The Shocker.


I couldn’t write my term paper at my desk because Henry kept trying to climb into my lap. So I decided to sit on the sofa so that I could cuddle my pup and crank out the last paper before spring break at the same time. I had been working on the paper for the previous few days and not sleeping very much (I procrastinate a lot) and so took a nap the second the paper was e-mailed to my professor. To be awakened by a scream.

Wait, a scream?

I found Henry on his side shaking, foaming out of his mouth and having lost control of both bowel and bladder but still conscious. An awful smell seemed to emanate from him—unrelated to the mess on the floor. I got a paper towel and began to wipe the foam away from his gums and found two, whitish lines on his lip that look like a cauterization. That’s when I noticed the extension cord…chewed open to reveal two metal pieces that were perfect matches with the lines on his lip.

(This is a good point to mention that if I had just ignored Henry and stayed at my desk, like I should have, this never would have happened.)

The call to the vet consisted of: “my dog just electrocuted himself!!!” and “Bring him in! Bring him in!”

For the first 15 minutes of the car ride Henry was still, too still, in the passenger seat of the truck. I monitored his pulse and respiration rate for any detectable abnormalities (can you tell I was taking my Cardiopulmonary class at this time)? About two miles from the vet he sits up and starts trying to climb into my lap – all 50+ pounds of him. I push him back into his seat but he keeps frantically trying. He settles back down until I pull into the parking lot of the vet. He pops his head up and realizes where we are.

Have I mentioned that Henry loves, L-O-V-E-S the vet? He jumps up in his seat and can hardly wait for me to open the car door. He pulls me into the vet pulling so hard on the leash that he is constricting his breathing. A vet tech looks up and exclaims “Henry! You dork! Are you the dog that electrocuted himself?” Techs, front office staff, and the veterinarian gather around him and he is wagging his tail and jumping around like nothing ever happened. The vet looks up, “this is not the dog that electrocuted himself?”

The vet concludes that he must have just burned himself because there is no way he could be jumping around and so happy if he had electrocuted himself. She gives me instructions to monitor him for 36 hours for any pulmonary edema (bloody froth from the mouth) but that’s it.

He behaves normally after this but he continues to have just an “off” smell.

The smell gets worse. The whole house just…reeks. And it is definitely coming from H. Back to the vet we go….

The veterinarian examines his lip, which it turns out is basically rotting. Then he has me open Henry’s mouth so he can look around.

“Have you seen his tongue?” the vet asks. Jensen and I both peered inside H’s mouth to observe a pink tongue with a perfect half-circle, at least an inch, missing from the right side. “This is one lucky dog. The electricity entered his lip & exited his tongue, if it had gone to his heart he would have been killed instantly.”

We leave with antibiotics and a mouthwash to prevent food from getting into the wound on his lip. The smell gets marginally better. I notice that part of his gum is hanging off. I chase him around with a paper towel and manage to grab him long enough to grab the hanging skin, which comes away easily. The smell now seems to come from my hand and I run the – I don’t even want to think about what it was – outside to the trash can, gagging the entire way.

The stench in our house goes away and we are left with Henry minus a chunk of gum and a chunk of tongue. The missing gum means that Henry now drools out of the right side of his mouth, drools on the couch, drools on the coffee table, drools on Jensen and I, our guests, strangers – you name it!

On an interesting (but related) side note:

Henry is a little bit crazy. He gets overstimulated and freaks out. He only wags his tail when he is barking at Jensen or myself, he is a perfect angle on walks for months & then decides to jump and try and grab a strangers shirt, jacket, on one occasion a neighbors hair, or tries to eat a door:

 Vets and dog trainers all confidently aver that he is not aggressive at all. I have heard things such as he is: just misunderstood (said with humor), dorky, silly, etc. Two seperate people have commented that he acts just like crack babies do.

We come up with different hypotheses: he is simply crazy, he was exposed to some bad chemicals with his first owners (meth?), etc. But recently I came up with a new one. I take Henry to the doggy dermatologist who notices the drool/missing gum. After hearing the whole electrocution story he tells me his own electrocution story about an acquaintance’s 3 year old son that chewed an extension cord and despite being in his 30’s never progressed past 1st grade developmentally.

First reaction: Oh, crap! I have to worry about this with a kid?

Second reaction: ! Maybe that is Henry’s problem.

Oh, Henry.

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