5 Jul


I didn’t have any big plans for the fourth of July this year. I expected I’d get together with some amalgamation of friends, drink beer, sit in the sun, watch fireworks. It would be nice. But when my boss asked me to work the holiday shift, I sighed and said yes. This is life at the bottom of the totem pole.

So I worked 8am till 8pm on the fourth of July, and it was a relatively slow day. There was a rush between two and five where we had a slew of emergencies come in. We even performed a surgery, the name of which I can’t remember. In layman’s terms, we sewed a cut on a Vizzla’s nose under light sedation. Oh, we also saw a cat with ringworm. So we were all scrubbing ourselves like crazy and bleaching every inch of the hospital. I’m still itchy and constantly checking my skin for lesions. So far, so good!

Most of my day was taken up by the gentleman pictured above. Crane.

Crane is a bulldog. Crane is a hot mess. His owner is kind of a jerk, but he’s wealthy and travels constantly. So Crane boards with us often. So often that when Crane’s owner walks him into the clinic, all he has to do is unleash him and Crane marches straight to the back area of the hospital, through all the swinging doors and walks up to a cage and waits for us to let him in. He knows the drill. So on Tuesday when we heard a loud thump through the doors of treatment and heard labored, phlegmy breathing, we all just looked up and said, “Oh hey Crane.”

Where do I start with his issues? He’s not castrated, so he has prostrate issues and urinates everywhere. He has dermatitis in his face folds. His eyes give off this thick green discharge, as do his ears and nose. He overheats easily and makes creative breathing noises. He requires so much care. Most everyone at the hospital finds him amusing but chooses not to deal with him, because he is simply disgusting. The only one who really loves Crane is Christine who is out on maternity leave. So with her gone, I had to step up.

He requires treatments almost every hour of the day. He has different pills to take, different ointments, drops, cleaning routines. He’s nearly blind, so he doesn’t like to leave his cage. I often have to climb into his cage with him and scruff him by his folds to get his eye drops in. He hates having his face folds cleaned, but I must. Crane, I must!! So I have to wrassle his head still while he snorts and spews weird bodily fluids all over me, and I try my damnedest to get into those folds with some wipes which quickly turn brown and black from the debris that gets caught there. Crane is a full-time job.

After it slowed down on the fourth, I sat idly flipping through his chart, the catalog of issues, and I got to wondering how happy he can be. I thought I was alone in the hospital so I went over to his cage and squatted in front of it, just looking in at this disgusting, slobbering mess, thinking about his life.

But I wasn’t alone. Rob, a kennel staff member, was there. He was reading his book out of boredom when I asked him, “Do you think Crane’s happy?”
“Of course he is. It’s Crane. Why wouldn’t he be?”
“I don’t know. He’s gross and weird and has all these problems and no one pays attention to him. That’s gotta get him down.”
“He’s Crane, though. He is what he is, and he’s happy. He doesn’t know any better.”
I looked down at Crane, listening to the gurgling of his brachiocephalic trachea pushing air in and out with such effort. He thumped to the floor and started licking his paws, slobbering over them.
“He’s totally happy, Chrissy. C’mon, it’s obvious.”

So I let myself believe that, as I take the time to take care of Crane. Somebody has to love and take care of the messes of the world. Right?


One Response to “Crane”


  1. Happy Ever After | Chrissy's Blog - February 14, 2015

    […] three years ago, I wrote about a frequent boarder at our hospital, a bulldog named Crane. To recap, he’s disgusting. I wrote about him being disgusting then, and his situation has […]

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