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08/04/2003 Archived Entry: "AAM"

The last few days have been difficult and draining -- thus, no blog for a few days. But a happy ending is at hand... More on this later in the blog.

Right now, some levity is called for because, God knows, *I* need it. One of our long-time favorite comedy groups is the Capital Steps, a musical satire group from D.C. that specializes in political commentary on Beltway issues. They offer free downloads of songs that sample their CDs -- downloads that are legal, I might add, because they are offered by the artists! These are among the cream: Help Rwanda; My Way [by faux Hillary Clinton]; and, Get Me To The New York Times [Jayson Blair scandal].

As long as I am on a politically cynical roll... the American Action Market has come up with an hilarious take-off on the Pentagon's ill-fated terrorism future's market -- the Policy Analysis Market or PAM. (The original PAM webite was yanked in response to overwhelming protest and criticism BUT AAM created a mirror site before the data became vapor.) What is AAM? An article in Wired answers, "Like the Pentagon's scrapped Policy Analysis Market, the AAM lets traders 'bet' on future events by buying and selling futures as though they were stocks. , until it was shelved. For example, you can bet on who will be the next foreign leader to move off the CIA payroll and onto the White House's "most wanted" list? Will George W. be impeached, and when?

Now...onto the difficult days and the happy ending. Our "little guy" is Sam, a 100-pound plus Black German Shepherd who can intimidate a bar-brawler with a look but who is a huge coward and a creampuff, especially around *his* guy -- Brad. He is a 6-year-old puppy who howls with us in the kitchen, patrols our fenceline against a possible take-over by our neighbor's dogs, shares his food with our cats, takes afternoon snoozes on the couch with Brad, goes swamping in the forest with our "little girl" Fiona... Sam lights up the house even if he is not the brightest of bulbs intellectually. On Wednesday night, Sam came back from the forest, seeming to be both exhausted and in pain. I figured he had found a dead animal on which to snack and he was now paying the price with an industrial stomach ache. The next day, he slept...which I expected. The next day...well, he just didn't look right; he was difficult to wake, for one thing. So I hit the panic button and Brad took him straight into our local vet on an emergency basis. They took X-rays and told Brad to drive Sam down to Guelph where a superlative veterinary teaching hospital is located...the local vet told Brad to go there immediately or Sam would die. So Brad settled Sam into the back seat of my car and, with the assistance of the vet, he set up an IV drip by taping one end in the bag to the rolled-up back window so that Sam could be hydrated during the hour-and-half drive to the hospital. He was *that* weak. The vets in Guelph were waiting with FAXed medical records on Sam when Brad walked through their door.

NOTE: the Guelph animal hospital is one of the best in North America. For example, they set up the first blood donor clinic for dogs in Canada by which owners in the area can bring in their pets and receive free vet care, medicine and food in return for allowing the hospital to draw a safe amount of donor blood at each visit. The photos of donor dogs cover the walls, with Sasha -- the hospital's most frequent donor -- in the center position of honor. The blood bank was one of the factors that allowed Sam to survive.

What happened? German Sherpherds are prone to splenic torsion -- a condition in which the spleen twists and blood flow is cut off to the organ, literally causing the spleen to die and decompose inside of the dog. It happens quickly and the condition is usually diagnosed as the result of an autopsy. In Sam, the torsion had also caused a large growth on the spleen due to displaced blood, the gas of decomposition, bacteria, etc. In turn, the weight of the growth caused blood vessels to rip free from the stomach wall, forming a perforation that allowed bacteria to flood his abdomen, leading to peritonitis. It took four hours in surgery to remove the spleen, reconstruct the stomach and wash out the infection. I won't detail the care he received in ICU, including a morphine-derivative drip, except to say that Sam was cared for by vets who clearly love animals as much as we do. His primary vet called us twice a day to give us meticulous accounts of Sam's progress. The upshot...because the little guy is normally as healthy and strong as a horse, he had the stamina to recover and we'll be bringing him home tomorrow (Tuesday afternoon).

The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster for both Brad and me...scant sleep, much anxiety, some crying. But Sam is coming home.

Best to all,

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