Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday from Hell

About two weeks ago, the main drain to my septic system backed up. Snaking all the drains didn’t help. Then it started raining. In California, 6.5 inches in two days is the equivalent of Hurricane Katrina. We just don’t cope well. I was okay if I didn’t flush the toilet more than once every four hours. Couldn’t take a shower; couldn’t wash dishes.

My front yard- my garden demolished
Once the monsoon was over, my gardener dug down and exposed the tank and the pipes, which are 50 years old and corroded beyond saving. They just fell apart when the shovel hit them. So, once everything was exposed, it started raining again. Then it was Christmas.

In the meantime, my 20-plus year old dryer quit. Beyond repair.

After Christmas, I had the septic pumped so we could open up the pipes. I also bought a new dryer. My neighbor, a plumber, bless his heart, replaced the pipes and all was running again…almost. The plug on the cleanout under my kitchen sink would not stay put, so every time I run the water, it drains out onto my patio, a black stinking sludge.

Bodi, Nate and Madison
Through all of this I had between 7 and 9 visiting dogs staying here. On Friday after Christmas, a new dog, Bodi, arrives. His owners had been out at the desert all week, camping, and were heading to their father’s here in town for the New Year before they drove back up to their home Northern California. So Bodi stayed with me. But he had diarrhea. Projectile, sopping wet, explosive diarrhea all over my living room- floor, walls, dog beds, you name it.

During the night he had another episode in his crate, and again out in the yard in the morning. So I called the owner and they came over and took him to the ER for pets. He come back with meds and special food, and all was well from then on.

Meanwhile, I noticed a cut on the hip of another visiting dog, Molly. She is the sweetest dog on earth, and it looked like a stray tooth had snagged her while everyone was playing. I inspected the inch-long gash and it went through the skin, but not into the muscle. I could lift her skin and see a pocket underneath- perfect for infection. I knew she needed stitches and antibiotics.  Off to the ER for pets with this dog.

Poor Molly
$773 later, Molly came home with a big shaved patch on her hip, stitches, a drain, an Elizabethan collar, and bottles of pills. I had phoned her owners, who weren’t too happy about the whole thing, but I assured then she was getting the best of care and lots of TLC.

The next morning I let the dogs out for a break while I fixed their breakfast. Nate the Lab decided to play with the drain cleanout plug on the patio. Even though I had a rock over it, and a concrete block on top of that, he moved them and pulled out the plug, and started digging in the black sludge that poured out. I came outside less than ten minutes later, and his muzzle was black up to his eyes, his feet were black about 6 inches up, and he had tracked sludge all over the patio. He reeked of sewage and looked like he’d been dipped in a bottle of ink.

Since Dawn dish detergent works on oil-splattered birds in the Gulf, that’s what I used on Nate, and he cleaned up nicely. But we weren’t done. An hour or so later, he started throwing up: black crud on my living room floor, kitchen floor, and out in the yard. I gave him some hydrogen peroxide to help the process along, and after that he was fine, while I washed the floors yet again.

My friend Judy, meanwhile, brought over a soft e-collar for Molly. Poor dog had been banging into everything, refusing to eat and drink. The soft collar solved it all. She drank a long drink and returned to a totally normal happy dog, wearing her hat.

On Sunday afternoon, Madison the Golden went home. She, Nate and Bodi had been having a blast rough-housing and face fighting all weekend. I got a call from the owner. Madison had some scratches on her neck, and one looked like it was getting some pus. She was taking her to the vet. And I felt I need to pay for it.

ARGHHHH!!! How will I ever convince these owners that there were no fights? Just rowdy dogs playing rough.

And that was my holiday. I hope the cleanout plug will be solved tonight. I currently have a pile of concrete block keeping the dogs away. Then I can wash dishes…

Bookmark and Share
© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

A MilShelb Mom said...

Holy Cow! What a holiday for you. You need a vacation!