well behaved, although he’ll probably never let me trim his nails again. Ever. So that’ll be an adventure for both of us. The blood tested at the low end of normal, so we just have to keep it stable.
What this means for Willie is that in the last 15 minutes he’s gotten to eat a loaf of pumpkin bread, tons of dog treats, and a bowl of oatmeal with molasses (high in potassium! And glucose!). These are, with the usual exception of dog treats, although I’m not making any promises if I drink too much, things that Willie covets dearly. Every morning he sits and stares at me while I eat the oatmeal, and he never gets any. Today he got his whole own bowl! He ate all of it, and the whole loaf of bread, and the treats, and was still licking crumbs off of the floor. I guess that means we can check a “no” on the list of hypoglycemia symptoms in the box next to “loss of appetite.”
We’ll keep watching him all tonight, and likely not sleep, meaning our muscles will not get a chance to heal, but I’m pretty damned fond of that little blond hottie, and I’d like him to stick around for the next 15 years. So wish good thoughts, pray, light a candle or do whatever it is you do to send good things through the atmosphere to our little buddy’s luck-o-meter. And I might make him a cake.