The Enema

[NOTE: This is compiled from several writings: a blog post, an old email, and scattered photos. When first rediscovered, I noticed that there’s a beginning and an end but no middle. The middle was not so important but I have filled in to the best of my memory. I recently lost my beloved Golden Retriever, Dash, and this is one of our adventures while we lived in Atlanta some twelve years ago.]

OK, I guess this is the good place to start:

It was a beautiful Sunday morning.

Vicky & I slept in a bit later and got up with just enough time for coffee & the newspaper before our big outing – “Bark in the Park”– a charity dog event at Turner Field with the Atlanta Braves playing the Washington Nationals as a backdrop. $18 buys you, the human, and your dog, seats in the far end nosebleed sections of 420 & 422 overlooking left field. I figured it would be a lot of fun, the dogs could socialize, and I could get Vicky to finally go to a Braves game.

In anticipation of the event and a desire to have my Boys looking their best, I sought out Braves caps for doggies. They did not exist anywhere in Atlanta. I found them online somewhere in Texas and bought two sets of baseball caps and a bandana, sizes Large and Small.

I tried a little dress rehearsal earlier in the week and was delighted at my dogs’ enthusiasm. Dash, my Golden Retriever, loves the pomp and circumstance and was like an excited eight-year-old trying on his Cub Scout uniform for the first time. Tico, our Long-Haired Dachshund, was equally excited – but not for the same reasons.

My friend Jim Smathers was here last week for a visit and got to spend some time observing Tico with our Golden Retrievers (he has Jessie, Dash’s Mother – and Tony Soprano, Dash’s alphatestosterone brother. they all played together during Jimmy & Judy’s visit.)

“Robert,” he later tells me, “Tico is no innocent and docile little lap dog – he’s running with a serious agenda; I think he needs a cigar in his mouth – he’s the Edward G. Robinson of the canine world, for sure.”

Jimmy pegged Tico perfectly. Vicky & I have laughed and laughed over this….

So yes, Tico was excited only because Dash was excited. “Hey! What’s in it for me ? ” I could hear him say with his Edward G. Robinson accent. I wondered how he kept that stubby little cigar from burning his whiskers.

As I put Dash’s hat on, Tico barked incessantly and aggressively nipped at Dash’s legs. He couldn’t stand it that Dash was getting something that he didn’t have. I next pulled Tico’s little cap out and he was so excited that I could not keep him still to put it on. I had to put him up on the center island in the kitchen where his movements would be limited. He calmed down and I adjusted the cap.

He looked at me with a hint of disappointment: “Hey! So, Pop, what’s wrong with that wool fedora we bought at Finklestein’s in Chicago? Why can’t I wear that one? What’s it to ya?”

I didn’t give in.

He looked up at me as if to read my eyes and gently wagged his tail: “Fuck it! I’ll dress like Mary Poppins if it gets me on a serious outing somewhere.”

Game day. The morning was beautiful though the skies were clear and it looked like it would be very hot later on. We arrived, parked several blocks from Turner Field, put the Boys on leashes and headed for the stadium. It seemed as everyone in Atlanta had arrived with their dogs.

Sections 420 & 422 were definitely nosebleeds. We found seats and got the Boys settled in to watch the game. Dash was as excited as he could be – all of these dogs in a big, new strange place? His type of adventure. Tico was already bored and gave us his signature look to prove it. “Can we head home? Maybe stop by The Varsity for a burger?”

I looked up and saw the four of us in high definition on the Jumbotron! If I could somehow retrieve a recording of that, you would see the dogs eyeing the hot dog vendor, me pointing up at the Jumbotron and Vicky looking back & forth trying to figure out what I was pointing at. Classic. Nobody saw it but me.

The game started and we watched for an hour or so. Vicky and the Boys were antsy and Vicky was concerned about walking them. We left our seats. The walk down involved a lot of stopping to say hello to other dogs.

As it was a charity event, there was a lot going on.

Vicky & I got a quick bite to eat. We sat down at a nearby picnic table. Dash & Tico laid down underneath the table. One of the volunteer vets came by and told us that there were a lot of serious heat cases with the dogs and they were taking dogs’ temperatures if we wanted to stop by the area where they were set up.

Here’s where I got a good lesson on canine hydration: Although Dash looked fine and seemed to be behaving normal, I decided to go over and have his temperature taken because he was not drinking a lot of water. I think he was just too caught up in the excitement of the day. I went over to where the vets were and they soaked him in a baby pool filled with ice and water as they checked his temperature. It was 105 degrees. Anything over 102.5 is considered high. A vet told me that they were getting average readings of anywhere between 102 and 107. They wanted to keep Dash in the tub of ice water – in front of a large fan – and re-check his temperature in ten minutes.

The next reading was 103. The vets decided to give Dash an IV to hydrate and cool him further. While we waited, I got Tico checked out. He was a cool 101.6. Dash not was bothered by it all in the least and enjoyed the girls petting him. Tico stood close by and watched Dash’s every move. You could tell he was concerned about his big brother.

After about 15 minutes of the IV, Dash’s new reading was 104. The girls put him back in the ice water and decided to give him an enema to further cool him. We took Dash to the far end of the Coca Cola Sky Field and I sprayed him with a hose while the vets administered the enema. Dash was still himself and seemed to enjoy it all. The vet asked me to walk him around and see if Dash could expel the fluid. Poor Dash, he wanted to go over to a fenced grassy area to do it; a policeman guarding the gate would not allow us in.

We walked around on the pavement and Dash kept looking back at the grass. He just didn’t want to go on the pavement. The vet patiently waited with us then said she was going back over to the staging area and that I should bring Dash back over to get him in the ice water and re-check his temperature.

In the meantime, I walked Dash around at the un-populated end of Turner Field. No results. I made the decision to head home but first we would stop by the ice water pool again.

As Dash & I walked by the picnic tables where all of the families were eating their lunch, there was an abrupt tug at the leash.

Oh no! I watched in horror as Dash slowly squatted back on his hind legs. In slow motion, I saw Vicky – from a distance – look over with a concerned look; nearby children were looking up from their chicken nuggets and ice cream cones. We’re talking very, very slow motion – I think this was the Sliding Into Home Plate Slow Motion Mode for sure….

Then all of a sudden a low, bellowing, gurgling noise came from Dash’s rear end. Gallons of brown liquid interspersed with large turds created a hoola hoop-sized pool right next to the picnic tables. Dash smiled and looked relieved. (Remember, we’re still in Home Plate Slo-Mo with no audio except for the gurgling sounds): I gave my best non-verbal facial expression of: “I’m not the dog’s owner – I’m just a dog walker hired by Turner Field.”

[Slow Motion stops and audio level is increased]: Children were screaming. Some began vomiting violently. Concerned parents scooped their children up and began running. An elderly woman on a walker was walking near the hoola hoop puddle and suddenly slipped and fell into it. A man helping her slipped and fell into the puddle also. The screams were louder and the stairways down were jammed with panicked spectators. Dogs broke loose from their owners’ leashes and were barking and running in all directions. The hysteria then spread to the stadium: The stands were rumbling from the sound of people running out of the stadium. At that exact moment, the bases were loaded and Chipper Jones was at bat. He stepped back from the plate and looked up over his shoulder to see what all of the commotion was. He squinted up at the mayhem then yelled something to his teammates in the dugout. They all scattered – running – across the diamond. The umpire and catcher threw down their masks and ran towards right field. A frantic announcer came on the sound system and pleaded with fans to remain in their seats. Policemen were firing their guns into the air. People were looting the abandoned concession stands. Hot dogs seemed to be the most popular stolen item. Some even stopped to dress them with ketchup and mustard. At the vacated picnic tables, Vicky was carefully wrapping up my unfinished lunch to take home.

Ambulance and police sirens were wailing in the distance. Helicopters flew over the stadium and their loudspeakers were inaudible over the crowd noise. Now that I was unnoticed, I walked over to the vet’s staging area to get Dash’s temperature taken and cool him off once again. His temperature was fine. I thanked the vets and walked over to Vicky to help her gather up our stuff.

The place was eerily empty. A lone volunteer with a mop was cleaning up the hoola hoop puddle.

“Are you ready to go, Honey?” I asked Vicky.

“I think so,” as she nodded and smiled.

On the way back to the car, Vicky gave my lunch to a homeless guy playing a flute. He chuckled as Tico trotted by with his Atlanta Braves cap on.

Back home, Tico and Dash enjoyed a cool dip in the pool. I was hungry and searched the fridge for something to eat.

Braves 13. Nationals 6.
(would have been a higher score if there hadn’t been an interruption.)


Despite a few minor situations, Vicky, Robert, Tico & Dash enjoyed their day at Turner Field.




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