Fat, dachshunds, dental care, crying in public, and why I shouldn’t be allowed to leave my house.

I made a very kind vet tech cry today. It was an event 11 years in the making.

Let me explain.

Li’l Frankfurter has a long history of being too thin. When I first met him eight years ago, he was thin-ish but fine. Then, six months in? He had emergency surgery to remove carpet backing from his intestines. I don’t have any carpet in my house (see also: dogs). He’d had the carpet backing in his system for months, if not years. It messed his gut up.

We had great success working with a holistic vet and Li’l Frank gained weight. And then those tricks stopped working and the vet moved out of the country and well, he just got thin. Too thin.

It hurts to look at this photo. I’m not gonna lie.

In August, we started seeing a new holistic vet. My baby boy has gained and gained and gained and is now a new dog. When you weigh five pounds and gain another four? It’s a game-changer.

Now, he looks like a dachshund! Behold, the thick layer of neck fat! My Guy refers to it as Frank’s “neck cankle.” And our friends now refer to our once-sickly doxie as “beefcake.”

So phat. And demanding!

It’s such a blessing. And you know what blessings mean: dental hygiene!

I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to teach Li’l Frank how to floss. However, he now weighs enough to withstand a dental cleaning with the new vet.

Now, in the past, I have been a little chippy, if you will, about the veterinary! professional! dental! cleaning! But Frank’s mouth was a stinky mess. It was time.

Today was the day. The kid had three little teeth pulled and came through like a champion.

When I picked him up, the vet provided a report card, complete with Li’l Frank’s photo. Except they gave me two report cards – one with a photo from September, and one with a photo from today.

I know. I know!

And that “before” photo was after he’d gained a pound because we forgot to take his photo when we first started seeing the new vet. My poor boy. But look at him now – so furry! So robust!

So, I was already a touch delicate. I had been worried that the anesthesia would be troublesome, or that the kid would need to have all his teeth removed. But we were looking at the best possible outcome. And I was reminded of just how far my little boy had come.

The vet tech shared my relief and went on and on about how well Frank did and what a good boy he was. She also mentioned that before they put him under, he dropped a giant deuce in the middle of the table, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. We laughed.

Then, she showed me before and after photos of his teeth. She pointed out his top, front teeth.

“These teeth are really worn down,” she said. “Does he chew or … is he in a kennel a lot?”

“Well, my best guess is that he was a puppy mill dog, so …”

She was visibly relieved. “Oh, that makes perfect sense! We see this a lot in puppy mill dogs. They get so agitated that they chew the bars of the cage. And see this curve on the back of his canines? A lot of the time, they’ll hook their canine teeth around a bar and just work it, trying desperately to get out.”

Now, I will admit that I want to kill this dog at least once a day. But he is a trusting, kind, loving spirit. And the idea of him being treated so horribly, of being so desperate to get out of a cage that he wore down his front teeth and wore grooves into his canines? Well … I started to cry in the middle of the vet waiting room.

“Oh, honey, I didn’t mean to make you upset!” the vet tech said. Then she teared up. “The good news is that nobody here cries alone. I can’t help it.”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry! It’s OK – he’s so spoiled now. I just …” I didn’t have the words. So I asked about some post-op instructions even though I already knew the answer.

I got Li’l Frank home and he is appropriately loopy. Right now, he’s curled up in a blanket on my lap and making sounds like a pigeon. And I kind of can’t stop crying.

I know I am doing right by this dog. But sometimes I’m amazed by how much the world hurts. It’s like the bitter cold air right now – it hurts to coexist with it. My heart seems to grow more and more tender and I just can’t even stand the thought of some things. It’s like the world is one giant ASPCA ad.

So, I’m going to dote on this big little dog who sounds like he is leaking air. I’ll focus on that and hope my face stops leaking fluids.

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  • Reply Diane Garey January 3, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Lil' Frank looks wonderful!! He is a very loved and lucky little dog!! You wrote recently wondering if you should keep writing, if it was really worth it. I want you to know that I loved reading your posts, but thought I had lost the name of your site when my computer was updated. I felt rather bereft, and I remember thinking, I know what her site looks like, the photo of the back of her with two dogs, her little dog is Lil' Frankenfurter, and the other Big Doodle, and she got married a while ago, what is the name so I can find it again? And then I found it in another list, and I was so happy that I had not lost your site. I rarely ever comment, but want you to know how much you stories mean to me. Thanks very much and have a happy new year!

  • Reply Becky Brown January 3, 2018 at 2:44 am

    Diane … I am humbled and delighted by your kind words. Thank you for following along all this time and for letting me know. It means more than I could ever express. Hugs to you!

  • Reply Jenny Hart Boren January 3, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Becky, thank for making me cry, too, you stinker. I admit to thinking, every time I saw a picture of Lil' Frank, PLEASE LET THIS DOG GET BETTER,LIKE, YESTERDAY because you have had your more than your share of dog-inspired heartache and all I wanted was for that little morsel to feel better and also a little fatter if it's not too much trouble. He was, in fact, the only skinny dachshund I have ever seen. And now he can blend in with the rest of the portly weinie dog herd. Thank goodness. Happy New Year, honey.

  • Reply Becky Brown January 3, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Oh, Jenny, I love everything about this comment. Sorry for making you cry, but thank you for wishing LF would gain some weight, like, yesterday. You make me laugh! He's the only skinny doxie I've ever seen, too. But now he's talking about joining a gang of his fellow portly weinies … you've got to be careful what you wish for.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) January 3, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Tears leaking from my eyes here, too, but it's worth crying over: no dog should be treated the way Lil' Frank was clearly treated as a puppy. (I'll refrain from sharing my friend's rescued Great Dane's baby picture, but you can imagine since she was a puppy mill rescue.)
    I'm so glad he's back to being a healthy pup with good veterinary care! (Bonus for compassionate vets!)
    Confession: my oldest son was not thriving as an infant and I didn't see how bad it was until we had some pictures developed (he's 26, so this was pre-digital days). I felt like such a bad mom. It still breaks my heart when I look at those pictures.

  • Reply Becky January 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Yay Lil' Frank. Our Betsy Beagle was a rescue from what we think was a puppy mill – only she was one of the mamas. It's taken us a while to soothe her various anxieties, but I'm with you on the horrors of those places. Hooray for happy dogs!

  • Reply Becky Brown January 4, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Sometimes that distance is needed to see the real picture. Here's to thriving … and not crying too much.

  • Reply Becky Brown January 4, 2018 at 2:09 am

    It's such a weird subset of rescue, isn't it? LF had clearly never been in a house and had no idea how to navigate stairs …. after almost nine years together, he's still iffy on the whole "we go potty outside concept." But like people, I guess you have to meet them where they are. So glad your Betsy has you!

  • Reply Suburban Correspondent January 4, 2018 at 5:23 am

    He's such a cutie! I do have a soft spot for dachshunds, though…

  • Reply Ernie January 4, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Oh my – those before and after pictures. Yikes! Great job nursing LF back to chubbiness and happiness! As much as I love the fact that I don't have to bother with crazy emails like 'Canadian-Drugs' because they go to spam, I just realized that email alerts to your posts have also been getting filed away in my spam folder. Grrrr. I was so happy to read this one. I need to figure out how to have spam leave my real emails alone!

  • Reply Nance January 4, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Oh, bless your heart. Thank goodness for you.

  • Reply cookingwithgas January 4, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Oh, so touching. I love a good vet and I hate the puppy for profit mills that are out there. You are a great parent to your dogs.
    Cry away- tears of goodness.

  • Reply Becky Brown January 6, 2018 at 5:35 am

    Right? And he can spot a sucker from a mile away!

  • Reply Becky Brown January 6, 2018 at 5:37 am

    Ernie, I, too, am a foot soldier in the war against spam. I appreciate that junk email folder but end up checking it several times a day!

  • Reply Becky Brown January 6, 2018 at 5:37 am

    Nance, you are too kind!

  • Reply Becky Brown January 6, 2018 at 5:38 am

    Thanks, friend. And you are so right about a good vet!

  • Reply Andrea January 11, 2018 at 12:41 am

    Apparently you don't cry here alone either! <3

  • Reply Becky Brown January 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I'm sorry and thank you! <3

  • Reply Cyndi B. January 16, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I knew I shouldn't have read this at work. Fortunately, no one is around to see me blubber. Lil Frank looks great and is obviously well cared for. We've had our struggles this year with our crazy beagles and I can say a sympathetic vet tech is worth their weight in gold!

  • Reply Chris January 18, 2018 at 5:00 am

    Awww, he looks SO good! And, I'm teary just seeing the pictures. And reading your comment about being one giant ASPCA ad. Blergh. It feels that way and those ads? Oh! They kill me. I cry. I'm a sucker for the furbabies.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) March 13, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Just came back and read this again… and cried again. Darn it! (Happy for you!)

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