Friday, February 15, 2008

So how did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

Here’s how I spent Feb 14th, 2008

12amv – 1:45am
Emergency Room of Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital
Libby and Cherry Garcia got into a fight and Libby’s two upper canines were ripped from her gum. The one on the right is pointing horizontally out instead of down. Her upper lip couldn’t even close properly. After a shot of antibiotics, pain relief meds and some blood sample we were sent home.

Dead tired, but had to make sure the dogs are ok sleeping in the same room after a big fight. Libby ended up sleeping on my side of the bed with her E-collar on and Cherry slept at the foot of the bed between Jason and I.

9am – 10am
Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital
Dropped Libby off to get her teeth fixed. Since she had to go under general anesthesia anyway I asked the vet to scale her teeth. She looked so timid and helpless and her upper lip was still pushed up by the uprooted canine I almost bursted into tears in the exam room.

CK Tang, 4th floor
Bought a set of jungle animal figurines as cupcake toppers for a friend’s daughter’s jungle themed cake order.

11am – 4:30pm
Baking cupcakes, chocolate with chocolate butter cream and lemon with lemon butter cream, plus a small cutting cake for above mentioned jungle themed birthday party. I hate rushing things when I make desserts, but I had no choice. I actually wanted to make the cake toppers with fondant, but it was too last minute. Good thing I scouted out the plastic figurines as a backup. I am very glad I had this cake order to take my mind off Libby, otherwise I probably would’ve resort to retail therapy and bought things that I’d regret later.

Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital
Back to pick up Libby. I was hoping her left canine could be saved but she came out with both canines gone. The bill from both visits added up to be about $500, a lot lower than I expected, but I would’ve paid anything if they could’ve fixed her canines instead of pulling them out.

Camp Rd grassy area
Walking/training Cherry Garcia to heel off leash. Jeffrey the dog trainer thinks that if I train Cherry more vigorously with higher expectations, the dogs will stop fighting. At this stage I’m willing to try anything.

After a quiet dinner, I Finished up my royal icing/pretzel stick coconut trees for the cake. The royal icing didn’t have enough time to dry thoroughly so a lot of them cracked. I tried my best to patch them up, hopefully they won’t crack after I put them on the cake.

When we were waiting at Mt. Pleasant Animal Hospital’s ER, I called The Animal Recovery Centre at Greendale Ave and Balestier Rd, to see if the vet there could see us sooner (the wait at Mt. Pleasant was more than an hour). After describing the situation to the technician I was informed that the vet did not think it was important enough for him/her to come in and see Libby, even though I was willing to pay the $260 night call rate. I told the technician again that Libby’s teeth were completely ripped out and that she was in pain, but the vet still didn’t think it was a big deal. In fact, they didn’t even think it was serious enough to book me the first appointment the next day. They wanted me to go in at 2pm! They also mentioned getting an ultrasound before determining what to do. This is the point where I hung up and decided to never go to the Animal Recovery Center again.

I had one bad experience with them when I took Cherry Garcia in for a very severe case of diarrhea. Libby had something similar in Tokyo. The vet there took a stool sample, determined the bacteria that was causing it and prescribed the right medicine. She was better the next day. At the Animal Recovery Center, they didn’t want to do any test but instead gave her a broad-spectrum antibiotics, which didn’t cover anaerobic bacteria because from experience, even I know the diarrhea was probably caused by something in some garbage that Cherry ate, which is perfect breeding ground for anaerobes (see, I haven’t completely forgotten my training in clinical pharmacy). They also gave her some vitamin shots, which were expensive and completely unnecessary. The bill came up to almost $300 and Cherry continued to have diarrhea for the next week. Needless to say, I was not impressed, and the only reason I called them that night was because I was willing to do anything to relieve Libby’s pain faster. I was prepared to pay through the nose but I never expected the vet to be so cold-hearted and uncaring. If his child had some teeth knocked out I would like to see his reaction if his dentist told him to wait for more than 14 hours for treatment. I know we couldn’t perform the surgery that night, but at least we could give her some pain relief and antibiotics. Hasn’t he ever heard of endocarditis? I just think that someone who has so little compassion has no business being a vet.

On a more positive note, the friend whose daughter is having the jungle themed birthday party runs a medical foster home called Blue Sky Healing Homes in Beijing. She temporarily houses and provides medical care to orphans who go to Beijing for medical treatments. Often times she ends up being the one to raise money or finds doctors to treat the kids. It’s a great cause and she does it with her own money plus generous donations from people like you and me. So instead of giving each other presents this Valentine’s day, we are donating to her organization. Take a look at her website and I hope the stories will inspire you too.


Amrita said...

Sorry to hear about Libby :o(

thalia said...

omg, that is so sad! i feel really bad for Libby for losing her canines and being in so much pain :( i didn't think that their fight could be *that* violent. i hope she's feeling better and somehow Libby and Cherry would get along better.

Mad Baker said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Libby. It must be heart-breaking for you to see her suffer so. I hope she recovers real soon!

Your cupcakes turned out great, despite the stressful situation!

Austin S. said...

OMG!!! A dog without their canines is like a cat without their claws!!

Lynn said...

Amrita, thanks!

Thalia, yeah they could get quite bad sometimes, however this is the first time that one of them is injured. Most of the time it's just barking.

Karen, it is really hard on me. Libby's been with us for almost ten years so I hate to see her stressed like this, but Cherry has also become a member of our family and she's come a long way with her training too, so the thought of having to give her up also breaks my heart.

Austin, I know. We'll have to see how she copes. Good news is all her remaining teeth are bright and clean now =o)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn, I'm sorry to hear about Libby. Losing a tooth is VERY painful for dogs.

Hope you don't mind me saying but you have two female dogs and there'll definitely be a lot of conflicts. All the female dogs I know are possessive and territorial when they get past 1 year old, just don't like to share.

Angie of Puppylove had helped me in the past with my dogs' behavioural issues. She is of the positive reinforcement school (refrain from saying "no, bad" etc), and has great emphathy for dogs and may be able to help. She can work with your dogs at home too, that's what she did with my Mimi and Rufus.

Her contact details are:
Angie Tan
Tel: 96890427

Suzy said...

Poor Libby! And what a stressful day for you. I hope things settle down soon, and that Libby has a speedy recovery.


Christine said...

Awww, it must be so painful and emotional for you to see your 2 kids fighting with each other and hurting each other! Hopefully the training will help and things will get better!

And I agree with the others, despite everything that happened, the cupcakes still turned out gorgeous!!


carchan said...

sorry to hear that about Libby?
Do they have a way to give her fake teeth for the two canine teeth? I'm surprised Libby's surgery was only 500 dollars. In America it would cost a lot more. I loved your cupcakes they were really cute. Thats really sad about the children in the orphanage can't get decent medical attention. Its sad that your dogs had to suffer pain but especially for a small child. The government should do more to help the children. If the people of China knew that these children had to suffer or be in pain because the government was to cheap I'm sure they would be as infuriated as I am. I don't think people would be angry to know that there tax money was being spent wisely

Anonymous said...

Yup the animal recovery centre is truly terrible. There is one attached to the Pet Safari in Simei. They are incredibly heartless and would not serve you even if there is an emergency if you did not first call to make an appointment. Recently I made an appointment to get my dog's certificate for the microchip and they kept on canceling my appointment. After they did that 3 times, I gave up and found another clinic. I will never never use them again.

Lynn said...

Suzy, Libby has made a full recovery and doesn't seem to be in pain any more, but we're still feeding her soft food so her gum can heal faster.

Christine, haha, yes, at least I have the cupcakes =o)

carchan, as far as I know, my friend's healing home is the only such facility in Beijing. She said there are a few other similar charities, all ran by expats! It seems neither the government nor the people care about the orphans.

Sam, I know I'm definitely never going there again. People who care so little about animals can't be good vets.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lynn, I am so sorry that sweet Libby is having to deal with this and that Cherry is being a trial! That fear is one reason why my Tucker is an "only child", I fear the dynamic of another dog would change the personality we love. If you haven't already, I suggest you start doing research about multiple dog households and how to manage the peace. Here is one link I found
I googled "multiple dog households alpha" and got some useful pages.

S said...

Dear Lynn,

Oh my! How is Libby doing now?


Lynn said...

Oh she's ok now and doesn't seem to be affected by her two missing teeth. I've been using Kumi's trainer so he's helping me with different ways to train them to get along. It takes constant vigilance to avoid situations where they are likely to get into a fight. What makes it difficult is that they are so unpredictable. Yesterday I caught Libby inviting Cherry to play, but this morning she curled up her lips during breakfast when Cherry got too close. Luckily I caught it fast so nothing happened.