You wouldn’t know it to look at her because she’s such a delicate beauty, but Freddie, our semi-retired chief canine officer and our very best girl, is one tough dog. She’s spent years vanquishing all manner of rodents who dared enter our yard, and has dealt valiantly with more than her fair share of insect stings. Recently she survived a run-in with a snake. It had us worried, but Freddie took it in stride. We’ll let her tell you all about it. (In a postscript at the end, you’ll find tips for dealing with stings and bites if your pets have their own encounters with menacing insects and reptiles.)
I don’t want to alarm you, but the creatures are after me! I have a long and ugly history with the yellow-and-black buzzers and just a few weeks ago, I got bit by one of those cold, slithering sticks.
My troubles with the buzzers come down to this: They are always telling me to keep my nose out of their business. How can I? I’m a terrier! My nose leads me to the most interesting places — chipmunk burrows, mole holes and, proving the buzzers right, sometimes a nest of ground hornets or a pretty flower already occupied by a bee. But I can’t not follow my nose! They are asking the impossible.
The first time I was stung by a buzzer, I was at Horizons Park for my daily walk with Todd (the best person ever) and my dog brother Joey. We were having a great day, walking and sniffing and then walking and sniffing some more. Well, Joey and I were walking and sniffing. Todd was mostly walking and telling us what good dogs we were. Todd and I have a lot in common but I’ll never understand how he can walk through a park and never once get down on the ground for a good inhale. He misses so much.
I was sniffing an interesting spot of raccoon urine when I felt a sharp sting, like when they give you a shot at the vet. I finished evaluating the pee spot and left my own contribution, ready to walk on. Suddenly, I was sleepier than I’d ever been. I had to take a nap right then and there.
When I woke up, Todd was carrying me up the hill, while Joey ran around and barked. Before Joey crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he and I would usually coordinate our naps, and he didn’t understand why I’d decided to take one during our walk — pretty much the most exciting part of our day. “Whatcha doin’, Freddie? Whatcha doin’?” he asked me. While Joey went on and on, Todd examined me, saying “You’ll be OK, Freddie. You’re a good girl. You’ll be OK.” It was very reassuring.
After an emergency pitstop at the vet and another sharp sting of some kind which was a medicine called Benadryl, the vet declared me A-OK! The medicine made me sleepy all over again, but that was just fine because Joey and I were ready for our after-walk, after-car-ride nap anyway.
I’d like to tell you I was never stung again and that the buzzers learned not to mess with Freddie Belcher. But, friends, they still mess with Freddie Belcher. They are sneaky little buggers. They catch me off guard, and every time the sting hurts just as much as the first time. However, Todd now carries Benadryl with him at all times and gives it to me as soon as he realizes one of the buzzers has gotten me. Isn’t he the best? So kind and well-prepared!
You know me, I’m always up for a new experience, but a few weeks ago I had one that wasn’t much fun at all.
Todd and I were out for our walk and it was going great. Todd’s slowing down a little as he ages (not that he’s old!), so I’ve adjusted my pace and we’ve added rest to our workout regimen. Instead of my old walk-sniff-walk-sniff routine, I try for more of a walk-sniff-rest-walk-sniff-looong rest-walk-sniff-rest pattern. During the rest periods, we people- and dog-watch and have good talks. Todd seems to really enjoy it.
Toward the end of the walk, while doing a bush inspection, I stepped on a cool, squishy stick —and it bit me! It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t even see it there! When we got home, I was limping. Stephanie thought that, being the senior athlete that I am, I might have tweaked a muscle in my hip, so she gave me some medicine, but then my paw started to swell. It was the weekend and I didn’t have any other symptoms, so Stephanie decided I should rest and relax, while she and Todd attended to my every need, which they pretty much do all the time anyway. I took lots of naps and enjoyed being carried outside for my potties.
On Monday, my paw was still swollen and I knew what that meant: the vet! The pad was bleeding by then, but the vet actually thought that might be a good sign the bite was draining. He gave me some antibiotics and sent me home with orders for more rest.
I’m not going to lie, friends. It took a long time to recover from that slithering stick bite. I didn’t feel well enough to go for a walk for more than a week. It might have been a record! During the recovery, though, I caught up on all my sleep and I’ve been raring to go ever since. Nothing can stop me!
Yours in dogness,
Stephanie tells me I need to put a disclaimer here, even though I don’t know what a disclaimer is. Anyway, she says I should tell you that you should always check with your vet about how to treat stings and bites. What she and Todd do for me might not be the right thing for your pet.
And here’s some advice from veterinary experts that might help you if the buzzers and slithering sticks start coming after your dog or cat:
* VCA Hospitals, a veterinary network in California, explains how to tell if your pet has been stung and offers treatment tips. It also lists signs to look for that can indicate an emergency that requires a trip to the vet. https://vcahospitals.com/…/first-aid-for-insect-stings-in-d… VCA Hospitals offers similarly helpful info about spider bites. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/spider-bites
* WebMD and the ASPCA explain what to do if your pet is bitten by a snake. https://pets.webmd.com/snake-bite-safety-prevention-pet