02 November 2006

Things my Mom taught me (Part III)

So Casey had an upset tummy today. A little yard pukin' and a serious case of the I-gotta-go-out-RIGHT-NOW. So I called Mom up, got a Course of Action (that's military speak for what-the-Hell-we-gonna-do), and did it. Went to CVS, bought Pepto and a syringe.

I came home, fired up the syringe, grabbed the German Shepherd, pried open the Giant Jaws of Death and thoroughly Pepto'd the dog. Then I did it again. Mr. Abby kept looking at me like I was crazy.

However, Mom always taught me:
If you're going to be a Critter Person, you have to be able to deal with your critters.

When I was a kid, we had barn cats. Now, the average barn cat gets about one trip to a real veterinarian in its life (if it's lucky). That's the spay/neuter trip. Other than that - why would anyone, my mother would ask, pay for an office visit for shots you can buy through the mail?

(Disclaimer - Abby's Mom is a medical professional)

So at least once a year, we'd trap the barn cats out in the garage. Then it was my job to a grab a cat and wrap it in a towel, leaving the neck exposed so Mom could administer the shots. We also did this with the housecat. And Dad's hunting dog.

When I was in high school, I had a couple of horses. One of them was a freak of epic proportions and ran through a barbed wire fence. Since we believed in Dealing With Our Critters, I applied ointment to those lacerations every day for weeks (and the horse kicked, too).

The two horses needed shots, too. This seemed to my Mom to be a GREAT OPPORTUNITY for me to learn to give shots. I remember her standing on the OTHER side of the fence and giving instructions as I warily circled Freak Horse with a needle. But I did it. I learned.

One weekend, my Dad and I were Up North and Mom was at home with our two bullmastiffs. On their Last Pee of The Night, Boris, our large male (and I do mean LARGE), somehow got tangled up with a raccoon family in the woods below the house. Raccoons are MEAN and Boris was not. He DID triumph (decisively, my father found the next day), but sustained a nasty ear-tear in the process. Nasty as in his big, floppy, velvety ear was ripped pretty well in half from tip to base.

Mom fixed it. With a flesh stapler. The woman stapled an ear together on a I-shit-you-not-150-pound frantic dog with no assistance.

That's Dealing With Your Critters. And that's why I could never even contemplate calling the veterinarian to administer dog tummy medicine. Because Mom would laugh at me.