Monday, March 3, 2008

This is Why Animals are Better than People

A very tense morning—I brought in a Dixie Chicks C.D because Christie really likes them and the radio doesn’t play any of their music, and it accidentally sparked a political/moral debate pitting Christie, Terry and I against Martha and Katie. It really sucks when you find out that people you like are Bible-thumping gun-slinging right-wingers. Christie and Terry and I kept trying to explain to Martha that it’s not like Vietnam—people who are against the war are not against the soldiers. Martha kept saying she understands that, but then she…well, she obviously doesn’t understand it. Christie's brother, Martha's son, is in Iraq, as is Katie's husband, and Christie said, "They are so gung-ho about the war now, but if my brother or Katie's husband was killed, they'd be against the war in a second." I don’t know, it’s all very hard to explain, but it was really frustrating listening to it all. They were all hating on Muslims. I wanted to say so badly that I have Muslim friends and that it is not in their doctrine to kill people, and that Christians have done tons of horribly violent things. They all think that Barack Obama is secretly Muslim and that even though he claims to be a Christian he must have been influenced by his radical Muslim father…whatever. All of this took place over the body of Snoopy, a loud little Beagle. He was getting neutered. And does he care about politics? Is he completely misinformed about the practices of Islam and inadvertently spreading hate around like a virus? No. He cares about being loved and fed and cared for. And if he has a problem, he lets us know as best as possible. And that is why animals are better. They don’t start wars or commit hate crimes or kill the environment or have values and so many thoughts. Humans are so smart they’re stupid. I think that sums it up pretty well. I think our biggest problem is that we have so many thoughts and beliefs. Like that John Mayer song… “Everyone believes in how they think it ought to be…we’re never gonna stop the war…we’re never gonna beat this if belief is what we’re fighting for.”

            Okay. I just had to get that out. There were many great things today too. A friendly wrinkly farmer brought in a little goat to be vaccinated, and I got to hold her and I named her Elizabeth. She was very sweet, and a few times she just burst out with a great, “Meeehhhhh!!!!” that sounded more like a little kid yelling than a goat.  So that was nice. And we spayed a cat with a tiny heart murmur named Cleo. Oh! And a friend of the Ralstons named Dusty brought in his dog Panama Red (yeah, the guy looked like he smoked some pot), a red-tick Coonhound. He was SO beautiful. I changed my mind about getting a Beagle. We should totally get a red-tick coonhound. But a girl—I like girl dogs better. So he brought him in and I helped him get him in a cage, and then he went back out to his truck and brought back the cutest little Beagle baby…named SLOOPY. He must have been stoned when he named her. But she was so cute and she got really excited and peed while he was holding her. But we put her in the cage with Red, who is two and a half years her senior and like 20 times bigger, but they’re BEST FRIENDS! It was so cute to watch—she would sit on his face or lie on his back and chew on his ears and he just took it. Whenever I went over to say hi to them Sloopy would jump up and down and stick her tongue through the bars and Red would just thump his tail and stand up and look at the little dog I swear one time he rolled his eyes. They were both in the be spayed and neutered, but they might go tomorrow.

            The next big deal of the day, after the debate of course, was Jasmine. Jasmine was a Beagle (it was a Beagle party today) who had gotten pregnant accidentally by a stray dog (this seems to happen a lot!) that was much bigger than she. She had been in labor since Friday night/Saturday morning, and four puppies had come out dead or died soon after birth. One was doing fine and making all sorts of noise, which is good. But poor Jasmine obviously had a pup stuck inside her. Her owner, who is also very pregnant, brought her in this morning—the poor dog was hunched over and straining with her tongue handing out. Sandy fished around in her and found the pup completely twisted around. She had to pull it out, and although Jasmine helped by pushing some, she mostly just cried. Her owner’s eyes were like dinner plates when she turned to me and said, “I really hope this doesn’t happen to me.” The whole experience reinforced my belief that bearing children is not for me.

            After the puppy came out, dead and twisted and smelly, we took some X-rays, and sure enough, the poor dog had another pup inside her. So we did a C-section/spay, and since the owner was more concerned about her dog than the puppies, she chose the cheaper anesthesia option that would most likely kill the remaining pup if it weren’t already dead. I get that—the puppies were an accident, and four had already died, so what were the chances this one was alive? And the other anesthesia would have been and extra $70. D.R came to pick me up, and Terry told him that I was about to see a very important surgery, so D.R said he would come back in an hour. So we opened up Jasmine’s abdomen, and he uterus was HUGE! I mean, I knew it would be big, but whoa…and what I thought was a puppy’s head turned out to be afterbirth. Then Christie pulled out the rest of the uterus and we saw the puppy. It was also huge, for a Beagle, but like I said, the stray dog (the dad) was apparently really big. This whole thing reminded me of Ginger being pregnant and us worrying about the babies being too big because Baker is such a giant.

            So Christie cut the uterus open and we took out the pup. Marge, the large animal vet, was there to help, and she and Terry took over the puppy. It had a strong heartbeat, and they started to get the mucus out of its throat as Christie worked on the uterus. When she first opened it, brown gunky fluid gushed out and went all over the floor and then the uterus hemorrhaged, so blood was going everywhere too! Terry had to grab the uterus with his bare hands and squeeze it so some of the bleeding would stop, and Christie worked to get the uterus out ASAP, because then the bleeding would stop. I have pictures of all the blood. I’m sure everyone will want to see them!

            So while Terry helped with the uterus, I took over the puppy. I rubbed it vigorously and shook it and patted it and sucked mucus out of its throat, and every once in a while it took a little breath, but the heartbeat continued to slow. So we pushed .1 of epi and Doxipram (I think that’s what it was called) to try ad get the heart going, and we could tell the little girl was trying to live, but the anesthesia for Jasmine had gotten into her system. After about an hour of rubbing and shaking and giving her oxygen and more drugs and trying to convince her to wake up, we finally gave in. Her heart had stopped. It was kind of weird—I wasn’t sad. She was so cute. I named her Leaf because her ears looked like little leaves, and I really wish she had lived, but I didn’t cry and it didn’t really make me sad. I just said, “Well, that one puppy is going to be really fat. He’s got ten nipples all to himself!” Jasmine’s nipples were actually really funny. They didn’t line up right. It was like this:

. . . . .

. . .. .

So that was the day. I can’t say if it was good or bad. It just was. And that’s how I ended up feeling about Leaf. It just was.