This is now the second time that my cousin Barney has jumped in to help us during an emergency the day before he was due to drive back to the UK from our house in France. The first time, it was when a storm went from “impressive!” to “er, this is getting a bit scary” to “help, a tile from a neighbour’s roof has shattered a window and water is running through the kitchen!”. This time it was “Taji isn’t looking well, he has a distended stomach and he’s just tried to throw up but nothing happened; damn, this might well be bloat, in which case we might only have an hour or two”. He needed a vet, and I’d had enough to drink that I was probably over the limit (not that in this case it would have stopped me), but Barney stepped up, and we bundled Taji into his car.
This post wasn’t titled “Taji Totoro Fat Chocolate Bell Petunia Fruity Hairball Deckchair Nightshade: 2006-2016” so it’s giving nothing away to say that Taji is fine. He’s asleep on the kitchen floor, dreaming happy opioid dreams; Habibi and Ella, having fussed over him when he came in, are asleep nearby. The vets told us to let his stomach empty entirely before we let him drink in the morning, and then have some food by midday, small doses each, so that’s what we’ll do. We’ll get some elevated food bowls because there’s a suggestion that it helps. But in truth nobody really knows why big dogs can get stomach bloat, or why it happened this time. He certainly didn’t do anything obvious like wolf down a huge quantity of food and then do a sled run, which is the closest vets have to a likely cause.
Once at the vet surgery, they sedated him a bit to x-ray him, found a whole bunch of air inside his stomach, sedated him some more so they could stick a probe down his throat and suck a bunch of air and water out and not much more; then we waited for Taji to unzonk, while Barney had a power nap in the car, and the two vets (on-call vet + vet who knows what he’s doing) discussed between themselves why on-call vet thought Akitas were smaller, and which breed he was thinking of instead. Remembering the last time that Taji had general anaesthetic (he needed his teeth cleaned, but while they were at it we asked them to also cut his nails and pluck him of his blown coat that he normally won’t let us touch), I took the opportunity to pluck him. Unfortunately I only got to deal with one half of him as he was lying on his side, so he’ll probably look rather strange in the morning.
Meanwhile, here’s a reminder that all problems in the world can be found to involve telephony and/or computer problems these days. Most trivially, by the time senior vet went to look for x-rays, it took him a while to realise that we’d gone from 14th July to 15th July, so the reason why the photos were missing was that he was now officially in the Wrong Day. More interestingly, on-call vet was accustomed to seeing people phone the vet’s phone number and getting put through to his mobile, presenting as phoning him from the vet practice. When I called, though, the practice’s telephony passed my number - all 13 digits of it - straight through, so on-call vet assumed he was being cold-called by dodgy randos. It’s only because I called back a few times that he was persuaded that I was serious.
Wait, no, I can blame something even more topical. When I called the first time I assumed that the vet’s phone system was on the blink because I couldn’t hear anything happening; in fact, my phone was for some reason only relaying sound when I put the speaker on, so the first message on-call vet got in his voicemail was basically background noise of trees rustling in the breeze while I waited for something to happen. Once we’d arrived at the vet’s I rebooted my phone and everything was back to normal again.
What happened to my phone, though, that I could only use it as a speakerphone and not as an actual, you know, phone? Well, there was only one thing I’d done recently that could have anything to do with that.
I blame Pokémon Go.