Sunday, January 25, 2009

Travel Sickness

After a bit of a drastic hiatus from writing—everything, not just this blog—I feel as though I’ve finally gotten my life together enough that I can once again start on a writing schedule I can actually stick to. Plus, it’ll give me added reason to get out in my new city and explore, which is entirely the point anyway.

I’ve been in Seattle for almost a month now, and I’d like to think that given my limitations (it's winter, people!), I’ve been pretty good about getting out with Ennis. Sure, walks could certainly be longer, and maybe I should be working on his training more thoroughly (he’s so close to playing dead!), but the guy is taken care of. He is, really. But distractions happen, and that’s life.

Traveling did not suit Ennis well. He is used to long car rides, having gone back and forth from Livermore to Santa Barbara, then to Malibu, and from the Bay Area to Arcata several times—the kid is familiar with the car. But at the same time he never has been quite comfortable in the passenger’s seat, unless he’s sitting on someone’s lap (preferably mine, but any ol’ comfy lap will do). He’ll sit there with his mouth agape, shaking ever-so-slightly, looking tired but refusing to lie down. As a result, his head will just hang slack. He also gets car sick, which is worrisome if you are the only one in the car. I’ve become strangely adept at sensing his oncoming hurls and catching it with something in the nick of time.

But Livermore to Seattle was different. The car ride was sensational. He was quiet and slept like a baby most of the time. He was curious, his head poking out the window when I would open it, but most just watching Kait as she drove. Yes, it was actually quite lovely. Little did I know that trouble was brewing inside my little one’s stomach.

Because he is nervous in the car, Ennis refuses to eat or drink. This is fine, normally, but apparently not when it’s a 12-hour car ride. Also, it probably didn’t help that I changed his food upon arriving in Seattle. What resulted was about a week and a half of chronic diarrhea, which happened without much warning at all.

And so began my exploration of the neighborhood with my pup, as he squirted his way along the streets of First Hill.

Those first days could have been worse, I guess. Sure, it was rainy and wet—even snowy!—and it takes a good 2.5 minutes to put all of my necessary pieces of clothing on in order to take my whining, pooping pup outside to do his business. But at least I wasn't employed! Therefore I could dedicate 100% of my time to making sure Ennis got better—good for him, but mentally draining and unsettling for me. Did I not just spend the last six months doing nothing but looking after this dog? Now he has to go and get the shits on me? Fantastic. What a jerk.

But he came out of it alright, thanks to my savvy internet searches on home-based cures for diarrhea, 'cause like hell I was gonna go find a vet and pay to get the little bugger fixed. Within two days, he was good as new.

Do-It-Yourself Doggie Diarrhea Remedy

First, cut off food (not water) for an entire day. Nothing goes in.

Then (if your pup is small, like mine) follow these instructions. Increase proportionally if your dog is bigger.

- 1/3 cup cooked chicken (try Kirkland brand, canned chicken)
- 1/4 cup cottage cheese
- 1/4 brown rice
- LOTS of water (separate bowl, obviously)

The key is nutrition. Don't worry so much about getting your dog to have solid poops. If he has diarrhea, it's probably because of a lack of water or something unsettling the pup ate. All of the above food is fully digestible, so your dog may not be pooping much at all as a result.

After two days, minimize the amount of fancy food slightly, and add a bit of your dog's kibble. Continue this for a couple days.

This cleared Ennis' diarrhea completely. If it doesn't for your dog, seek a vet's opinion. It's worth doling out the money if it means keeping your dog's runny poops off of your roommate's bed sheets.

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