Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Sick as a dog

Profundity may be even lower than usual here, what with Bisou's predictable-in-retrospect stomach woes. Sniffing around on enough sidewalks, under enough café tables, and she's probably consumed several large German meals, along with the usual goose poop she must be yanked away from. I have not once but twice pulled a surprisingly-not-yet-chewed French fry from her mouth. Her secret to weighing a mere 12 pounds: she follows the time-old women's-mag trick of just tasting. She had actually been, until yesterday, far more robust here than at home, but luck can run out.

As for what caused this latest bout, with a dog, how would you ever know? Did we walk her too much when my husband's family was in town, taking perhaps a bit too seriously our landlord's request that we never leave Bisou alone in the apartment? Like, maybe climbing to the top of the mountain to see the castle was too much for her? (Am I projecting?) Was it the shred of Grana Padano I gave her? Does it in any way relate to the little boy with what may have been slightly-chocolate-splattered hands who appeared all of a sudden and wouldn't stop petting her because it was just love between this child and Bisou?* Was it the Sauerbraten? (Ding, ding, ding!)

The only possible way to know for sure which substance(s) would be to bring the vomit to a lab, but given that she's made it since 3:45 am without emptying her stomach onto the non-absorbant part of the floor, that may not be necessary. It appears that what works for humans with this condition goes for dogs as well: water but no food, lots of sleeping, lots of giving sad, pathetic looks. Poor Bisou!

The irony is that yesterday, before this had started in earnest, we actually took her to the vet, but just for the pre-trip official checkup. The vet here is a "small animal" specialist, and some of the other patients are rabbits larger than Bisou.

Oh, and to continue on the dog-ownership-you're-doing-it-wrong theme, it's worth mentioning that guidelines vary in different countries, and even the basics (which medicines to give, when to sterilize) vary tremendously. Whatever we did at the advice of the vet and whichever domestic research is precisely not how it's done in Germany.

*Something to keep in mind if you're thinking of getting a dog, particularly one with some resemblance to a stuffed animal: young children will assume your dog is a stuffed animal, and more bizarrely still, so will some of their parents. And you'll want your dog to meet kids, but in a somewhat controlled way, like where you can have your dog sit, the kid can first put out a hand to be sniffed, that sort of thing. Which will be how it goes with kids you know, but on the street or in a café, this sea of tiny children are continuously approaching unannounced, only (on at least two occasions) to start crying when Bisou responds to their lunging at her in a taunting way with a bark. Bisou's not aggressive (as demonstrated most dramatically early on back home, when under similar circumstances, an unsupervised toddler began trying to hit her with a stick), but when a little kid makes like she's going to kick her (a girl at the Sauerbraten establishment), she's not the sort to just start slobbering lovingly. She absolutely has the capacity to seem startled. She is a dog, not a teddy bear.

Most kids at least kind of get what to do, though, and I'm inclined for Bisou to meet as many people, children especially, as possible. But sometimes I'm walking somewhere, or Bisou's digestive tract is doing its thing, and it just isn't the moment. And the kid and parent will look so sad, like I'm taking this teddy bear away from them, so I do usually give in, unless, you know, the inanimate object they're admiring has already arched her back. What strikes me as odd about these encounters is that there's a popular (mis)perception that people get small, fluffy dogs instead of having kids. Why, then, are the owners of small, fluffy dogs imagined to be people who want to spend more time than usual with the young children of random passersby?


Nick said...

All this talk of children. Is there something we should know?

Phoebe said...

Ha. Maybe Bisou has morning sickness. Except that the vomiting is all day, and she's been spayed. I could provide even more details, but maybe people read this while they're eating.