Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An Unpleasant Surprise

Life here in Port A is moving along at a leisurely pace.  We’ve had more walks on the beach, visits to the dog park, happy hours with new friends, trips to Fulton/Rockport for fresh fish and sightseeing, and to Corpus Christi to visit the Texas State Aquarium.  Nothing terribly exciting, just relaxing and fun.

The only excitement has been a surprise of the unpleasant  kind. Last Wednesday morning I rose to discover that one of the dogs had thrown up in the living room.  It wasn’t hard to tell which one.  When something like that happens, whoever didn’t do it is quick to point out the mess.  Two dogs will be sniffing with disgust, and looking over their shoulders at me as if to say, “Can you believe someone did this!?  Surely you don’t think I did it!”  The third dog, the guilty one, will be hanging back and looking away, pretending not to see the puddle or pile.

On Wednesday, Colt and Kota where pointing their accusing noses at the puddles of vomit.  Rue would hardly come out of the bedroom.  As I cleaned up the mess, I made a discovery.  There, covered in bile, were two squeakers…like the ones found in dog toys.  Before ingestion, they are innocent-looking things, about an inch-and-a-half in diameter, smooth and round.  Not very appetizing, and not something you would think a dog would eat. 

But there they lay, the obvious cause of the problem.  Then, helped again by Kota and Colt, I found two more puddles and the remains of two more squeakers.  This was not a small problem!

After cleaning up the RV, I fixed doggie breakfast and was not surprised that Rue didn’t eat hers.  We went on about our day and everything seemed OK.  “Good,” I thought.  “Everything is back to normal.”  

Not so, unfortunately.  Rue did eat some supper, but it came back up in a couple of hours, along with another squeaker.  I was baffled.  For the last seven months, Rue and Kota have happily dismembered squeaky toys.  After extracting the squeaker, Rue always played with it until it didn’t squeak any longer, then simply left it on the floor with the remains of the toy.  I was baffled when, a week or so ago, I saw her apparently swallow a squeaker she was mouthing.  After that, I was quick to take away any that she was chewing and to get rid of any remaining toys that still had squeakers.  Apparently I wasn’t quick enough!  Whether to keep me from taking away the squeaker, or to prevent another dog’s doing so, she apparently had decided to eat them, and had been doing so for several days.

Wednesday night was a long one.  Rue was clearly uncomfortable, stretching and moaning like she had done in Hot Springs during our trip last sumer.  I gave her some medicine for stomach upset, but neither of us got much sleep Wednesday night.  I suspected another gastritis attack, but was not excited about another $700 vet bill.  It was clear, however, that a visit to the clinic would be in our future if she wasn’t better by morning.  

Thank goodness, sometime after 4:00 a.m. she seemed to be in less pain and both of us got a little sleep.  (I can’t recommend our living room recliners as substitutes for a bed, however.)  By Thursday morning, Rue seemed better.  When she went out for her morning “constitutional,” she deposited two more squeakers for a grand total of seven so far!  It’s now Tuesday, and no more squeakers have emerged from either end of the dog.  Rue seems back to her usual peppy self, and we hope we’ve seen the last of them.

John and I left the dogs home on Friday and went into Corpus Christi to visit the Texas State Aquarium and do a couple of errands.  One of the major displays is undergoing a face lift, but we still enjoyed our visit.  The sea turtle was oblivious to our presence, but the dolphins showed off for the crowd.

However, the “Wild Flight” program had a few problems.  The parrot (actually a macaw, I think) did his part.  As did the coatimundi and African serval.

Unfortunately, one of the stars of the show, a Harris’s Hawk, flew in on command the first time, but then took off for an aerial tour of the aquarium grounds.  The last time we saw him, he was perched on the roof of the building while one of the trainers tried to coax him down.  (The trainer giving the presentation explained that this is not an uncommon occurrence.  Since the hawks fly free, they sometimes take their time returning.  We were told that they always come back, however, because they have a strong bond with the trainers, and because dinner is free and easy.)

Inside, we visited exhibits of sea life from the Texas Gulf Coast.  I always enjoy seeing the jellyfish.  There are several varieties that frequent this area, including the Moon Jellyfish we saw earlier washed up on the beach.

The smaller tanks containing colorful tropical fish and sea-bed inhabitants were beautiful, as usual. 

In addition, there was also a tank containing a number of Lionfish.  We were told that the Indo-pacific Red Lionfish is proliferating in the Gulf, and is having an adverse impact on native fish.  It is called a "voracious predator" and eats native fish and crustaceans.  Even though its spines contain a toxin, people are being encouraged to fish for lion fish to remove them from the ecosystem.

There is also an exhibit that focuses on the Amazon and its inhabitants.  One of the animals we especially enjoyed was this prehensile-tailed porcupine that is found in Central and South America.  A tree-dweller, this one was enjoying dinner provided by its keeper. 

It then showed us how it uses its tail.

It was a very good day.


  1. Glad Rue eliminated the problem. Great shots of jelly fish.

  2. Love your choice of words! Glad you liked the jellies.