Thursday, December 19, 2013

Another Dog Disaster

Stormy has now caused an expense that makes the cost of Nailah's attack on the cat look like small change.

It's called capnocytophaga canimorsus--in other words, dog bite fever.

Our adorable little corgi likes to fight over the frisbee after retrieving it.  Nothing makes her happier than someone who will hold onto the frisbee while she growls and tries to pull it away.

Roz banned this game two years ago because it encourages a dog to be more aggressive.  She's our dog whisperer, and she only allows this tug-of-war for a dog who is shy and needs to gain self-confidence.  Stormy does not qualify.

Now that we have Nailah, the two dogs can tug over a frisbee together.  They tire of it in two minutes unless there's a human present to toss the toy now and then and keep the interest going.

John, however, spends most of his week in Bakersfield and did not get this memo.

On Dec. 8 he was letting Stormy fight him for the frisbee, and at one point she bit him on the hand, drawing blood.  Pretty soon I'm helping him put a Band-Aid on.

Two days later he's got a fever of 102.4 that turns out to be influenza.  

Two days after that, he has a splitting headache, unlike any other.  

He drives to the ER and is admitted for viral meningitis.

But there's also some mysterious bacteria in his blood.  It doesn't grow in a culture though the white cells prove it's there.  

A week later the doctors have his meningitis under control but are still keeping him in the hospital bed with a PICC line, IV, etc. because they can't identify the bacteria.  The petri dishes where they are trying to culture it are still barren.

By evening, however, a thin film seems to be growing in the culture, and they give him permission to leave the hospital.  Tomorrow.  

What does an 8-day stay in a hospital cost, complete with telemetry monitoring of the heart?  

If we count about half the stay as owing to the dog bite,  that probably puts the cost of Stormy's crime at maybe $100,000 to $200,000.  Fortunately, health insurance will pay most of that.  But not all.

Anyway, Nailah comes out of this looking like an angel.  She never growls or bares her teeth.  I can take a rawhide bone out of her mouth without her even complaining (not true of any other dog we have owned).

The bottom line: Nailah's illness and misdemeanor with regard to the neighbor's cat has cost us far less than Stormy's mistake.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Walk with Nature

My neighbor's cat appears to have survived both Nailah's attack and the surgery to repair four hernias in the muscle wall of her abdomen.

Repair, that is, of the four holes torn while being held by four teeth and shaken.

Callie was released yesterday, two days and nights after the surgery.

Today I walked down the block with my second check to repay--partially--my neighbor for her medical expenses.

John Muir said, "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks."

How true.

In walking my dog, I am taking a walk with nature, whether I realize it or not.

Sometimes nature takes over.