If my dog is fit to live, he will

Kristine Gill

Dublin has been scooting around on the carpet recently, which I don’t mind. It’s funny to watch him drag himself across the floor. I only kick him because I don’t want people walking in his mess.

But when I found the blanket in his cage soaked with some nasty liquid, I figured something was up.

So my roommate hopped online, and 10 minutes later we had determined that there was something wrong with Dublin. He wasn’t just whining because he wanted to sit on my lap or play tug of war. He wasn’t just whining because he’s a big baby!

He was whining because his anal glands were full. Silly me.

If you aren’t familiar with this anus, I’ll tell you that it’s located on the dog’s rear. According to the Web sites we visited, dogs have anal glands which they empty in the wild to mark their territories. Domesticated animals can’t empty them as well so it all just builds up, and when it starts itching, they start scooting.

So Dublin is scooting around the house, whining and leaking, and this Web site is telling me that to relieve his pain, all I have to do is grab a wash cloth and pop the glands.

I love Dublin. Very much. But I refuse to go near his rear for any purposes other than to spank him as punishment for whining and scooting. The alternative is to seek veterinary assistance, which, if you don’t know, is expensive. I once spent $300 at the vet for a routine checkup. I could have told the guy that nothing was wrong with my dog. He wasn’t even whining or scooting at that point.

I really don’t want to pay to have this taken care of, but I don’t want to neglect my pup.

I read something somewhere once – that we’ll assume was credible – that said only recently have we convinced ourselves dogs need a commercial diet to survive. In the wild, dogs eat raw meat and dirt and bark, and they’re just fine. I’ve met wild dogs who say they’d pick gravel over Kibbles ‘n Bits any day.

I’m pretty sure the same goes for pet health care.

If our pets are domesticated versions of their wild ancestors, there’s still something in their genes that helps them survive without us. The same instinct that tells Dublin to eat tissues out of the garbage can tells him to eat berries when he’s starving in the wild. So I’m going to argue that my dog’s body could survive this anal thing in the wild and can figure out how to survive it in my apartment. I’m also going to ignore the part of the Web site that warns about abscesses and ruptures should I ignore the problem.

I’m the type of owner who dresses her dog in winter clothes, accessorizes his collar and frames pictures of him in my room. My roommate sprays him with manly cologne after his baths. I pamper my pooch, but I expect him to be hardy. He’s not “just a dog,” but he is a dog, and dogs are tough little creatures. So I’m going to opt for the hands off method in the anal case. I’m going to keep the vet away from my piggy bank and hope Dublin stops scooting.

The condition might just right itself. If it doesn’t, we’ll cite Darwinian principles in the spirit of Darwin Day this week as we mourn the loss of a beloved puggle.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major, columnist for the Daily Kent Stater and editor of KentNewsNet.com. Contact her at [email protected].