Monday, January 19, 2009

Chew on this ...

What do you do if your dog gets into your glassmaking supplies?

I'm currently dog-sitting for my ex-neighbor's two dogs, both of whom get along really well with Mr. Justin Wigglebutt, my rescue whatsit. Justin sleeps in his (open) crate in the study, because I can trust him not to chew the books on the lower bookcase shelves. Milo and Diamond sleep in the kitchen; although that's where my workbench is, neither dog has ever shown any sign of pulling things off the table. Until night before last, when Milo decided to take a taste of my workbench. I woke up to find Val Cox' Frit Secrets in a pile of gleefully ripped pages, along with parts of Passing the Flame and two half-packages of silver and gold leaf. Most alarmingly, there were chewed plastic bottles of frit, ripped sacks of shards, and loose shards and frit strewn all through the debris.

First of all, don't panic, but assess the situation as calmly as you can. Remember that most glass shatters at an angle that is more likely to pass safely through the intestine than ground glass or thin pieces, like shards. The larger the frit is the safer you are. After my first flush of sheer panic, I looked carefully at Milo; Diamond does not have a history of ripping things up, but Milo does. No blood on his gums, no glass or frit in the pads of his paws. I looked for the icky stuff--there was no diarrhea or bloody stool, and no blood around his anus. Given that what looked like all the frit was on the floor or still caught in the container, I was most worried about his involuntarily swallowing a piece or two, not a whole lot.

My second step was to call the emergency vet for advice, while pulling out some bread slices. Why bread? Bread is an old home remedy for any animal that's swallowed something sharp, such as bone fragments. It can coat the bone and help it pass safely through the intestine. The emergency vet confirmed that, and also said that unless the glass had lead in it, it would not show up on an x-ray. I did a fast Internet search and found the answers inconclusive. The vet didn't think there would be enough in Milo's system, so she told me to do the things I had already done--feed him bread (the other two were happy, because what you give to one ... ), and watch his behavior and his stools, and bring him in if he began to show blood, to vomit, or just to become lethargic.

Milo was wrestling with Justin, and clearly hadn't a care in the world. *I* was a nervous wreck. On my way to visit Art of the Firebird to pick up her unwanted dog crate (I could have put Milo in Justin's crate, but he does like to den in it, and AoF wants to get rid of the crate ASAP anyway) I called Milo's human to see if he wanted me to take any additional action, and to give him a heads-up about the situation. He said no, no emergency X-Ray in case; he agreed with me that it was unlikely that Milo had really *eaten* any of the glass, let alone enough of the glass to possibly show on an X-ray *if* there was lead in it.

Last night Milo slept, most reluctantly, in his new "box," which will be his permanent bedroom whenever he comes to stay with me. Diamond usually dens with him, but this time she stayed in the kitchen, and Justin slept in his blanket-covered crate. As you can see from the pictures, taken this afternoon, Milo is happy, healthy, and active (he's the littlest one; Diamond is the middle-sized Pit bull, and Justin is the largest Lab/Spitz). His only ocmplaint is that he had to sleep in a crate, rather than rrrrripping into things, eating more frit, and getting more bread.

But if you work with glass, and have dogs, I offer you both this cautionary tale and this medical method.


Art of the Firebird said...

You KNOW this is going in Best of the Week to help spread the word.

Is Val's book salvageable?

Four Tails Lampwork said...

Oh, it was salvageable; he just got the corners and ripped off both covers. Jody insisted on getting me a new one (so I didn;'t even mention Passing the Flame, which had more extensive damage, but I rarely pull it out!). Signed, I might add :) If anyone wants a copy of Frit Secrets--legitimately paid for--without a cover and a bit dog-eared, let me know.

artsdesireglass said...

Wow - scary moment but good tip about the bread! You learn something new every day.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how animals can be our inspiration AND destroy our creations in about 2 seconds flat? And we still love them all the same!

lawatha said...

Scary! Goofy dogs. I caught my cairn terrier chewing on a glass tree ornament over Christmas. It was shattered in pieces, so I don't know how much he ate, but I observed him and observed him some more... never saw any ill effects so I suppose he's going to be ok. That is excellent advice about the bread, I'll have to store that away for future reference.

Thanks for sharing!