Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coal's Big Adventure

Yesterday, just as I was ready to start a meeting, I got a phone call from home. "Uhm, can the dog go in the pool with his radio collar on?" Several scenarios flashed through my head - mainly ones where my poor dog had his fur standing on end from the shock. A couple of quick questions revealed that:
  • No, the dog wasn't in the pool - yet.
  • No, electric shock therapy had been delivered - yet.
  • Yes, this was actually a preemptive call to make sure no harm would befall the pooch.
About 10 minutes into the meeting, my phone starts to ring again.  I check and it is Skaterboy calling again.  Since I just talked to him a few minutes before, I figured it was something unimportant so I silence the ringer and move on.  

My curiosity got the best of me and I rang the boy back to see what was so gosh darn important that he had to call again so quickly.  I'm not an uncaring step-monster but his calls generally fall into a few select categories:
  • He is hungry and needs some cash for food (like I can just fly out of work and run home to give him $5 for Subway)
  • He is hungry and wants to know what is cheaper - Subway or Chinese?
  • He is looking for something and wants to know if we have said item in the house (a tape adapter for an iPod, blank CD's, money to go get food - do you see the theme here?!)
He immediately launches into this story about the dog.  "His ear is hanging lower on one side.  And he keeps twitching"  WTF??  I make him start over and explain the story to me again.  Why is the dog's ear hanging lower?  Apparently in an effort to put the aforementioned radio collar back on the dog, Skaterboy accidentally poked to dog in the ear.  Or the eye.  He wasn't really sure which one.  "He keeps twitching!" he said with a rising panic in his voice.  Mildly panicked, I start to question him further.  Twitching like he has bugs in his ears or twitching like he is having a seizure?  Much to my relief it is only the buggy kind of twitching.  

Still trying to wrap my head around how you poke a dog in the ear (or eye) I ask if this happened before or after he was in the pool.  'oh, this was before he went in the pool.  He completely freaked out in the pool".  Now, this dog has already been in the pool more times than any human being combined in my household.  The first time was voluntary but probably on accident.  We just took the cover off and while working on the filter, we heard a splash.  We turned around only to find Coal standing on his hind legs, hanging on to the side with his front paws.  Totally calm cool and collected.  The second time he had a little help from yours truly.  I'm sorry, but if you would have walked past him hanging over the edge of the pool with his nose in the water and his tail up in the air, you would have nudged him in too!  He reacted the same as the first time - hanging on to the edge, calm as could be.  You could see him trying to figure out how to get out but not really sure which direction to go.

Apparently in the presence of teenagers, the reaction was different.  The story goes that the dog slipped on the coping and fell in.  Then he completely panicked.  I can only assume that multiple teenage boys flipping off diving boards got the deck and coping sopping wet.  And the dog overly excited! Of course, Coal likes to be by the people so this time he went in next to the diving board.  Where the water is 9 feet deep.  Not the shallow end where it is 3 feet deep.  Skaterboy and his friend both struggled to get a 75lb wet, flailing, fur bearing creature out from the deep end.

Needless to say, when I got home, both child and beast were very subdued.  The boy felt bad and was giving him belly rubs and treats.  I inspected the poked ear/eye region and didn't see anything out of place.  He would let you rub his ears/eyes/muzzle without any complaints and didn't even trying to chew on our fingers.  I honestly think the dog was milking it for the sympathy.  The boy does the same exact thing!

Coal was exceptionally loving last night, curled up with his chin on my lap for most of the night.  It was odd, but I wasn't too worried about him.  If he didn't bounce back to his normal self by the time I got home tonight, I would try to get him into the vet.  I tried to calculate the cost of this vet visit in my head and thought about how I would explain the injury to the vet (since all my knowledge was second hand).  I asked for a re-enactment of the injury because I wasn't too sure what really happened.  SB walked through the act of putting on the collar when I finally figured out what may have happened.  Distracted, he tried to put the collar back on when the dog moved his head.  Coal isn't wild about any collars and has a tendency to try to duck out of the way.  The collar has a buckle and your natural hand position is to have your 'thumbs up'.  Thus, my CSI theory (that is Canine Scene Investigator) is that he scratched the inside of his ear with his thumb nail.  Combine a scratch on the inside of your ear with a plunge into a heavily chlorinated pool, where you think you are going to drown and are swimming for your life, you have a pup who is a little scared, a little worn out, and who has an ear that doesn't feel so hot.

I am semi-pleased to report that Coal is his normal self tonight.  The in-your-face with a chew toy, steal the pillows when he thinks you aren't looking, running across the yard with a huge hunk of firewood in his mouth, kind of normal.  Sigh....I kind of miss the lovey dovey dog from last night!


NV said...

Wow! Glad Coal is all right.

More glad my scenario wasn’t accurate. I figured the combination of electric collar and wet dog may have been akin to a stun gun treatment.

This worries me about SkaterBoy. He clearly has a looooong ways to go in the hunter/gatherer phase.

cd said...

As the mother of three boys (one by marriage, two by birth), glad to know I'm not the only one who has to re-construct events.