The Great Puppy Scare of 2012

I had lunch at my in-laws yesterday and one of the post-meal rituals is the passing of the puppy. Bella’s a bit of a food moocher. She loves to sit on the laps of the recently finished and stare at the leftovers on their plates. She was sitting with me but wanted to be on Cristian’s lap so she hopped over while he wasn’t looking, slipped, and started to fall. I grabbed her and put her back on my lap but then she started acting… weird.

Bella has an expressive little face and when she’s afraid, there’s some serious eye-bugging and shaking going on. Between that and the odd way she raised her front paws, we were alerted to the fact that Something Was Wrong. My first instinct was to put her down 1) so I didn’t hurt her more and 2) so we could see exactly what she was trying to do so we could determine what was wrong. Was she going to vomit, was she having a seizure, did she hurt a leg? Instead, someone else picked her up and moved her around. Which made her more freaked out.

But I got her back and I put her down in her bed and let her wiggle around a little. She tried to get up and walk but couldn’t. She was all… unbalanced and using her legs wrong and it was just… bad and scary. Cristian called the animal hospital and asked what the deal was with Sunday visits while his mother… brought her chicken. (My in-laws are Italian, by the way. Food fixes everything.)

Meanwhile, I just let her sit (which she did oddly, jutting her left front leg out at a weird kinda twisty angle) and I patted her head to help her calm down. When she started breathing normally again, I backed off and we bribed her with chicken to see if she’d get up. Very slowly, and obviously testing out her leg, she did… and then she moved a little faster… and then she gobbled down that chicken, boy howdy. We continued to watch her first walk then RUN around the kitchen, hopping over the table legs scrounging for lunch scraps and chasing the toys we threw around the room. Once she started jumping up my mother-in-law’s leg to beg for food (bad girl!) we figured she was ok.

I tried to explain that animals are actually pretty good at sorting themselves out when they have minor injuries and sometimes you just have to back off and let them do it. Bella’s joints pop out of place sometimes. We already know this. I’m thinkin’ when she tried to jump and failed, she popped a joint and needed to sit all twisty-legged to get it back. Which she did. And as of last night, she was still walking just fine and acting like her usual cheerful, peppy self.

The lesson here, I think, is that people should listen to me because sometimes I know what I’m talking about. But I’m also scared of vets because in my experience they are evil and their response to a hurt puppy leg would be antibiotics and eye surgery. So, on second thought, don’t listen to me at all.