Happy birthday to Cricket, who turns four years old today. Cricket is a lovely little girl beagle, despite her tendencies towards doing some of the most disgusting and destructive things I’ve ever known anyone to do. She’s very short for a beagle. I’d say “small,” but in truth, her tendency to rob kibble from our other beagle Lily has led to something of a weight issue, which I will not embarrass her by dwelling upon on this auspicious occasion. I will mention, though, that her AKC name is “Wilderness Leap of Faith.”
Because we were trying hard to achieve beagle perfection, we acquired her from a respectable breeder, who flew her in from Utah. In fact, it was the very same breeder of Uno, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show a few years ago. You might remember Uno, who charmed the world by barking too much and doing the trademark beagle howl (aroooo!) and biting a reporter's microphone and generally acting like an actual dog, which is rare among the ridiculous biology experiments that participate in that competition. We were a bit discouraged to realize that this is the standard of behavior that all beagles aspire towards. They are supposed to destroy sofas, and chew up toys, and resist housebreaking, and eat their….
Wait, wait, sorry, … birthday. Cricket is a lovely dog, and her shortcomings (besides her diminutive stature) are certainly the fault of her owners, not herself. And I’ll add that the wonderful part-beagles I’ve known that were rescued from pounds could make a pretty compelling argument for themselves that fancy breeding doesn’t correlate at all to superior behavior or excellent all-around dogginess.
I do want to make an important point, though, in honor of Cricket’s big day. Do you know where the closest doggie emergency room is? If not, might I recommend that you figure it out now, in a calm moment of idle Web surfing, rather than in the thick of an emergency, and then program the info into your cell phone? We had a little incident last week that made us figure it out in a hurry, and having to navigate that added an additional edge to a stressful situation.
We had a good experience with Animal Emergency Care in Acton. I actually don’t know if they are better or worse than other animal emergency clinics close to Harvard, but they seemed competent, and the vet was kind and thorough, and we got out of there alive.
Animal Emergency Care
164 Great Road (same as 2A)
800-454-1742 or 978-263-1742
Our issue? Cricket was suddenly acting odd, as if she was in pain. Drooling a little, ignoring a full dish of food, not wagging her tail. I wondered if she’d eaten something bad, like a toy fire engine or a large dish of Lego. It turned out, though, that she had anaplasmosis, a tick-borne illness similar to Lyme Disease, which often expresses its symptoms suddenly like this. Because we have so many ticks here in Harvard, I believe this is a common problem that’s going to become increasingly prevalent, for dogs and people alike, so watch out for it.
And I will briefly get political and blame 40b laws, in part, for this. More development = less wilderness = more deer closer to houses = more ticks spreading serious diseases like Lyme and anaplasmosis to dogs and people. Yes, it’s more complicated than that. You could also argue: More TV watching and Web surfing blogs like mine = less hunting = more deer, and so on. I still blame overdevelopment, though. One 40b site in particular.
Anyhow, after some painkillers and Doxycycline, Cricket’s acting much more herself, now. A tip for food to disguise dog pills: mayonnaise. I think it works as well as cream cheese. They lick it right off the spoon.
Here’s some more information about anaplasmosis.