About a week after meeting Lynn’s first potential adopters, I woke up to a surprise. Nope, not a snow day or even a fresh dusting of the stuff. Heck, I don’t even like snow and two feet of it would have been preferable to what I saw when I went to get Lynn to start our day.
Lynn had gotten a bad case of diarrhea overnight. Bad, you guys. There was liquefied poop all over her crate and all over her. She had so much of it in the long fur of her tail and she was so happy to see me that she flung diarrhea everywhere with every wag of her tail.
The walls, the closet doors, the carpet, the guest room bedspread (which was white!)…..and the ceiling. Yep. Poop on the ceiling.
I didn’t have too long to figure out the physics of the situation. There was no time to sit and cry (though certainly my first instinct was to melt into a puddle of despair). Lynn was dancing around in the crate totally perpetuating the problem if that was even possible.
I was grateful that Ryan was home. It was thankfully (for me, definitely not for him!) a Sunday. Spouses help each other in overwhelming situations, right?! I was totally within my rights to wake up my loving, supportive husband and tell him to help me with some aspect, every aspect of cleaning diarrhea off, well, everything, correct?!
While I wrapped Lynn in a towel and hustled to the bathroom to bathe her (how much easier this would have been if it had been summer and I could have used the hose!), Ryan tackled the crate and the surrounding areas. After bathing and drying Lynn, I took her outside where she had more explosive diarrhea.
I knew she would need to be in her crate a lot this day, as she hadn’t quite mastered the “ask at the front door for a let out” trick and would be unreliable with diarrhea. I put a tarp under her now-clean crate and put several fresh towels inside. I let Lynn hang out with the family, and Livie (figuring they were already together so much that if Livie was going to catch whatever this was, she probably already had; had our veterinarian been right to warn me about contagious shelter dogs?), for a while, took her back out where she had more diarrhea, and then crated her for a bit.
I let Ann know what was going on. Ann reported back that the shelter vet had recommended not feeding Lynn today, and then to put her on a bland diet (chicken and rice) the next few days.
All day, I let Lynn outside on the hour. She had diarrhea each time. Then she would drink some water and hang out for a while. As soon as she started wandering around the house, however, back in the crate she would go.
I went to bed with fear in my heart. And the fear was justified. I woke up to the same scene as the day before. Poop smeared all over the crate, all over Lynn, all over the doors and walls…and on the ceiling. Why was there poop on the ceiling?
Again, I had to fight the impulse to despair. Ryan had already left for work so I had no backup as I set about cleaning first Lynn and then the room (while hoping, hoping, hoping Lynn wasn’t walking around dripping poop throughout the house). This was a school day, so I was on the clock as I scrubbed and gagged. I would certainly have no time for a shower, which I so desperately needed.
When the kids were all at school, I let Ann know that Lynn was continuing to have diarrhea and now wasn’t interesting in drinking. I was worried about her…and my sanity. We needed a vet to fix this issue. Ann said I could bring her in that morning, thankfully, so I loaded her up and we headed to see the shelter vet.
Because she was dehydrated and starting to seem lethargic, the vet wanted to administer some IV fluids. I would have to leave to pick Nora up from preschool, so they said they would call me with an update later in the day.
While in a shelter kennel, not being let out on the hour, Lynn demonstrated the quality of her diarrhea. The shock and horror in the voice of the tech who was relaying the info to me mirrored my own upon discovering Lynn’s mess the past two mornings. I was even able to chuckle a little, now that it was happening in a washable kennel instead of on my carpet (and ceiling!). They wanted to give her some probiotics and other anti-diarrheal meds along with the fluids. Could I pick her up the next morning? (You mean sleep all night and not wake up to diarrhea?! You betcha!).
While Lynn was gone, I set up her crate (still with a tarp under it) in the basement. There was more space and fewer fabrics in the basement and I thought that if Lynn still had overnight diarrhea when she returned, her new location would be a lot easier to clean.
When I picked her up, Lynn was ecstatic to see me. The vet gave me a few meds that should help alleviate the diarrhea. She could eat a bland diet for a couple days, then transition back to her regular kibble. When I asked what had caused the sudden and profusive diarrhea, the vet didn’t know exactly (we later found out it was giardia). I hoped that she would improve quickly and that Livie wouldn’t get ill.
At home, I let Lynn out often. Her poop was still soft that first day home, but it wasn’t completely liquefied, and it wasn’t as frequent as it had been the two previous days. Improvement!
Overnight, Lynn did poop in the crate, but the damage on her was mostly her back legs and her tail and scrubbing the poop flecks off the basement floor didn’t faze me the way cleaning upstairs had. (I eventually painted the guest room ceiling because even after lots of cleaning, I could still see where the poop had been. I also got a new guest room comforter and the other one became a foster blanket. Rest assured, guests!).
Day by day, Lynn improved and was soon back to her firm poop, peppy self. She even returned to her funny antics like scaling furniture of all kinds! I was traumatized, surely, but also slowly recovered.
Friday, several days after Lynn had been home from the vet, I got another email about a potential adopter. He was hoping to meet Lynn the next day, Saturday!