Friday, December 3, 2010

Cornmeal Expands with Water

Warning! This post isn't for those with weak stomachs!

Over the previous weekend, I traveled back to my college stomping grounds, to Lexington (GO CATS) in order to celebrate my Best Friend Hannah's Birthday! Several of my college friends and I met up for a Corey Smith Concert and had a mini-reunion. I took the dogs down with me on my road trip, so they could play with Hannah's dog Lola and neither Bru nor Annie do well healthwise after a visit to the kennel so I try to take them with me whenever I can. Here's a picture of Abby, myself and Hannah. This is a horrible picture - thanks iPhone...but you get the idea.

Myself with the Blocher Sisters

Anyway, the point of my random weekend roundup, is that Brutus and Annie's crate is still sitting in my car from the weekend trip. The crate literally weighs 51.5 lbs, and while I can lift does take some serious effort. So instead of working up a sweat myself, I figured I'd wait till my hot boyfriend, or guy I'm casually dating okay, okay, I'll admit it, my parents to come by my house to help unload the 51.5 lb crate. This unfortunately hadn't happened yet so I decided to keep both of my dogs in a small room in my basement that was previously used for coal storage. My house is 84 years old, I have all kinds of unique features (once again, read problems)!

However, Brutus has been giving me heck, for whatever reason, every single time I put him in this coal room. Maybe it's because the room echos and he actually has to listen to himself bark at all of the neighbors, leaves, air that moves, etc. So being the pushover I am, I put him in a more comfortable room that is drywalled, has carpet padding under the carpet and is a bit warmer than the previously mentioned coal room. I guess I can't blame him for wanting to change locations. The only issue is that this room's door doesn't latch correctly, and my dogs being the smart puppies they are, have figured out that if they gently slam themselves up against the door they are free to roam the house while Mom is away.

I know this fact in advance so I shut the basement door. Only to remember that oh wait, the lovely previous owners of my house felt the need to cut a doggie door for their cat and mini dog.

One would think that only Annie could make it through this cat door. Well folks you would be wrong! Brutus has figured out a way to army crawl through the opening all while managing to keep the door on the hinges! It's a pretty amazing feat! I myself was astonished the first time I saw it. Thinking I would outsmart him I put a filled cooler, tub full of dog food and barstool wedged in between my kitchen counter and the hole in the door, knowing that there was no way this combined weight of 120 lbs or so would be able to be forced out of the way by my army-crawling animals.

Fast forward to 5:30 pm or so...I walk up to my front porch put the key in the slot and hear "RUFF RUFF RUFF!" Which in my mind translates to, we got out and have been tearing up your entire house for 9 whole your face!! To my surprise, there were only a few Christmas sale ads torn up on my floor. I looked all over my house, top to bottom. I couldn't find anything that even remotely looked like Brutus and Annie had ripped to shreds.

I walked back into the kitchen to give the dogs water and their evening bowl of food. Brutus however, was only interested in water. 3 bowls in and I'm starting to realize there may be a problem. I start to look around my house a little closer as the camel is still intaking his massive amount of water and I notice a yellow powder underneath my couch. I move the couch and find 4 shreaded boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix! My mind immediately went to the scene in Marley & Me, where the Dad finds the dog out in the rain waiting to die because his stomach had flipped and he was going through bloat.

For those of you who aren't familiar, bloat is a condition that can be onset by deep chested large dogs, who are stressed, anxious, etc. but the main cause is elevated food levels consumed at a rapid rate. Well I wonder how fast Brutus was eating the cornmeal, when he barely left any of the cardboard box. "HOLY EXPLETIVE!!!!" My dog ate 4 boxes of cornmeal and he has drank 3 massive bowls full of water. I knew I had a long night ahead of me.

I felt his stomach and it was as tight as a drum head. I had put his dinner down in front of him before I knew he had eaten enough cornmeal to feed 16 people. Thankfully he barely touched the extra food. The poor guy looked miserable. I immediately scoured google for: my dog ate 4 boxes of Jiffy WTH do I do now?! Unfortunately, no results found was the only thing that came up. As I'm searching for other dog related emergencies, Brutus decides he's ready to start the expelling process of all of the cornmeal.

I have never seen such a large amount of vomit and horrible smelling at that! Now let me preface that with the fact that my dogs have eaten and puked up some awful things in their short lives. This was by far the worst. As I'm trying to drag him outside he stops and lets out the biggest, human sounding fart. I reach down to feel his stomach, still as tight as before. I walk him around the yard where he takes turns having the cornmeal mixture exit his body.

Back inside, I finish cleaning up the carpet and go back to googling. "Should I take him to the vet? Does he have bloat? What the heck and I supposed to do?" Then I came across a forum where the It's Me or The Dog host suggested rubbing your dogs chest and stomach and burping them like a baby, only on the front part of their stomach vs. their back. I called my dog to my bed and started to rub and pat his stomach. He immediately let out, once again, a human sized burp. A few minutes later and the gas is making another exit. For 4 hours I spooned my 90 lb dog and rubbed and burped his stomach until most of the pressure was relieved.

Going to bed at midnight or so I was exhausted. However, my dog seemed to feel better and an ER trip to the vet had been avoided. I thought my night was over. Man was I wrong! Up at 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, etc. cleaning puke or running outside so he could go to the bathroom. I fell asleep around 5:00 AM and somehow slept through my alarm. At 8 AM I was woken up by Brutus puking all over me! I have to say that was the happiest I will probably ever be to experience being woken up by puke. I was able to get up, shower and make it to work before my boss made it in to know or care. All is well that ends well, right?

Lesson learned - don't give your dog massive amounts of water after he ingests over a 1lb of cornmeal! Lesson #2 start working out or find a boyfriend to move my heavy crate around!

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