Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Bad veterinary hospital, good puppy, and the things people say

Too many choices

Yesterday was the first time I talked in person to my vet after the mess at the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, or VESH, in Deerfield, surrounding Maddie's death. It is a great irony that they saved her life when she was hit by a car years earlier and made life so miserable at her passing. I like to think that she didn't know what was going on. She liked everyone and obviously wasn't wondering why people were poking at her and vets were giving her a surgery that she didn't need.

My vet said she and the others aware of the case were greatly disappointed in how they handled it. I said it felt like QVC: "Operators are standing by to take your credit card." (For a down payment on the $5,000 surgery.) I went over with my vet that they had given me half an hour to decide on whether to go ahead with the surgery. I couldn't think straight. She asked if they had given me a good explanation (no, not really), or given me any money back (no) because she thought they should have done it. Well, the explanation was that this was the small window for getting the surgery done by a vet who was available and who specialized in older dogs. But it didn't satisfy my need to know WHY they were pushing it at all. 

Meeting her sister

I asked if I should try now to get some money back, and she said no. It's only been five months though, so maybe I will call or write again. In any case, she said, now you have THIS.

The buried lede is that THIS is my new black Lab puppy, Gracie. She is a bundle of joy and enthusiasm. The enthusiasm extends to pulling up the corners of the rugs and eating the plants and chewing everything in sight. She also, however, sleeps through the night (very important) and stops squirming for long enough to have a good cuddle. She is a very good, gentle dog who loves everyone. 

I looked at rescues, filling out a form asking for my whole life story, but couldn't handle the process and the uncertainty over not knowing what I was getting. I know that a black Lab will be a good dog. (Think Winnie, our huge black Lab who was so gentle with the kids.) Joe thought she looked like a Gracie, so Gracie she is. 

On one of the first nights, I lay down on the den floor like I did with Maddie, and she came over and stretched out next to me. At that moment I knew I had gotten my money's worth. 

I did, however, forget how much WORK puppies are. I have to train her on the gentle leader so that she does not pull me. That is a whole process, starting with feeding her in it and telling her WHAT A GREAT THING it is. Right now she has a kind of slip collar called a Martingale. It is basically a choke collar made of cloth. I try to give it a little yank backwards when she pulls, or I turn my back, but 1) she doesn't care about the yank and 2) it's too frickin cold to stand on the street with my back to a dog...though it does work for a minute or two.

Watching Trump announcement

I signed up for a private lesson with a trainer at Animal Alliances, where we are also doing puppy kindergarten. 

Did someone ask about crate training? She picked up on it pretty quickly, though if I don't pay attention to her signals, out come the paper towels. She loves running after tennis balls (in the house so far) and brings them back to me with a "soft mouth," meaning that if it was a bird, she would not have crushed it. Like Maddie, she does not bark. 

I was going to wait until spring. But I felt so forlorn without a dog. The house seemed so quiet. I have wondered if I am too old for this, but I seem to be surviving OK. I won't have Jim and Jane to help me out, so I am looking at other options. I am very sad about Jane not talking to me and not even telling me why. All I know is that Maddie was with them when she got sick. I did not blame them for anything. Maybe though she feels that I did? I called and left messages. Enough is enough though. I'm the one who lost the dog.

People are funny. As in odd, not ha ha funny. Most everyone has totally understood why I wanted another dog and encouraged me in my search. I'm a true dog person, and this is a dog's house. My neighbor across the street – human to a ginormous black Lab – saw how upset I was when Maddie died. And when she saw me walking puppy (or puppy walking me), she came over and gave me a big hug and said how happy she was for me. One good friend said that a puppy was the cure for the sadness. Others couldn't wait to meet the mystery dog. I wrote and then removed the tale (pun intended ) of an old friend who was very negative and opinionated about me getting a dog. It was very upsetting...but telling the whole story wouldn't make it any better. The kids were on board though, and that counts for a lot.  

I have had moments where I ask, "What have I done?" That's when Gracie is driving me crazy and I feel like my time isn't my own. But she is a fast learner and very smart and playful and a real cutie. And like Maddie, not a barker. We are working it out. I need to find time to write and to exercise. I'm doing pretty well with that. Nothing wrong with a little crate time after she has been fed, watered, exercised, etc.  I'm going to get her into day care but first need to find the energy to fill out yet another long application .