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Monday, May 3, 2010

How to medicate a Pug...or not

My pug has an ear infection. I was told it's just mild, no biggie, wash his ears out and stick some ointment in them. No problem. All better. My vet has a full staff of trained animal restrainers. And cookies. I have two hands and my wits. I am seriously undermanned for this mission.

Did I mention this pug weighs 38lbs, has claws like a velociraptor, and the demeanor of the Tasmanian devil? Like Taz, he's sweet, lovable, playful, and let's admit it, a little short on brains. He can also make your living room look like a tornado has passed through.

He was fine when the vet did it. But at home, as soon as he saw the ear wash bottle, and heard me calling him, Fergus began manic-running around the living room. Up on the loveseat, leap to the couch, jump over the end table to land on the back of the recliner, which out of self defense tips over and dumps him onto the tile in the kitchen. From there he scrambles up, his nails skittering over the tile as he does the Scooby Doo frantic running in place move, until his nails gain purchase and send him shooting back into the living room where he slides across the wood floor and goes careening off the wall. It's like trying to catch a demented popcorn kernel.

I finally do manage to catch him, tackle him, and sit on him. (I did mention he's almost 40lbs, right?) After he gives up struggling and we both catch our breath, I realize that the medication and swabs I need are sitting on the kitchen counter. Across the room.

I can't lift him. I know forty lbs doesn't seem like a lot of weight, but he will do one of two things. He will either practice passive resistance and make his whole body go limp so he slithers through your arms like a lump of jello, or he will struggle like a pitbull on angel dust, making his 40lbs feel like 80 and risking being dropped and injured. So I improvise. I grab him around the middle and crawl towards the kitchen dragging him with me. He is simultaneously licking all over my face and digging his feet into me, the floor and any passing piece of furniture. We make it halfway to the kitchen and I change tactics, grabbing his front paws and trying to pull him.

That was my mistake. He instantly went limp, rolling from standing on his hind legs to falling over on his back, forcing me to either let go or break his legs. I only had a second to make a decision, so I opted to save the vet bill and let him go. He immediately ran over and jumped onto the recliner to monitor me. Head cocked, panting, tongue hanging out - I swear he was grinning ear to ear.

I retrieve the needed items and realize that I cannot hold onto everything AND catch him. Solution - my June Cleaver apron complete with spacious pockets. I get outfitted and stock my pockets and go back to retrieve Pugzilla, who is now refreshed and ready to rock and roll. Once more, he makes the rounds of the living room, at one point sliding under the coffee table and then standing before he exits, knocking the table over and scattering magazines, remotes and a bowl of potpourri across the living room floor. Meanwhile, the other dogs are in their crate jumping up and down, barking and howling and basically egging on Fergus' escape attempt. He finally slides into a corner where I am able to trap him and get my legs wrapped around him and pin him to the floor. Whew.

Mission accomplished. I get his ears cleaned and medicated and let him go, where he promptly stands up and shakes his head, spraying ear medicine all over the already demolished living room. I give up. His ears can rot and fall off for all I care. I let them all outside, clean the living room, and get settled in my chair in time to have my boyfriend come home and say "Hi Sweetie, how was your day?"

I just smile and say "Fine, baby, how was yours?" What can you say?

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