Night of the Living Dead.

Those of you who have dogs as family members may resonate with this tale: We’d taken Sprocket for a leashed walk on Myrtle beach, carefully pulling him away from the dead gull and the almost dead jelly. In our beach chairs, he’d sat on our laps like a sailor riding the bowsprit, sniffing the wind and watching the low-flying squadrons of brown pelicans. I gave him a couple of his Evo treats when we ate our rice chips, gave him a sip of water occasionally. Nothing inappropriate. So we were concerned, after his normal dinner when he was sick. Lost everything. Shaking, on wobbly legs, eyes looking stricken. Then he was sick again and lost another everything I didn’t know he had, and so on, a couple more times. Yech!

This little white dog can take on the look of an about-to-be-clubbed baby harp seal: liquid black eyes, shiny black nose, a perfect triangle of innocence and vulnerability, with a soupçon of abject apology thrown in. Sigh. He’s only 12 lbs, so dehydration was a scary prospect. He was still thirsty; we thought that was a break, until his sickness extended to that as well. He’d sink down into his bed, spasm/shiver, then shift position, in obvious discomfort, then extend his head out over the bed and another bucket brigade would follow. We’d just bought a 6-pack of Bounty towels, wondering where we’d put all the extra rolls in the truck; what irony! In a house, a sick dog is bad enough. In an Airstream of limited floor space, this was catastrophe, and as the floor wasn’t dead level, a dynamic catastrophe.

Our ‘First Aid for Dogs’ book on board was useless, telling us only how to induce vomiting. We’d obviously mastered that part. Fortunately, the internet gave some sensible advice: give dog ice to rehydrate, as it can’t be gulped like water. Right. Although most of the Airstream flooring is vinyl, two small rugs, one dog bed, and the middle of our own, highly absorbent plush bed spread took serious hits from the resulting small lickings of water. The spread’s afflicted area was hand-washed thoroughly and draped over the chair by the furnace floor register and the small, pull-out step to our bed was withdrawn. He’d never been denied bed access before but the small mess I stepped in, getting out of bed at one point, confirmed the wisdom of that decision.

Every half-hour or so I got up, checked for new catastrophes, wet my fingers for him to lick, then staggered back to bed and listened to Pandora Spa Radio, in lieu of sleep. To be fair, Bruce had offered to do some shifts, but he was sleeping well and I was not, so it just didn’t seem efficient to wake him when I’d already heard the next alarming sounds. (it’s a mother thing)

This routine continued through the night. In the groggy morning, we got some unflavored Pedialyte, mixed 50/50 with distilled water, and gave him small doses until his thirst was quenched. At dinner time, after no more sickness, he got a small offering of sweet potato, rice and a tiny bit of hamburger, cooked into a bland, comforting mush. He loved it! He’ll get small amounts 3 times a day. We even let him up on the restored bedspread, where he planted himself firmly for the whole night. Normally he comes and goes, but wasn’t taking any chances on eviction again, I guess.

Now, he’s recuperating, likes his new bland diet with no further problems, and will soon be back to normal. We, on the other hand are dragging, as we’d barely recuperated from our D.C. marathon when this night of the living dead set us back. (Oh, the many all-nighters of youth!)

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