When dogs eat ibuprofen…

It’s just not good.

I feel like I can tell this story now that I know it has a happy ending but it’s been a trying few days.

Saturday night while we were out the dogs got into a bottle of ibuprofen that we left on the coffee table. It’s one of those things that you do a million times – walk the pill bottle back to the bathroom – but the one time you forget it has tremendous consequences.

Our dogs get into things they’re not supposed to on pretty much a daily basis, so I don’t think we really knew to be worried in the beginning. Reggie got sick right away, which we thought was a good thing since she was getting it out of her system. We left for a few hours and when we came back our living room was just covered in dog vomit.

At that point we couldn’t tell if it was from one or both dogs, but Reggie continued to be sick and Sadie seemed fine. At 4:30 a.m. we ended up calling the vet about Reggie and she said to bring her in right away. They told us that the dog could go into kidney failure, so they had to keep her for a few days and give her IV fluids, to the tune of $850.

We went home exhausted and worried. But the next day the vet reported that Reggie (who she irritatingly kept referring to as “him”) was looking good and responding well. We felt like everything was going to be OK after all.

And that’s when Sadie started acting weird.

She just seemed too low-energy for a normally out-of-her-mind dog. And at night she started peeing in her sleep. Something just wasn’t right. So we called our regular vet the next morning and he said to bring her in. It turns out her kidneys had lost 75 percent of their function. I really like that vet, but the way he talked about it, it just scared the shit out of me. I felt guilty, and scared for them, and sad for them being sick, and worried with our current financial situation (i had literally nothing extra for an emergency). I just totally broke down after that phone call.

But after they gave her fluids Sadie started to perk up. Reggie got medicine for her tummy and both dogs got special food to eat. They both came home, and we think they are going to fully recover. I finally slept a full night last night (three glasses of wine might have helped).

All I can say is, $5 worth of over-the-counter medication can seriously harm your dog, even if it seems OK. So keep it hidden! ‘Cause those tops may be childproof, but they sure as hell aren’t dog proof.

In case you were thinking about getting a dog…

Know that you will come home to scenes like this more times than you would like to believe.

Even when you swear those peanuts were on a shelf 6 feet high.

And you will just be glad the trash was hidden so you don’t have to touch the entire half-chewed contents of it once again.

Snowy Sunday

Spring, where have you gone?

Just yesterday I was home in Kansas looking at these sunny daffodils in the yard. Now I’m back to Iowa, where it’s been snowing all day. Boo.

I was going to use it as an excuse to wallow in sickness, as I returned feverish with a swollen throat. But a few pills later I feel better, and there’s always so much to do on a Sunday.

For me, errands and freelance work. For Sadie, monitoring the yard.

For Mike, working on his garden fence. For Reggie, well, she seems to have the day off.

Sadie says …

It’s much more fun to sleep on your sister.

But this couch cushion will do.

The great fence battle of 2008

A couple days ago we realized that both us and the neighbors were having fence issues when Sadie came back inside, but Reggie didn’t. She’d hopped into the neighbors’ yard, then hopped out their yard into freedom and ran for her life.

As I was about an hour from interviewing a “celeb” from the Food Network, I was a tad stressed about finding the dog and getting to work. A half hour later when she still wasn’t found, we were both in full panic mode. We decided to trade off — I’d drive around and Mike would wait at the house in case she came back. As I backed out the driveway we both spotted her, trotting up the street like she was the happiest dog alive. Sigh.

Despite our attempts to fix the fence, or at least create a temporary blockage with the fallen limbs that had broken the fence in the first place, both dogs managed to escape. Twice. We were long past the ends of our ropes this morning.

After Mike searched a while and no luck, I got in the car and drove around the block a few times. I picked up my cell phone, then drove to the end of our block and turned left. I got about halfway down the street when I saw two full-grown deer bolting across the four-way stop ahead. I thought to myself, that’s an unusual sight for the middle of the day. And then I realized why I was seeing it.

About two seconds later a flash of black and white zoomed by. Reggie.

I followed their path and eventually found both dogs, after they’d lost the chase in a wooded area, nuzzling up to some neighbors. Together, they’d had probably the most exciting day of their entire lives. And as much as I wanted to scream and stomp my foot, I just had to laugh. It was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a while.

Later on Mike hopped into the neighbors’ yard and called Reggie, thus figuring out how she was escaping. Instead of hopping over the branches, she wiggled through them, showing Sadie the way. So we replaced the old broken boards that had previously held the fence up while the dogs pouted.

Sadie was especially miffed.

“If we can’t escape the yard, can we at least go for a ride in the car?”

I think they’ll sleep good tonight. They’ve been giving Mike the double cuddle.

Meet Sadie


A few weeks ago we got an email from the owner of Downtown Doggy Daycare, where we’d taken Reggie a couple of times. She had a client who couldn’t keep her dog because she was now traveling about half the time and felt badly that the high energy dog was always alone. As soon as I saw the photo of Sadie, a black and tan coonhound, all curled up on a dog bed I wondered if I should hit reply. We’d been thinking of getting Reggie a buddy, well, since we got her. But it’s never felt like the right time financially or energy-wise. Sadie was the nudge we needed.

A few minutes later Mike emailed me. “Do we need a coonhound?”

So we got in touch with Sadie’s owner, and after a few communications, set up a time to meet her. By the time it rolled around, they’d already given her to someone else. We’d gotten our hopes up, and we were disappointed. But it was also the same week I decided to get my candle/yoga bags business up and running, so I felt a bit relieved I didn’t have to also handle a new family member.

A couple weeks ago we got another email. A family that lived outside of town had a stray, a pointer with a 7-week-old puppy. I called right away. The mom was gone. The puppy was still available. “Can we handle a puppy?”

A few hours later, the puppy was gone, too. I guess you have to be lightening fast to adopt a dog when you’re competing with doggy daycare clientele. “Should we just stop pressing our luck and go to the ARL?”

I think we gave up on serendipity finding us a dog that day.

And then, last Thursday, Sadie was back. The woman who adopted her had broken her hip and needed surgery. She also had decided she couldn’t keep Sadie anyway because her other dog, much older, couldn’t keep up. This time we were the only ones on the e-mail. This time I came by that night. This time, she went home with us.

So here’s our girl. All howlin’ hunting dog.

They think she’s about 2 1/2. I have no idea how she ended up at the ARL in the first place, just that she’s had 3 homes in the last couple months, and she needs some stability. Reggie needed a dog that could keep up with her, and boy does Sadie fit the bill. They wrestle constantly. They tree squirrels in the back yard. They sleep in tight balls on the couch, moaning when you try to move them.

Two wild girls, and a soft place to land. They will test my patience endlessly, no doubt. But I love them both more than you can imagine.