The past two days, I have been sick with an ironic summer cold. I say that because I find the concept of getting a cold during the hottest parts of the year extremely ironic. I went to England and the Netherlands and Korea and experienced cold weather in the past few months, but no, I get sick during the hottest part of the year in Thailand. Go figure.
I allowed myself the great pleasure of wallowing in my sickness, rather than trying to keep up with work. Most of the time I’ll struggle through, continuing with emails and trying to continue to work. This time, I just let myself rest.
It was glorious.
During this time, I picked up a book by one of my favorite sappy authors, James Herriot. If you’ve never read a James Herriot book, and love animals, you need to stop now and get some of his works. He will make you laugh and make you cry with his stories about life as a country vet. He talks of Cedric, the farting Boxer; Debbie, the genteel cat; and Duke, the only living creature that a young miscreant ever loved.
Warning: his stories will make you feel feelings.
As I read these stories of animals and their affection, and this young country vet’s experiences, I found myself reaching for my own pup to cuddle a little closer, as I remembered multiple instances of taking her to the vet, holding her tiny body as she fought for life.
I also realized at that time that I’ve never blogged about Dingdong.
How have I missed blogging about that little black ball of fluff that’s been a part of my life? I don’t know. But I want to tell a story about the day that I finally began to understand the connection of a pet and owner.
I bought Dingdong when she was just a tiny black ball of fluff on Saturday, November 19, 2011. I had considered for a few months what it would be like to have a puppy, and I went to the dog market and fell in love with her cute little face. Here’s a pic from the first day that I got her:
Now the biggest question I get is this: “what does her name mean?” Yes, it is Thai. It means “stupid.” However, I thought it meant the cute kind of stupid. My Thai teacher later informed me it’s the kind of stupid that implies you’ve had a lobotomy.
Oops. Sorry, pup.
I carried her in a laundry basket and took her everywhere with me. She slept ALL THE TIME, and rarely ate. That didn’t concern me too much, until a week after I got her, she started pooping blood. I got her to the vet as fast as possible. The doctor took a look, asked me a few questions, and said, “she has parvovirus. There is a 70% chance she will die.”
Definitely not what I was ready to hear at that moment – and honestly, I had never had a pet of my own before. I’m not the kind of person who makes deep emotional attachments with most things, but at that moment, I realized just how much I loved this puppy. It was very dramatic, like a soap opera.
He explained that there wasn’t medication for that, but that he could put her on an IV, and give her nutrition, and we’d see if she would make it. Rather than just hang out in the waiting room, I went outside. I went to the side of the concrete vet clinic, sat down on the driveway, and cried for two hours straight.
I don’t think I have EVER cried that much – at least, not for a very long time. Most of my tears are just a little leak of about five tears, and then it’s over. That day, the floodgates burst through like they rarely have, and who knows what will trigger it again. When I pulled it together and went back, he said to bring her every morning for the IV. I could take her home at night, but she would need the IV to keep hydrated and nourished.
They’d leave the needle in her tiny leg, and put a cast bandage over the spot to keep it safe when she didn’t come. Eventually, they had to switch to her other leg, and both of her legs were shaven. We called it her “sleeve tatts.” Amazingly, she pulled through. She was one of the 30% that pulls through. She’s a tough little thing – really sassy and strong-willed. That’s made training her super fun, and also helped her survive eating rat poison, and all the times she just keeps trying to accidentally die.
She’s almost 4 now, and is getting a gray muzzle. Her ear hair is ridiculous. And I’m pretty sure I could probably run her over with a semi-truck and she’d survive it. She’s more likely to fart in my face when I’m having a bad day as opposed to snuggle, but that’s my dog. She’s mine, obviously likes me, and I guess I’m kinda fond of her too.