Wednesday, June 07, 2017



My little monkey otherwise known as Harley dog required a trip to an emergency vet.

After hours.

Why can't he do these ridiculous things during normal vet hours?

I've tried to teach him how to tell time with a canine clock.

Harley insists he only knows two times. Now and forever. When he wants to play or eat or sleep or pee or poop it's NOW time. When I leave him alone it's FOREVER time. When I come back, it's NOW time.

I have a big folder I keep in a pocket by my steering wheel in the motorhome labeled "Harley Vet Records". He has seen vets in multiple places because we travel so much. His favorite vet is in Travelers Rest, South Carolina at All About Pets.

The last time we were in that area, I planned to take him there. However, life took some really strange turns. I was picking up ashes of someone near and dear so I could deliver them to the various places they wanted to go on their final trip. That was a tearful soulful journey in itself  but the transmission in the RV blew, I shattered my wrist requiring multiple resets and then emergency surgery. Next the newish overhead AC went out during a 100 degree heat wave.

At one point during that chaotic time, Harley found himself camping all alone inside my RV with the generator running while parked illegally near the hospital. Fortuitously the AC didn't fail or I would have found a shriveled up hot dog instead of a pet. The next day, while parked at a cramped RV park the AC broke.
In a weird turn of blessed events, the AC was repaired under warranty but I still had to pay a pricey service call fee but hey, it was 100 degrees and I was in extreme pain. Why complain now? I made it out alive!

My friend had moved aboard to help take care of the utter chaos and somehow in all the madness, we just never got Harley to his favorite vet for a checkup.

Now Harley had done the unthinkable and needed emergency help in Okeechobee, Florida. Several phone calls later, we ended up at the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital. Those folks were outstanding!

If truth be told my little monkey had help with his predicament. But it wasn't me. I know better. Back in 2010 I had to rush Harley to a vet in Orlando, because he appeared to be choking. I had tried everything to help him and he was just getting worse. I burst into a vet's office declaring "My puppy can't breath!"

They assured me he could breathe but he was heaving and choking on something. They rushed him off and came back with a little twig. It had jammed inside his mouth. I had looked all in his mouth and I couldn't find it. That was back in puppy days when he let me poke around his mouth. He wasn't even a year old and already getting into trouble.

These days, nobody is poking around his mouth not even me. Sheesh. He is so picky now.

So after that fateful trip in 2010 to the Orlando vet, and the huge bill for bursting into their office in the middle of the day declaring an emergency, I made a mental note "No more sticks or twigs to play with!"

At that time, I didn't even know he was playing with sticks and twigs. We were camping at a friend's house with a fenced in yard. Afterwards,  I bought the poor little thing toys. Heaven help me! He fell in love with toys, toys, toys. Whenever he would try to play with sticks or twigs I would scold him, snatch away the stick or twig and grab a toy. Here, play with that. Leave the sticks alone!

As a puppy he used to try to find my wooden clothes pins and take then apart for chewing. I would fuss at him and hide them. Even now, I keep the clothes pins in a big plastic jar with a tight fitting lid. I just wanted him to forget all about wood as a play thing. Especially small sticks and twigs.

Speed forward to now. Vroom!

I didn't realize my visiting friend was playing with a tiny stick, with my doggy. He was wiggling the little stick and Harley would grab it and run around with it. My friend was grabbing it back and then wiggling it some more and Harley would grab it then scamper around playing keep-away. I came outside again where these two were supposed to be behaving themselves when suddenly Harley began acting strangely. He would bend his head down to the ground until the top of his head was on the ground and he would tumble literally head over heels. Harley was making strange faces and looking kind of distressed.

While this was all quite amusing, my friend said "Um I think he may have a stick or a twig stuck in his mouth!"

"A twig? A stick? We don't play with sticks and twigs. Back in 2010 he got a stick stuck in his throat or teeth and I couldn't find it anywhere. He had to go to a vet and get it removed."

Now my friend was a wee bit upset, like oh my gosh, what have I done? Don't dogs and sticks go together? Can't you get it out?

We had a bit of joking. "I leave you two alone for three minutes... and you both get into trouble..."

Years back, same friend was visiting when my earring became hung up in Harley's dog sweater cause he was trying to kiss me.  I was playing keep away, moving my head from side to side giggling while Harley (standing in my lap) tried even harder to kiss me, when UT OH, an earring snagged his doggy sweater. In those days he was so cold all the time he wore sweaters when it was the least bit chilly. There we were, tangled up. My ear and his sweater. Same friend visiting who manged to untangle us without chopping my ear off said "Leave you 2 alone for 3 minutes and you get into trouble..."

I reached for Harley to try to open his mouth, but Harley stood up, bared his teeth growling and snappy. Then he repeated the head over heels rolling rightly in a ball. Honestly it was so cute. Oh man I so wanted to get a camera, it was a cool looking feat. I snatched him up to look in his mouth and he snapped and growled like an injured dog.

I have a muzzle for emergencies, but since this injury was in his mouth, what to muzzle?

My friend and I tried leather gloves to see if  maybe we could open his mouth while maintaining our 10 fingers.

Harley said "Oh no you don't!" and put on a seemingly vicious display that was a tad bit frightening.

Then he would chew funny, moving his mouth strangely, then roll over on top of his head again. His usual happy tail was folded up against his belly. We had picked up a skinny little phone book for the Lake Okeechobee area. I found that and thumbed through the yellow pages.

I tried to call a vet, it was almost 7pm and got a recording that didn't explain anything about who to call for an emergency. Some vets will tell you on their voice mail where the emergency vet is located or if someone is on call for evening emergencies.

I wasn't having any luck, but it dawned on me I had leftover mac and cheese in the fridge.

By now Harley was highly agitated and becoming more disagreeable by the second. He was snarling and snapping alternately stretching his jaw funny, rolling around, moaning and groaning. My poor baby!

I sweet talked him in a soothing voice while proffering mac and cheese. Amazingly he ate the little tidbits of mac and cheese without snapping my fingers off. I was hoping to dislodge the stick and he would spit it out on his own.

I even smeared some peanut butter on the mac and cheese and fed him more. He loved this food game eating quite a bit. At least now instead of a snarling fearful dog, I had a trusting calm one, but still I could tell he wasn't going to let me poke around his mouth.

Food and the act of me feeding him treats served to calm him down immensely. Meanwhile my friend had taken over making phone calls astonishingly finding a vet who was due to go home but would wait on our arrival to see Harley.

What luck! It was now going on 8pm.

We took off in their vehicle, got lost which set us back 10 minutes or more, but then we got on the right track and found the vet at the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital.

By now Harley was overstuffed with food and napping in my lap peacefully. At the vet's place, I woke him to walk inside. He thought he was at someone's home to visit, so inside he was wagging his tail, smelling their dog foods for sale in the lobby thinking this is great fun!

When the staff came to check on him, he was  sitting next to me on a bench looking cool as a cucumber. They were flummoxed and said "I thought you said he was in severe distress."

I mumbled, "Well, he was but then I stuffed him full of mac and cheese with peanut butter to calm him down."

The assistant picked him up for a look-see in his mouth when Harley growled, snarled, bared his teeth and became nasty in a nanosecond.

They carted him off, came back and said "Yes, he has a stick stuck in his jaw. We are going to have to gas him some to get him to go under long enough for us to retrieve it."

"Um, I hate to bring this up, but he hates having his nails clipped, any chance you could clip them while he is gassed up?" Amazingly, the staff didn't think this imprudent.  Apparently a lot of canines hate having their nails messed with. I was embarrassed to ask.

We waited awhile and then they brought me my fur baby, wrapped in a blankie, crying and shaking, very woozy from his anesthetic. I held him tightly and said sweet things to him. He was still flying high as a kite but he managed to plant some some sloppy kisses on me. When my friend leaned over him to say he was sorry about the stick, Harley managed to lean out from my grasp and shakily proffer up a doggy kiss. This staff was oohing and awing. I have to admit, it was kind of cute.

They were terrific! The Doc got the stick out and told us we were correct to bring Harley in right away when we couldn't do it ourselves. It was jammed in there causing him a great deal of pain. Small wonder he was snarling mad about it. It could have caused a huge infection.

Phew so lucky. Angels looking out for us everywhere.

Recently the vet had treated a very sick horse only to find out he too had a stick jammed in his jaw that had been there long enough to do a bit of damage and create a massive infection. It had been there so long, the horse's tongue had rubbed part of the stick down to almost half it's diameter. Poor horsey!

My little monkey was off his game for the rest of the night, but by morning, he was feeling like his old mischievous self again.

Mega thanks to the wonderful staff at the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital.

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  1. So glad Harley dog is going to be okay! No more sticks!

  2. Oh, my, I'm so glad this true story has a happy ending !
    Our animals can stress us out completely. Don't laugh, but I
    pray for ours, immediately. God obviously loves animals too. 😊


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