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  • Stone cold half baked dog

    Posted on January 6th, 2010 Sheila Yair 35 comments

    pitFriday, 6:30pm, Rosh Pina

    It is the evening of the day, Friday in Israel has a special feeling to it. Everything seems to embrace a certain calm, businesses are closed, the streets seem sleepy with only few pedestrians treading their weary surface, families conjugate in their houses, people reading the weekend newspapers on their porches and smells of intricately prepared meals abound the air which also seems to take its rest. Time itself seems to pause for a break. The hectic week has come to an end, the general pace has slowed down dramatically and all seems peaceful (a very rare notion in the Middle East). I just got back from visiting our neighbor who gave birth to twins last week. She is overwhelmed and seems a little lost amongst the two fragile creatures. Although she must weight more than ten times their combined weight and be at least 5 times their height they definitely have the upper hand. They are in absolute control, sending her to and fro and seem to be wearing her out easily with their two hour cycle of eating, sleeping and filling their dippers. I leave her with a home baked loaf of bread and some words of encouragement. Sheila and I will come to help periodically.

    As I enter the house two out of three dogs come to greet me. It is half greet half investigation whether there are any possibilities of treats being given. After a quick hello and affirming there is no scent of anything appetizing on me they run back to my mom’s room to jump on her bed. I fallow them. My sister Sarah is here for the weekend and sitting with my mom. There I discover that the third dog, Pita, is not feeling well. He didn’t get up for his dinner and is shivering constantly. Now the three of them are small dogs and small dogs get hungry fast. Usually two hours before their dinner they are already hovering around their dishes implying that they are fully ready to be served. When they finally hear somebody open the dog-food bag there is jumping and yapping galore. So if Pita, instead of jumping up and down, didn’t get up for his dinner that is a bad sign. He is shivering and seems to be out of it. His reactions are slow and his eyes convey a pathetic expression. Now Pita is a manipulator, he is a small dog and his main weapon is pity, he will lie low giving you a sad look with his big round eyes. His cuteness like a snake bite paralyzes you, forcing you to give him a pat, a treat or some special attention. But I have never seen him quite like this. He is 100% heartbreak with none of his usual conniving mischief. His eyes read total helplessness and fear. My mom and Sarah say he has been very quiet the whole afternoon but he didn’t really seem to sick up till now. We give him a piece of cheese which he gobbles up, that’s a good sign. But when we stand him up he can barely walk. He has difficulty controlling his little limbs, which is usually the first sign of poisoning. Many poisons used on dogs attack their nerve system. He is starting to close his eyes and not respond to his name. We wrap him up in a blanket and jump in the car. My dad calls the vet. It is Friday night and people are extremely hard to reach as this is the one night the whole family gets together for their family Shabbat dinner. He leaves a message. We are all nervous scanning for veterinarian numbers. The vet’s wife calls back, she puts her husband on the line. We describe the situation and he tells us to meet him in his clinic in 10 minutes. Pita is looking more miserable by the minute. We weigh him, he is 5 and a half kilos. He is very scared and seems totally out of it now, he just looks up at us looking for some explanation to his condition. His heart is pounding fast and his pupils don’t react to the light the vet is flashing at him. He says it doesn’t seem like a poisoning, but the eyes not responding are a definite indication something is very wrong. He gives him something to make him vomit. Pita screams when the needle enters his body. He is very sensitive to people touching him and I can only imagine this is even truer for a syringe. I hold him tight and try to comfort him. I speak in English as I can’t quite bark the words of relief, hoping he will at least understand the tone. He is sliding on the table and can’t even stand up. I have to pick him up when he starts to vomit. Out comes the cheese, I promise him more of that if he pulls through. He vomits a few more times but nothing comes out. There are only two black grains the size of sand. The vet says that might be a very dangerous poison and if there are only two grains left it has all been absorbed in his body. We try to recreate his day, thinking of all the places his been to. The vet asks questions as he flips through a poison reference book. I keep talking to Pita to keep him conscious. My hope is directly connected and synchronized with his eye lids. When they start closing my hope starts fading, when they open it is back. I realize how much I love these 5 and a half kilos. He gets a few more shots each one causing him great pain. The vet also attaches an infusion to get some liquids in along with vitamins and amino acid. Pita’s eyes are so dim and full of fear and pain I find it hard to stand up myself. I look into his non-responsive eyes and beg him to survive. I keep talking to him. At one point my sister and I call him together and he gives us back a weak tail wag. It might have been the smallest tail wag in dog history but it was so sincere. We are both on the verge of crying. I promise him meat, cheeses and breads, only get up and bounce around again. The vet says there is not much more he can do. He gave him the maximum dosages and now we can only wait. He says Pita is in critical condition and if he makes it through the night we can inject some more medicine in him tomorrow. He is very cautious with his words and tells us the situation doesn’t look good. We take him back home. We prepare a basket with a sleeping bag and pillows and situate him by the heater. He lays there motionless but his eyes are open. We are all looking at him patting him trying to comfort him. The other two dogs don’t pay much attention to him, they seem more interested in the food that is being eaten. After dinner we give some scraps to the other two dogs and out of the basket Pita comes out. Like the sphinx he raises again. He barely walks and maneuvers himself as if he was drunk, but he is more dog than pillow and we are all so happy. He walks around a bit and we put him back in his little nest. His face and eyes are looking a lot better, he is more receptive and his tongue is red again instead of the lifeless blue it was. We are all grateful but we keep in mind it is still a critical night and he has to pull through it. We give him some water to wet his mouth and tuck him to bed. He makes it through the night and wakes up 95% Pita. A little fuzzy but the cute little dog he always was. I immediately give him some nice pieces of chicken and cheese, a promise is a promise and I have wished for this moment, being able to feed him again.

    But let’s go back a little…

    Friday, 2:00pm, Rosh Pina

    It has been a long day at the bakery and we got home a little late. Fridays are always crazy at the bakery but usually around 10:30 we are done. We get home only around noon today. We have some good bread to compensate for the longer day. If our breads come out good nothing else matters, we take everything else in stride. If the yeast rose and the crust baked to a golden brown nothing can bring us down. We measure our days at the bakery only by the loaves we pull out of the ovens. A direct correlation between our mood and the bread. Two steaming crispy loafs of rye bread with caraway seeds make us very cheerful. After we slice one piece and eat it down with a little butter and a lot of pleasure Sheila starts baking her special cookies. We make my mom marijuana cookies to ease her nausea and give her some appetite. It seems to work better than the smoking. We simmer the pot in butter and water and then let it stay in the fridge overnight to separate from the water. We then use the butter, which by this time is dark green, in the cookies. I strain the butter out and give it to Sheila. She bakes the cookies and we get ready to leave to see my neighbor. She has just given birth to twins and seems overwhelmed. We take a loaf of bread for her. It is a sunny day and the dogs are napping outside on the deck. I throw the very green pot water on the flower pots. Pita gets up from his sunbathing poison to check what I am doing. I figure none of the dogs will mess with the leftover liquid and it can’t hurt the plant, what’s the worst thing that can happen, the plant will get high? That’s exactly what we want plants to do. We head off as the evening is setting upon us and everything slows down here on Friday evenings…