Growing up my grandmother always lived with us. The arrangement took place when I was born and then my grandfather died when I was 2 1/2, leaving an unusual situation. If my husband is successful in convincing me, you may end up hearing more posts about this arrangement and the years which followed. But for now I’m going to tell you a little story about my grandmother’s dog.
When I was a young girl my grandmother decided to get a Shitzu, which she named Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum was an all black dog with little dark brown eyes and black nose that blended into her fur so that you could never tell which end of the furry dog you were looking at. She also had an inability to bend in the mid-section, leaving her grooming and cleaning entirely up to my mother. The dog, being unbendable, would squeal and squirm like a little pig when she was picked up and carried like the little football that she was. For the most part though, she had a good disposition and enjoyed the company of our small collie dog, Sugar.
Sugar and Yum-Yum would play and run outside in the California sunshine almost every day. Sugar was raised with us kids, so she was a very sweet dog and always treated the smaller Yum-Yum well.
But it was on one of those sunny Californian afternoons that we all discovered something very peculiar about Shitzus that we never would have anticipated.
The ladies were watching their daytime T.V. while I was playing nearby. Sugar and Yum-Yum were both outside the den which opened up with a sliding glass door onto a patio with a covered porch. The dogs were on the porch and wrestling a little bit, as they always did. The ladies were commenting on how cute the dogs were playing when there was a short and sudden yelp from outside. The women jumped up, grandma shouting out questions, like, “What is it? What’s going on?” As my mother, who saw the problem began screaming and running through the house. She burst out the front door, shooed Sugar away, and bustled about as my grandmother continued to ask questions at her. When my mother came back into the house she was carrying Yum-Yum in one arm and in her hand she held Yum-Yum’s eye, which dangled out of the socket.
Ok, this is the point where my grandmother’s questions became sheer freaking-out! She screamed and ran around the room saying things like, “I can’t look at her! They’ll have to put her to sleep! How could this happen?” As she hollered out instructions for my mom and dad.
My brother and I stood in the background, observing the mayhem with wonder. Yum-Yum seemed surprisingly calm and comfortable in the midst of all the confusion, I’ll have to give her that.
My Dad and Mom rushed out to take Yum-Yum to her vet, which was conveniently nearby. My brother and I stayed home and listened to my grandmother think all the worst thoughts she could muster about the future of Yum-Yum and the terrible damage that had been done.
Yum-Yum had to stay at the vet’s that night. The doctor had to remove the eye and sew the eye socket closed. Being a dark hairy dog with dark eyes that were quite camouflaged to begin with, you could actually barely notice the difference. Her face was all black fluff. When you looked up close at her you could see the eyebrow of the closed eye moving as she looked around and also the wet sheen of the other eye that was still there. But other than that, most people would never notice. She did have a blind side and could be surprised or bump into things on that side, but it never seemed to be much of an impairment. She lived to a ripe old age with my mom always her groomer and caretaker.
As for the lessons we learned in this little mishap…
1) Shitzus have eye openings that are stretched quite tight. If you give one of their ears a bit of a tug the above incident can happen far too easily. Maybe even think twice about those tight little knots that groomers like to pull their hair back into. I don’t think I'd be comfortable with that anymore.
2) If you’re ever around someone or something when their eye happens to spontaneously pop out, try to prevent the nerve connecting it to the socket from being stretched too far and place it in a cup of saline or even water as you help transport them to the hospital. The eye can be reinserted with minimal damage if taken care of appropriately.
3) Everything in life always goes better when there is minimal freaking and more action. After all, it’s most likely not the end of the world, and if it is, well then, there’s really nothing you can do about it at that point, is there?
When I told my husband this story, in all seriousness, he began to crack up, saying it was the most mad-capped misadventure he had heard of. However when he forced me to tell his sister about it, she just thought it was ghastly and sad. He recommends that you try and picture everyone’s faces and that’s where the humor lies.Please note that no Shitzu's were harmed in the writing of this blog post...