Monday 12 September 2016

Fool me once

I don't know if Albert Einstein actually said that or not, but goddammit it's a good fucking quote.  And because Einstein is one of the most universally praised people in the history of mankind, I'm going to run with it, because maybe that will make me look better and smarter by association.

Probably not.

Just in case that first quote isn't clichéd enough, here's another:
That one is attributed to Anthony Weldon in The Court and Character of King James all the way back in 1650, though some people seem to think it was coined by anti-abortion activist Randall Terry (who was only born in 1959).  Really, people?  The adage is centuries old!

Anyway, I can't really decide which one is more pertinent for this story, so I'll go with both of them.  

I'm a cat guy.  Yes, I love cats.  I like dogs too, but I don't own one and never have.  I don't have a cat either because . . .

"Whoa whoa, wait just one goddamned second.  What the fuck are you smoking?  You're going from Einstein to Anthony Weldon to your preference of pets?  Do you not understand segues??"

SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.  It will make sense in a moment if you'd give me a chance, for fuck's sake.

As I was saying, I would have at least one cat (probably two) if Mrs. Bastard weren't horribly allergic.  And while I do like cats, I like Mrs. Bastard a hell of a lot more.  After all, unlike Mrs. Bastard, cats can't make lasagna (much to Garfield's dismay).

Lasagna aside, as much as I like cats I understand that they bite sometimes.  When they get scared or startled or just decide to act like an asshole, they can release their inner lion and pounce.  I wouldn't get rid of a cat just because it bit me once, but if it was a constant problem, the cat would go.  Fool me twice, etc etc.  Sorry Hypothetical Cat, but I like my intact epidermis more than any tiny adorable feline.

House cats are quite small, and while their bites hurt, I've never heard of anyone getting seriously mauled by a cat.  Dogs are another story altogether.  Dogs can do real damage with their teeth, as several of my patients (and their various savaged body parts) can attest.  If a pet dog bit me unprovoked, the dog would be evicted.  End of story.

Terrence's Wife (not her real name™) obviously had no such policy.

Terrence was in his late 60s and had suffered a series of strokes over the past decade, leaving him paralysed with no sensation on the right side of his body and essentially bed-bound.  He lived with his wife (who took care of him and cooked for him), and his Jack Russell terrier, who ate him.

Before I go on, read that last sentence back.  No, that was not a typo.

I'll explain.

A few weeks back Terrence was brought to our hospital after his dog ate his toe.  Once again, in case you missed that little nugget, I'm going to say it again: The dog ate his toe.  When he was brought in, the great toe on his right foot was missing.  It was gone.  Just . . . gone.  The podiatrist tried his best to piece what remained back together, but dogs' mouths aren't known for being clean, and as expected the wound got infected.  After a lengthy stay in hospital, he was sent home on antibiotics.

And that's where we pick up Terrence's saga.

His wife woke up on this fateful morning and noticed something . . . odd.  She saw . . . wait wait wait, I can't say it any better than she did.  She said, and this is a direct quote without any paraphrasing whatsoever, "Well, he had toes when we went to bed last night!"

We looked at his foot, and the toes were gone.  All of them.  Gone.  GONE.  In case you don't believe me, here are Terrence's X-rays:

Notice anything missing?  On the off chance you aren't a radiologist, here is a normal foot. 
See those little toe-shaped things on the end where toes should be that look just like toes?  Those are toes.  

Terrence didn't have any.

When the medics first arrived on the scene, they had no idea what had happened to Terrence, nor did Terrence or his wife.  Somehow.  They were throwing around the idea that he had been attacked by an intruder.  Why they would believe that an intruder would break in, not steal anything, and then gnaw off his toes, I have no idea.  I wish I could have heard the conversation, but in my mind it went something like this:

Wife: Where are his toes?
Medic 1: Oh em gee your right! {yes, in my mind he misused "your"}  Where are his toes?
Medic 2: Maybe someone broke in and cut them off?
Medic 1: If they did, they used an old dull butter knife.
Wife: But they didn't steal anything!
Medic 2: Oh wait, there are his toes.

That was the point in the conversation when the dog bounded into the room and vomited up the toes onto the floor.  Lest you think my creativity is getting the better of me, unlike the fabricated conversation above, I am not making this part up: the dog actually truly and veritably vomited Terrence's toes.

The same dog that had eaten his toe a few weeks before . . . spent the night eating the rest of them.  And then vomited them onto the floor.

I can only imagine the stunned silence in the room.

I called the same podiatrist back, and he once again tried to piece what was left of Terrence's foot back together.  All the king's horses and all the king's men, you know.  

I'm sure the burning question in everyone's mind is: How quickly did they kill the cursed man-eating dog and get rid of its body?  Well, as of the last time I spoke to Terrence's wife, the dog was still alive and well and living at Terrence's house.  And eagerly awaiting his return, no doubt.  I mean, the poor dog must be hungry.  Am I right?  Hello?  Is this on?

So that leaves me with one final lingering question: What the hell do people say about "Fool me thrice"?


  1. Yikes! The Hannibal Lecter of dogs. So they've still got him, and Terrence has five more toes and ten fingers. Look out!

  2. Time to rehome the dog. The only way to keep it safely in the house with Terrence would be to physically separate it unless someone was present in the room to keep it from chewing on him, but a high energy dog wouldn't take kindly to a large amount of time in the crate.

    I'm not sure who would take a dog that is a proven man-eater, though. Even if it is just a little one.

  3. I thought the pertinant quote was from Sir Winston Churchill:

    "We will bite them on the features..."

    I'll get my coat.


  4. Okay, only thing that went through my mind is a story my dad shared of his childhood. They grew and raised what they ate. If a dog ever got in the chicken coop and ate an egg once, it would never stop doing it. I have a feeling you will see that poor guy again!

    1. We had the same saying when I was growing up, except we had a few dogs eat the chickens. Once a chicken killer, always a chicken killer. Once they get that taste of blood, that's it. They'll keep coming back for it.

      Why would these people be ok keeping that dog??

  5. Maybe the wife got tired of taking care of Terrence and needed a break, so she put peanut butter or a meat paste on his toes hoping the dog would eat her husband's toes off.

  6. Real names Ramsay and Sansa?

    But seriously, a regularly fed dog who thinks it is normal to eat its human is a dog with serious and dangerous behavioral issues. They need professional help immediately. In fact, I'm surprised that the hospital let "Terrence" go home to this situation a second time, with no social services intervention.

    1. That's what I was thinking. Once is an accident. Twice is a dangerous home environment for a vulnerable individual.

  7. Shouldn't the dog have been put to sleep??? And the wife have been convicted of elder abuse/neglect??? What the actual heck is going on here???

  8. Dogs have often eaten diabetic gangrenous toes. Just do a search for all the stories They smell that the flesh is starting to rot which just makes them want to eat it, because it smells dead. If they can't keep the guy's toes from rotting, and they can't watch the dog, then the dog needs to be rehomed.

    This is nothing like a dog biting someone unprovoked. Any dog would eat those toes, not any dog would do an unprovoked bite. This dog could easily and safely be rehomed. a very well known and well respected veterinary behaviorist gave his response in that article.

    Note that the dog isn't going to feel guilty, because recent research showed that dogs don't feel guilt the way we think they do. When you come home and they act guilty? Sure, they are trying to appease you, but it's not because they feel bad they strewed trash everywhere. It's because they've associated strewed trash with your angry behavior, plus they respond to your behavior. Many people walk into the house expecting bad stuff from the dog, so the dogs are pre-primed to appease. They just don't feel guilty for what they did.

    1. you learn something new every day.

      which means now I get to take the rest of the day off.

    2. Agreed. The dog wasn't "attacking" Terrence, and it's unlikely that he was "eating" the toes because he was hungry. Lots of dogs, especially terriers and other high-energy breeds, continue to seek out and enjoy "chew toys" even when they're well beyond the puppy stage and into *their* senior years:)

      The reason that *most* of our pet dogs don't devour our body parts is because if/when they start those playful nips and grabs, we quickly respond with some negative reinforcement... because it *hurts* us. So, they learn to avoid treating their human family members as chew toys.

      The problem here is that due to Terrence's paralysis, he couldn't *feel* this happening, and of course when he and the wife were both asleep, they couldn't *see* it either. So the dog didn't get any immediate negative response from his people to let him know the toe-gnawing was a "no-no." Instead, they slept on peacefully. He had no way of knowing that this particular behavior was not acceptable to them.

      I do agree that their failure to avoid the *second* incident was dumb. If the dog was otherwise a well-behaved, beloved family pet, and Terrance and Mrs. T. wanted to keep him, they could have made sure that the dog was kept out of the bedroom when they were asleep, and kept away from Terrance during times when Mrs. T. was away from the house and Terrance *might* doze off for a nap. As K. already stated, if they couldn't/wouldn't do this, re-homing the dog would be the only way to prevent further injury to Terrance.

    3. or maybe they could find some sort of special protective gear that might prevent the dog from being able to access terrence's toes.

      I hear they are experimenting with a thing called a "shoe"

    4. I would agree about dogs naturally being attracted to gangrenous toes, except I don't get the impression that "Terrence's" toes were gangrenous-just without sensation, which isn't necessarily the same thing. Doc B?

    5. @ Ken - that "shoe" thing sounds interesting! :)

      But since Terrance's paralysis affects the entire right side of his body, there are lots of *other* body parts at risk too. A full suit of armor, like the knights of old used to wear in battle, would work. But I don't think those would make very comfortable pajamas...

    6. actually armor is pretty comfortable, if it is made right.

    7. I'll take your word for it, since I haven't personally worn any. Still not sure it would be comfortable for the *spouse*, when sharing a bed...

    8. one could argue that if she can sleep through a JRT eating her husband's foot, armor shouldn't bother her.

    9. Anne, likely the toes were gangrenous. It was just not yet noticeable to the humans but the dog's nose is more sensitive. They can even find cancer in humans before the humans even know they have an internal lump or a malignant moke

    10. That's a real possibility, since Doc has described Terrance's lifestyle as "essentially bed-bound," with wife doing what she could to care for and feed him.

      A friend of mine was *much* younger than Terrance when he suffered a stroke, which *didn't* leave him paralyzed, but with some mobility challenges in one leg. He went right from hospital to a nursing and rehab facility, where he received daily physical therapy and exercise, by qualified PTs under his doctor's direction. Despite being anything *but* "bed-bound*, he still ended up with recurring circulatory issues in one foot that didn't respond well to medication and some minor surgical procedures to improve circulation. So, the two smallest toes began to develop gangrene, and needed to be amputated to preserve the remainder of healthy tissue in his foot.

      This happened to a person 30 years younger than Terrance, whose stroke damage was much less extensive, and who was in active rehab under medical supervision. So, it's probably fair to assume that a "bed-bound" senior at home, who may not have the same proactive care and monitoring by medical professionals, would be at more risk of having tissue deterioration going unnoticed.

  9. As a general rule, I like animals better than people. Here I might make an exception.

  10. I think the line is:

    fool me thrice, paging Dr. Freud

    Just a thought

  11. I take it that wherever you live, you don't have animal control services. Twenty years ago a neighbor's dog got out of it's fence and attacked my daughter. (she was on our front porch and nowhere near the fence the dog should have been behind) She had to have 9 stitches in her hand. Animal control came in and confiscated the dog to put it down. There was no discussion. I didn't have to ask them to do it. It was just done. Somebody needs to put Terrance's dog down.

  12. The phrase "canine defenestration" comes to mind...

  13. the best quote ever is:
    "The trouble with quotations on the internet is they are so difficult to verify."

    Abraham Lincoln

  14. Have you heard about Allen Calloway Dr? Another brain death mess in Montana. Drowning accident of a 7 year old boy attached to a vent since July 22! Family are religious freaks!

    1. To Muna61,
      "Family are religious freaks!" I agree! They are over the top with the incessant praying and request
      for group prayers. I find their actions to be rather sketchy, especially "Daddy dearest."
      I just don't trust the motives of zealots. Especially when they proclaim such fervent vows of devotion to the Lord, then you see signs of twisting the truth, "sins of omission", evasiveness, along with other suspicious acts...


    2. I don't seem to be able to find this case, do you have a link please?

  15. Why am I not surprised tht the dog in question is a Jack Russell?

  16. Sorry deleted the last comment, wish there was an edit button, didn't notice spelling errors, my screen of my phone is a pain..

    I feel my kids staring at me when I'm asleep and I work 30 hours in two days and can sleep sitting up. I hear the cats walk down the hallway and jump on things they aren't suppose to be on..

    Those two must be heavy sleepers not to feel the dog pulling or even jerking on the toes (unless they were almost rotted off, a quick pluck and off the toes came). I would think the dog made some kind of noises whether it was crunching or fighting to get the toes free. I have never know a jack Russell terrier to do anything quietly..

    I probably would have doubled over and puked at the sight of the dog retching up toes. I passed out after puking my brains out when I had to watch an autopsy for my criminal justice class..

  17. Sings
    ~Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

    ~Head, shoulders, knees and toe, knees and Oh!, never mind~

    Heads off to naughty corner, I couldn't resist the temptation.


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