July 18, 2014
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the clubfooted wonder, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been leading a medically exciting life. For those of you not following the highly fascinating Saga of My Toe, I had a benign growth on one of my rear toes that periodically grew, bled, became infected, etc. causing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth no end of anxiety and vet visits. The hope was to treat it via drugs, compresses and ointments to avoid surgery. This was fine with me since I became quite fond of the thing as it enabled me to extort belly rubs in return for not licking it. Indeed, whenever I felt in need of a belly rub, all I had to do was to park myself conspicuously (although given my size, the conspicuousness probably goes without saying) in front of one of my humans, lick it and wait for the “Wimsey stop licking your toe” command and then roll over and wait for my reward.
Anyway, whilst Elizabeth was away disporting herself shamelessly in Tuscany, the toe thing decided to undergo a major and bloody growth spurt. This led to my visit last Thursday to the orthopedic surgeon at Blue Pearl who usually sees me for phantom ailments that mysteriously vanish when he examines me. But there are no flies growing on him and he didn’t get to be a specialist orthopedic surgeon for nothing, so the minute he clapped eyes on me he helpfully observed “Aha, I see that this time there really is something the matter with Wimsey.” Fortunately, the thing was just confined to the top layer of skin so the next morning I was unceremoniously hauled back down to the hospital for its surgical excision. But not before Elizabeth gave the vet her speech about how bloodhounds, despite their robust appearance, have metabolisms that are akin to the delicate ones of greyhounds and that we are actually quite easy to kill with a surfeit of anesthesia. She also expounded upon how I am a particularly poor metabolizer of drugs that are cleared through the liver and that a slow titration of anesthesia drugs is crucial. I am sure that she was dying to give him a lecture on the biochemistry of the cytochromes, but somehow she forbore. Elizabeth is very popular among veterinarians because they always appreciate her helpful suggestions that they try not to kill me.
But fortunately, I am not disposed of so easily, and before I knew it I woke up with a giant bandage covering half my leg, which, to me seemed a tad excessive. The surgery went very well and the vet commented how the skin on my toe fell right back in place with no tension, so the healing should be quick. My humans were very happy to hear that all my excess skin for once served a purpose other than mulching the carpet, depositing sharp pieces of kibble under the bedclothes, secreting unwanted medication, serving as a reservoir for drool and growing copious crops of yeast.
And as usual, there was a plan afoot (every pun intended) to cut my nails whilst I was too incapacitated to resist. And as with all other such plots, someone forgot (probably because they were too absorbed in the slow titration of the anesthesia). So the first thing my humans noticed was that 1) I was alive and the second thing they noticed was 2) I was still in possession of my magnificent talons. I have always believed that my nails are under the protection of The Universe since even the most foolproof plans to cut them resulted in failure. Nails 10, Humans 0. If there were a World Cup of nails, mine would be the champions.
But on the subject of nails, I now have a clubfoot (or hoof, depending on which human you ask) instead of my usual taloned appendage, which makes having a scratch something of a challenge. The first time I tried, I kind of looked at the thing with that “what the hell is this?” look so well known to my humans. I also find that climbing up on beds and furniture and such with a slippery bandage rather than with grippy claws is a bit difficult but this is more than made up for by the alacrity with which my humans jump to my assistance. I do regret, though, that it is not on my front foot because it would make an excellent thwacking enhancement. Bigger, better, and larger bruises!
Anyway, my surgery was scheduled early in the morning last Friday so I could go home by early evening the same day. After having Pet Chauffeur take me home, the plan was for me to sleep off the rigors of the day and for the ladies to drink Italian cocktails in the backyard and to order in a vast amount of caloric take out food to celebrate my successful toe surgery. However, like most of the plans that my humans make that involve me, it did not work out. But first, they had to figure out how to get the liquid buprenorphine pain killer down my gullet. In the end, Elizabeth mixed it with organic vanilla yogurt and spoon-fed it to me the way she does when I demand to share her pre-walk snack yogurt. The stuff didn’t taste great, but as I have said many times, what I am being fed is less important than the fact that I am being served it by my humans. (The next day, Maria decided to try squirting the stuff down my throat and to say that this was not happening was an understatement).
So you can see that my humans had every expectation that after a busy day under the knife and then yogurted with pain meds, I would drift off peacefully to sleep while they ate and drank unimpeded. But as usual, they underestimated The Power of the Hound. (Although I will say that in my drugged stupor I might actually have lain down on the kuranda bed; not to worry, it hasn’t happened again since I’ve been off the drugs). So imagine their surprise when the cocktails and nuts appeared and so did I! I assumed my usual position with my dripping muzzle over Elizabeth’s lap and demanded my share of the mixed nuts at cocktail time and food during dinnertime. And lest you think it hasn’t been tried, if Elizabeth moves her lap, I move my dripping muzzle. This forces her to return home looking like she has had an unfortunate accident of the lavatorial kind. I also demanded to be fed pita bread dipped in humus. My humans weren’t sure that hummus was good for me but acceded to my demands for it anyway under the theory that if I survived the anesthesia I would survive the hummus. It is one of the many benefits of being basically gigantic that it takes a lot of anything to do me harm.
I was not very interested in walking the first four days after surgery and my humans couldn’t decide whether it was the hoof or the painkillers. However, when I charged out of the apartment baying loudly the day after my last dose of painkillers, they had their answer. Maria is relieved that she doesn’t have to pretend to eat the drugged yogurt anymore. I will get the stiches out on Monday and until then I am enjoying all the sympathy the giant bandage elicits—at least from people other than my humans. I managed to get the bandage wet once this week (saran wrap and plastic bags being no match for a Hound), and had the toe rebandaged at my regular vet’s. The Hoof II is just as big as Hoof I and I really think a bandage that goes half way up my leg is a bit much for a small incision on my toe--but then again I get a lot of sympathy.
Well if there was ever any doubt that I am a talented fellow, I think that writing 1300 words about my toe should put those doubts to rest. Of course you’ve just read 1300 words about my toe….
In non-toe related news: you’ve heard me relate many times that my humans consider me to be pretty horrible—probably it’s all those “Wretched animal!” and “I hate him!” texts that fly between them on a regular basis. And here is one small example from yesterday as to why:
2pm: I seem to be very gassy. Oh well, I’ll just take a nap so I don’t have to smell it.
4:45pm: Elizabeth seems desperate for a 15-minute catnap on the couch.
4:46: I now have an urgent need to arise from my afternoon nap and engage in a noisy and prolonged drink of water.
4:48: Why is Elizabeth lying on the couch under a fluffy blanket? Is she OK? I’ll go check.
4:49: Poked Elizabeth then noticed that my muzzle was dripping so wiped it on the fluffy blanket. Waved my tail at her to indicate that I would like a scratch.
4:50: Elizabeth declined to provide scratch so I have to sit down and have a noisy, grunting scratching session by myself.
5:00: Scratching complete. Elizabeth still on the couch. Is she OK? I’ll check.
5:01: I am bored. Think I’ll lie down next to the couch and chew my bully stick.
5:10: Bully sticks always make me thirsty. Time for a drink.
5:11 My muzzle is wet. Fortunately there is that fluffy blanket that Elizabeth is under on the couch.
5:12 Elizabeth up. She seems annoyed about something. I know, let’s go for a walk! Perhaps it will help the gas problem I’ve had the entire afternoon.
5:13: Elizabeth getting ready for our walk. Think I’ll eat a bowl of kibble.
5:15: Apparently I can’t go for a walk after eating kibble. Just because I’ve never been walked after eating a bowl of kibble doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. So I’ll just keep asking to go for a walk anyway. You never know, right?
6:14: Elizabeth getting ready for the walk again. Time to demand my share of the pre-walk yogurt.
6:16: We’re out! Think I’ll sit in this nice field and watch the dogs play in the dog run and that nice lady feed the squirrels. Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? Hmmm. Can’t remember. Anyway, it couldn’t have been that important.
6:17: Elizabeth texting. Again.
My humans are so easily annoyed, it’s hardly even a challenge! But they are now both working hard on getting my art book ready to be published on Amazon, so when they are done dealing with me in the flesh (or more accurately the fur), they have to deal with me in pictures. I am desperately eager for these books to be published (they will come out in four volumes) since the more of me the merrier. Or the more annoying. Your choice.
Until next time,
PS: Did I mention I was undergoing mid-summer shedding?