Saturday, July 21, 2007

Superman Saves the Day

I just have to tell y'all what an amazing hero my Superman was today.

He woke me up at about 5:00 this morning, pacing and whining and nudging me in the bed. I figured he needed to go potty, but when I opened the back door he refused to go out. He kept pacing and whining, going back to the bed and nudging it (he's not allowed to get up on it except by invitation). Clearly something was bothering him.

Was the house on fire? Nope, I checked everywhere. Were there burglars milling around on the porch? Nope, not that either. I was puzzled, reduced to scratching my head and muttering inane things like, "What is it, Lassie, did Timmy fall down the damn well again?" Superman just rolled his eyes and kept nudging the bed.

Ok, clearly the problem was something in the bed. But what? Snakes?! Spiders?!! The Loch Ness Monster??? No, the only thing in the bed was Dixie Rae. She's allowed to sleep under the covers every night, and while Superman might privately harbor a deep dark resentment over this privilege, he has the good sense to not turn into a drama queen over it at 5:00 in the goddamn morning.

Well, poor little Dixie Rae is deaf as a door knob but finally all that frantic nudging and pacing woke her up, and she dragged her sleepy self out of the covers, yawning and blinking like a mole, to see what the hell all the commotion was about. And as soon as she emerged, Superman pounced on her.

I rushed over, thinking he was about to swallow her whole, but it turned out the big freak was obsessively licking her ears. At a tiny 4.5 pounds, she sports an incongruous pair of giant Yoda ears that give 90-pound Superman's ears a run for their money. They're glorious (if useless) ears, but that doesn't explain why he suddenly wouldn't stop licking them. Every time I dragged him away from her, he'd lunge right back over and start licking again. He wouldn't even let Dixie walk to the door, he cornered her and licked and licked.

I'd never seen him do anything this crazy before. It was the strangest thing. She finally got fed up and started to snap at him. She only has one tooth left, a back molar (typical of the breed--you've probably seen older Chinese Cresteds with their tongues hanging out); nevertheless, he usually cowers and lets her boss him around. But this time he ignored her warning and kept licking her ears, frantically, obsessively, like he'd gone insane. I finally shut him in the bathroom, where he whined and cried and banged against the door, which he NEVER does, he usually LIKES to go in his room to get a break from the bossy little dogs.

At last it occurred to me to stop calling Superman a kinky ear fetishist and start wondering if maybe there was something actually going on with Dixie's ears. Something inside of them sure was attracting Superman like a deranged magnet. Maybe a piece of liver treat had gotten lost inside one of them? Or perhaps an entire steak had fallen in, or maybe that's where the UPS man disappeared? They're certainly big enough.

I got a flashlight and looked around, and all I could see was a little bit of waxy discharge in one ear. It didn't look like much, and she wasn't acting like she was sick or in pain: no head shaking, no pawing at her ears; she was frisky and alert, she had her usual unholy chowhound appetite and was giving Mr. Bingles the eye before the sun was even up. But just to be safe, I decided to take her to the vet and let him have a look.

And you know what? It turns out she has MASSIVE asymptomatic bacterial and yeast infections, in both ears. The vet said it was a miracle we'd caught it in time. And I never would have suspected a thing, if Dr. Superman MD hadn't made the diagnosis! I guess he smelled the infection, and it just freaked him the hell out for some reason. Now that her ears are full of nasty smelling drops he doesn't want to lick them any more, but he still goes over and sniffs them every hour or so: just checking.

So please, a big round of applause for my hero Superman, whose fine-tuned nose and courageous licking may have saved Dixie's life and me thousands of dollars in vet bills! What a guy.

Dixie Rae on the road to recovery.


Blogger Me said...

Wow! You have such an amazing boy! He is so smart and in tune with you and his siblings. I recently heard of a Golden Retriever that kept licking this little girls arm non stop. He was obsessive and then finally the lick turned into a bite. This was the family pet so it was quite unusual. The bite was pretty bad so she had to see the doctor and they found melanoma in her arm! Luckily it was caught in the beginning stages so it was easily treated.

If only these animals could talk. I have a feeling criminals would no longer be walking the streets. Give SOOP some extra liver treats and smother his muzzle with lots of kisses. You guys were meant for each other. =)


12:47 AM  
Blogger Najia said...

Your Superman truly is super. I love your dogs, especially your senior puppy girls. I love old dogs.

YOU are your dogs' frosting and gravy!!!

I can see the depth of their love for you in the pics. They live to make you happy and that is enough for them.
Have a restful night!

3:51 AM  
Blogger Kek said...

Aww, Superman is really a super hero!! Hope Dixie Rae gets better fast.

6:52 AM  
Blogger citygrrrl said...

woah! so i think he was right when he growled at that guy in your house!

amazing story.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Amalia said...

What a fantastic dog! And way to read the signs.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

OH how I love that dog! I hope your little one gets better soon, and hug the Superman for me!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Lene Andersen said...

That's incredible!

You should rent him out. Lord knows, Her Royal Catness could've used someone like him - it took forever for the vet (the vet!) to diagnose infections in her ears. Many hundreds of dollars later...

12:29 AM  
Blogger debinca said...

Well that s a really weird story!! But like I said you gotta trust that dogs instincts.

Good news that it was diagnosed and treated... wow! dt

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Of course, now I really want to know why he growled at that guy in your house the other day. (Ah, I see Citygrrrl thought this, too.)

Snuggles and pets and best wishes (as appropriate) all around.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Vanda said...

Your superman is a super dog indeed. Glad you read the signs and took her to the vet. Who knows how long it would have taken for you to notice something was wrong.

3:56 PM  
Blogger funambulator said...

Oh my GOSH, that's AMAZING!

7:45 PM  
Blogger RP said...

Hooray (again) for Superman! I wish I could say something as profound about my cat, but she only gets agitated like that when there's some delicious food (BBQ potato chips, perfectly ripe cantaloupe) that I'm eating and she is not. And, yes, crunchy starch and ripe melon are the two things she gets very aggressive about. Now if there's a disease that smells like that, I've got a diagnostician; until then, I just have to crunch my chips quietly.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Superman is a truly magnificant dog and he's lucky to have you (and you him).

You are such a wonderful writer; so expressive and articulate and sincere. I'm thinking hard that your tests have good results.


8:19 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

What an amazing doggie! Maybe you could hire him out as a physician's assistant? But no, I guess it wouldn't do to have him diagnosing yeast infections in humans.

11:54 PM  

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