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September 29th, 2007

It’s been a busy week. We went up north to visit family last weekend, leaving the cats to tend to the house, and crating the dog up and hauling him along.

Kai is a happy traveler, even if it means spending most of the weekend in his box. And he is willing to serve as my alibi, when I need a break from the loving bosom of the family.

“Got to walk the dog.”

Off we go for a short hike around the neighboring ball diamond, and I have a few minutes of peace. Without Kai, I’d probably be walking an empty leash.

But Monday morning, as we were recovering from the trip, I looked at the dog. And he looked back at me with an expression that was more than usually cock-eyed. The eyes were still slightly crossed, but one ear was jutting out at a right angle, making him look totally deranged. I reached over to straighten it out, and felt a lump the size of a ping-pong ball.

$400 later, he is on the road back to normal.

It seems, he shook his head so hard he separated the cartilage in his ear and got a hematoma. This required surgery to drain the lump, multiple stitches on the ear to encourage the layers to fuse together, and a temporary drain in the end, to prevent anything from accumulating.

We got the diagnosis on Monday, and on Tuesday I hauled him back to the vet for the procedure.

The cats noticed the absence of dog immediately, and sprawled out on the dining room floor, divvying up the empty territory, ‘now that there were only two pets.’

They were sorely disappointed to see him come back later that afternoon.

He was happy to be back from the vet, but nowhere near his usual cheerful self. They’d shaved him down, put 14 stitches in his ear, and warned me that the dog would be leaking a bit, because of the drain, and not to let him on the furniture.

Terrific.

To top it off, they had given him a plastic cone collar, to keep him from scratching out the stitches. We have experience with the cone collar , from when Kai had knee surgery, a couple of years ago. To put it politely, the cone does not emphasize his natural grace.

My husband looked down at the label on the back of the collar. “It says ‘Buster’.”

Kaiju: “I will not answer to my slave name.”

Me: “He looks pretty good, all things considered.”

Kaiju: “They shaved my head and quilted my ear. And you think I look good? What drugs are you taking, and can I have some too?”

#2 Son: Here Kaiju. Want to play with a bottle. (Tossing Kai’s favorite toy, an empty plastic water bottle.)

Kaiju: (Catches the bottle with a play growl, only to have it slip out of his mouth, roll down the natural ramp formed by the cone, and end up half way across the room). “Why do you hate me?”

I get the poor doggy a treat: his daily dose of 10 fish oil capsules. And I see the cone and forget to aim for the mouth, lobbing the stuff in the general direction of his head and not for the center.

(I totally suck at midway games that involve ring or ball toss. The only time I can remember winning was when the carney running the ping-pong ball toss took pity on me and gave me a free goldfish, probably to make me go away. ‘Tell ’em where ya got it, kid.’)

I send several capsules of fish oil bouncing off the dogs nose and into the back of the cone where he can’t reach them, and then he shakes his head and runs into a wall.

And so it goes. He’ll cheer up eventually, when he remembers how to use the cone as a scoop to catch cats.