By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for movie version
You could finance a small country for what it takes to keep a Shih Tzu healthy, much less happy. Shih Tzus stress over everything. They stress out if you take them to the groomers. They stress out if you don't. If you clip them too short, they sunburn which causes stress. If you just clip their faces, they stress over what the other dogs might be saying.
No matter what causes the stress, it manifests itself in the form of skin irritations and in Mia Tia's case, hot spots just below each ear. I tried treating the hot spots she had scratched raw with Neosporin and Benadryl gel but nothing would stop her scratching. I began to feel sorry for her. Here she was pregnant, hottest summer on record, and now hot spots. I was feeling the stress myself.
I checked our life's savings, the kids' college fund, our line of credit, and then made an appointment with our veterinarian.
Miss Tia was too stressed out to walk into the vet's office, so I had to carry her. She was too stressed to remain on the scales long enough for the technician to get her weight. I had to sit on the scales and hold her while the technician subtracted more pounds than I care to admit to, in order to determine Miss Tia's pregnant weight of 12 ½ pounds. Now I was stressed. At least we weren't asked to move to the cattle and horse scales.
The technician took her away and in a few minutes the doctor returned.
"These dogs are highly susceptible to stress."
Try raising a six-year-old and a ten-teen when you are in your very late sixties, I thought.
"She has had an allergic reaction, probably to something she ate."
I swear I only gave her a small portion of the purple chicken.
"Or going to the groomers may have triggered the reaction."
Good, I like that. Blame it on the groomer.
"We will have to shave around her head and clean the wounds."
Ok, more stress and probably more scratchy spots for Tia.
When the doctor returned, poor Tia was wearing the Get Smart Cone of Silence. Miss Tia needed a shot. Ka-Ching! She needed a special spray. Ka-Ching! She needed a special flea repellant and heart worm medication for pregnant mommies-to-be. Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! She needed her six-months flea repellant prescription renewed for after the puppies came. KA-CHING! There went our life's savings and the first two semesters of college. Our credit card balance now qualifies us for debt consolidation and financial counseling.
After carrying Miss Tia to the car, she was too stressed out to walk, we returned home. As soon as we got inside, she ran around the house doing the happy dog dance while knocking her head cone against the floor, the walls, the refrigerator, and the sofa.
When the six-year-old came home from school, he immediately dubbed her "Cone Head the Barbarian".
"Don't say that!" I cautioned, "You'll stress her out." "Oh, she's just a dog. She won't get her feelings hurt", he nonchalantly replied. "Ok, the expense for her next you-are-stressing-me-out-hot-spot comes out of your future-all-we-can-afford truck".
Cone Head the Barbarian was soon dropped, but now I can't get it out of my head.
Oh, the stress!