How to save a life.

No matter how hard I’ve tried to dissuade him, Melvin loves to eat acorns. Oddly enough, acorns never seem to leave his body in a reasonable timeframe. I have told the vet on several occasions that I think Melvin has a secret hiding spot deep within his stomach. Every six weeks or so he will throw-up sludge (the perfect mix of acorns and grass). I am quite certain this sludge comes from that oh-so-secret spot inside his belly. This is one of my least favorite of Melvin’s quirks.

One early morning a year or so ago, I was awoken to a horrible sound coming from Melvin. It was a violent gagging noise and when I turned on the lights I saw his body flailing around. He was clearly unable to breathe. There was nothing instinctual about my actions, I flew blindly into the moment. I reached inside his mouth, down his throat and pulled on whatever it was I was feeling, for all I knew at that moment I could have been tugging on a vital organ. I pulled out a huge clump of sludge (and he subsequently threw the rest of it up). My heart was pounding, I had no clue what had happened and Melvin was laying there rather listless. We rushed to the vet.

Melvin had choked. In the process he aspirated some sludge into one of his lung lobes and was under observation to figure out if the lobe would need to be removed (apparently dogs have 4 or 5 lung lobes so it was not so much of an issue but at first I did have visions of him dragging an oxygen tank around). They were also concerned about how long he may have been without oxygen. The biggest issue there would be an effect on his short-term memory ability but since short-term memory was never his strong suit, I was not too worried. In the end it all turned out fine.

A great part about our new home is that we no longer live the in the land of 30-year old oak trees. I have not seen one acorn (or squirrel for that matter) in the two months we’ve been here, thus zero sludge!

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