Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dogs and Poo (and Stu)

Here is an interesting phenomenon: people love their dogs (obviously I'm kidding about the interesting part: fairly common knowledge). I'm just not sure that people really acknowledge that their dogs are capable of being UNfriendly. Kind of like ourselves, I guess. We don't really acknowledge that we are capable of doing bad things (given certain stresses) very often. Most dogs are very friendly, and very outgoing, and very curious, and very loud about guests arriving on their property. If those same dogs sense that their beloved owner is sick/injured/incapacitated, it stresses them out. And then two strangers march in as if they own the place and hover over said sick/injured/incapacitated owner, touching them with strange equipment and in a 'confident' manner which can easily be misinterpreted as an 'aggressive' manner to a stressed out dog.
Needless to say, I've been attacked at work more than once by those oh-so-friendly dogs who will reportedly just want to lick me to death. I've never been super comfortable with dogs in the first place (which dog lovers, if they discover my fear, love to point out as the root cause of my being attacked, which I dispute based on the above argument AND the basis that I've seen dog loving partners attacked as well) and tend to approach them on an individual basis. Some dogs I like, some I love, and some I don't. I make an effort to develop friendships with dogs who belong to my friends because I know I will see that dog more than once, and I know it is important to my friends with dogs.
I can't tell you how many homes we go to with dogs. We're like the mail carrier. Only we go INSIDE the house and TOUCH the person who lives there! When a person calls an ambulance, if the patient is stable enough not to need CPR or something, at the end of the phone call the dispatcher asks the caller to get out the patient's care card and medications, and to put their dogs away in another room.
EVERYONE ignores this request.
I HATE that everyone ignores this request.
When confronted with loud dogs before entering the house, I usually retreat back into the ambulance. Once in awhile my partner will make friends with the dog and then I'll come out. Most of the time the owners appear and take the dog by the collar.
When confronted with dogs upon entering the house, I or my partner will always request that the dog be put in another room (some ingenious dogs will escape; this is kind of usually takes them awhile so we're almost ready to go at that point anyways) with the door closed. Always, ALWAYS, we are reassured "No, no! She'll just lick you to death! She's very friendly!" Actually, once in my five years as a paramedic someone said "Oh, how did she get out? She's a guard dog and she'll bite you." (So put that rottie away, man! She was huge).
Here's the deal: we are here for a medical purpose. I'm sure your dog IS friendly but #1, I'm also sure s/he's stressed out, and #2, We don't have time to establish a relationship with her that will reassure us of her friendly status, and #3, I've been bit before.
That's my rant for today.

Oh, here's another one: when I'm not wiping bums at home, I'm apparantly wiping them at work. Poo! Poo! Poo! I hate poo. It is not really in my job description, but what am I going to do, leave a patient in the hallway with poop on her bum until she gets a bed? No. Why does poo stink so bad? Why do people poop? Seriously, people.

I've noticed something else since Stu was banished. I like Matthew better. I always loved him, but often felt mixed feelings about him, especially when he cried or otherwise carried on because I would feel guilty that he was unhappy. Now, I just enjoy his company without those mixed up feelings. The most marked situation when I notice this is when I look at pictures of him. Before, pictures of the first year he was with us elicited negative emotions in me because they reminded me of a difficult time in my life and made me feel more guilty. Now, he just looks cute. What a transformation! Sometimes Stu tries to crawl back in my head; his voice is actually audible from the floor as well, but I tell him to STFU and he does, mostly. It's so fun to look at video and pics now! It is amazing how long I compensated in that direction without really realizing how much guilt I was carrying around, and how often Stu talked to me.

It's sunny out. Hooray! I'm going to go play in the sun.


Roboseyo said...

I think Stu's last name should be pimples. Having an embarrassing last name should make him shrink in shame even faster. (If MY last name were Pimples, I wouldn't come around as often). Then you can laugh at him, too. "Go away, Stu Pimples!" it's kind of fun to say: you can make fun of him. His life cycle kind of resembles a pimple, too: after he's run his course, you can squeeze him and all the poison comes out!

Dana said...

The sweet taste of FREEDOM!!

Ed and Jenna said...

Hey, I love that first comment, and I don't really like my dog that much. I'm trying to like her. If you ever come over and ask that I put her in another room I wouldn't care cause I'd probably prefer her there as well. I sound kinda heartless don't I?