Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dr. Dolittle and the Weepy Morning

Bun-Bun has been failing to grow. He eats like a horse, but all the nutrition goes in one end and comes out the other. I’ve been giving him liquid Immodium, but it hasn’t helped. He’s all skin and bones and his fur looks scruffy. His breathing is also labored. In spite of thrice-daily antibiotics. It was thoroughly distressing. I cried. Demetrios said he’d rather see this poor cottontail euthanized than suffer. “Please take him to the vet!” he said, twice.

And then he, who’d had surgery on Wednesday night, got up and dressed and shaved, declaring he would come with me! I cried some more.

I remembered once telling my mother I wish I had a dog.

“You can’t,” said she. “An untrained dog in the house is a nightmare.”

“What makes you think I wouldn’t train him?” I asked, aghast.

“Demetrios won’t let you discipline him,” she said, eyeing me over the rim of her glasses, with a sort of wicked, merry glint in her eyes.

And I knew she was right. He thinks it’s mean of me if I insist upon obedience from dogs I babysit. It’s not as if I smacked them or anything; I merely enforce my commands. If they don’t come, I carry them to where I want them to be. If they won’t sit, I push their little bottoms to the floor. Etc. Demetrios thinks that’s mean.

Once our cat rolled over onto her back and stuck her tummy out to be rubbed, so I stuck out my foot and obliged.

“Don’t do that!” cried Demetrios, appalled.

“Do what?”

“Rub the cat with your shoes on! Shoes are dirty! Take it off!”

I remembered all these things, plus the dying rat he once prayed for and a couple of hours later we found it running on its wheel and stuffing its mouth, and it was healthier than ever – and remembering, I cried some more. I’m really not worthy to be married to this man, Lord.

So off we went to the only animal clinic around that still sees wild animals, half an hour away, Demetrios holding Bun-Bun in a small box in his lap. (“He is not wild,” said Demetrios. “He is perfectly civilized!”) He, holding the baby bunny and I, trying to rein in my tears.

Demetrios, in the veterinarian’s waiting room, introduced himself to every cat and dog, politely inquiring of their owners about their names, ages and breeds.

“Look, look,” he would whisper, when we were seated; and he'd point to a
Beagle puppy and say, “See how he keeps looking at me out of the side of his eyes!”

When the owner of a Bichon brought her a paper cup full of cold water and she wasn’t interested, Demetrios told him, “Maybe if you just hold it still she will come to it. Here, like this…” and taking the paper cup, he tried to persuade the doggie to drink, with no better luck than her owner.

When I took Bun-Bun out to give him a leaf of spinach, Demetrios bade everybody come have a look.

A vet tech made it known that she would gladly offer Bun-Bun a permanent home once he is fully grown. So that broadens my options.

The regular vet wasn’t in today. One of his partners was seeing the patients. A woman. And suddenly, there she was, talking to me exactly the way Barbara used to, except it was all wrong; she was so very short and Barbara, so very tall; and I realized this was the first time since she died I had taken an animal to anyone but my sister and I missed her so fiercely. The doctor went to get Bun-Bun some medicine and I grabbed her Kleenex and my sunglasses. And as soon as humanly possible, I stumbled out of there, sobbing and sobbing.

She says Bun-Bun has some intestinal parasites and should show marked improvement in two or three days.


Anonymous said...

What a day! I hope bun-bun will heal quickly.

My husband is the same way with animals. He once went on a mission trip to Costa Rica and when I developed his roll of photos, I discovered that he had only taken photos of stray dogs.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

That's a scream! What dear husbands we have!

I admire mine SO much, and yet, he keeps me cracked up.

Rosko said...

Any updates on Bun-Bun?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Thanks for asking! Bun-Bun is somehow looking better, although neither of us can quite say why. He or she is at least not wheezing. To achieve that effect is still requiring, in addition to the anti-coccidiosis med, antibiotic. S/he also still needs the Immodium. Still, WITH meds, okay. Looks a bit bigger, we think. Tomorrow I will weigh Bun-Bun to see if we are right. S/he weighed 70 grams on Saturday.
(I begin to suspect Bun-Bun is a she; otherwise, istm, evidence of maleness probably should have emerged by now.)