Gracie gets a lot of play on RFTM.  Not because I’m amping up her antics – if anything, I might be playing them down so we don’t look like totally irresponsible pet owners – but because I find writing about her cathartic.  Somehow being able to send “my dog ate my lunch, a sponge, and half the kid’s shoe” out into the universe helps keep the pet crazy in perspective.  It helps me remember, no matter what nonsense she throws my way, Gracie’s lovey doveyness more than balances the scales.


Plus she’s never actually needed ER intervention.  Which is more than I can say for these two.


When BrightSide introduced me to the world of dogs I had no idea anything like canine emergency rooms even existed.  I certainly couldn’t imagine a situation in which I’d load my dog into a car to visit one.  I mean, what on earth could happen at 10:00pm that would require a doctor’s visit?  It’s a dog, for Pete’s sake, we’d just go in the morning.

Until one fateful night in 1998 when I realized holy crap, sometimes you’re staring down a crisis so inconceivable that driving 45 minutes to the nearest animal ER is the only reasonable option.  Like, say, when your dog’s eyeball pops out of the socket.

Give me just a minute to let this shiver pass through my body.

We brought our fur babies Heidi and Ginny with us when we moved to North Carolina.  Heidi was a German Shepherd/Lab mix, a wickedly smart girl with a sweet disposition and plenty of playfulness.  Ginny, a stray Papillon, had a stubborn streak a mile wide and was seriously independent.  At 40 and 10 pounds respectively, they were physically mismatched but lived peaceably under our roof.

I’m still not exactly sure what happened that night.  The dogs were playing in the family room when BrightSide and I heard a sharp yelp.  It was only once we got on the floor that we could see Ginny had been hurt, but it wasn’t the typical injured paw.  Her eyeball – her eyeball – had popped out of the socket.  Not a dangling-by-the-muscles out; more like suddenly that area of her face was all eyeball and no lids.  It may not have been über gory but it was freaky as hell.  Trust me.

And believe me, once you’ve seen a distended eyeball on your dog, you’ve got a very clear grasp of why we need emergency rooms for animals.