04 August 2011

Things to remember not to say if you are someone that has dogs and sometimes forgets to edit your words.

One of my friends talked to a guy, a human guy, who had similar liver problems to Gustavo.

He gets ammonia in his brain, too. She didn't tell him that she knows a dog with the same thing. Us people with lots of dogs, we have to remember not to say things like that. Especially to people with babies.

You know that, right? Like when a mom who looks like she hasn't slept in 3 weeks and one of her kids has just gone toddler screaming waddling towards the tower of Hello Kitty lunchboxes display in Target and the other is strapped into a seat in the shopping cart howling and she finally has them roped in and she's all, oh man, one of the kids had me up all night and barfing is mentioned, graphically and visually, you don't ever tell her your dogs do that sometimes, right?

Right. You make a mental note before opening your mouth, do not compare the human children to the dogs.

Ever. Because you are hopefully never going to have them in Target tearing down the aisle with their stickiness about to attack a towering, delicately balanced display, and no matter how much howling or barfing there is, you always have a crate as backup.

Same with brain ammonia problems. Do not compare the human guy sickness to the dog. Except in your head.

However, you do listen carefully, because when a human guy has the same weird medical issue as your dog, very interesting to hear what it feels like to have ammonia in your brain.

It feels like this. His wife found him at 3am, sitting in the hallway, on the floor, staring at the wall. She kicked him back into gear, and he reports he's actually in the car, driving.

Ammonia in the brain.

Inexplicably, Gustavo did agility again last night, and couldn't put a foot wrong. Ran great, hard weave poles, teeter totters and running dogwalk contacts. Even though the night before, he could barely hold it together to do more than 2 obstacles at a time. Sure there were some handling snafus here and there, but he weathered each one with grace and composure, and kept flying around doing his thing like a genuine agility dog.

I'm not sure how much of his erratic joie de vivre is caused by poor dog training, and how much by years of brain ammonia welling up and causing Gustavo to think he's actually in the car, driving. Or worse. I suspect if Susan Garrett had trained Gustavo, he would actually be able to drive the car, probably even a stick, no matter how much ammonia in his brain. I guess we'll never know. He got stuck with me.

So ammonia or not, sometimes he is a masterful agility dog, and other times, feral little animal with an ill functioning liver and no manners. And all the time, and here I am going out on a limb and saying I am not comparing how dogs to kids, I swear, except to say it's the same thing that lets you stay up all night cleaning up barf or chasing down the feral animal who has gone awry, and still be able to say, I am really lucky he's my dog.


DoggieDojo said...

And he is SOOOO lucky to have gotten stuck with you :)

Terry A said...

i've had kids and i've had dogs-- really, not that much difference. witness how i sometimes call my dog by my son's name, for instance.

Anonymous said...

It's that last paragraph that is one of the reasons I love your blog.

Virginia in Texas

Anonymous said...

Terry A--is this really true in some way? Because I don't have kids, and won't ever have them, and I would love to hear the opinions of a true dog lover who has also had kids. I've heard a couple of other people make comments similar to yours and I can never tell how serious they are.

Anonymous said...

I have both, a dog and a kid. And maybe it's bad to say, but as my human child ages I quietly relinquish my control, my concern and my minute by minute attention. She's heading out of teen age now and I believe as she matures, our relationship changes and I don't have as much "say."
My dogs, however, are MINE until the day they die. I care for them, train them and they basically never age past what you'd see in a 6 year old kid. Lots of supervision and scheduled "play dates."
It's different, yet much the same. It would never offend me to have someone say their pet had a similar ailment to my child. Why would someone get mad at that???


GooseMaverick said...

Having recently spent the night in a motel room with a bored 11 month old puppy without a crate (left overnight at show site, sigh), I can testify that kid or dog, when you are with one that won't sleep when you need it and you have to keep an eye on them, it is exactly the same.

The difference is that I love my dogs but I LOVE my daughter. Literally, I wouldn't hesitate to jump in front of a bullet for her.

How cool that you got to talk to someone with Mr G's condition. I recently talked to someone whose horse had the same medical condition I do, didn't bother me a bit. But I am an animal person...

Jodi, eh? said...

I learned that lesson when I recently mentioned to my brother with a 3yr old that perhaps he needs to give her some re-inforcement for good behaviour and his response, by the look in his face said "if you ever equate child rearing with dog training again, I will never ever have anything to do with you. It didn't really go over that well, in my humble opinion.