What Could Scare A Dog Like Brutus?
Wednesday - April 13, 2011
Flatulence is the act of expelling gas from the rectum. The gas produced is a normal byproduct of the digestive system, and is usually composed of a mixture of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen. Odor varies, but everyone knows someone who is notorious for their gaseous emanations. This article is about pets and gas.
It was a blustery autumn afternoon and the day was going by smoothly. My next appointment was a new patient, but I’ve known the owners for more than 20 years. As I entered the room I had a feeling that Brutus would be a handful. The snug, thick leather muzzle he sported hinted at our imminent struggle. Upon my entry, Brutus immediately lunged, barked and foamed at the mouth.
The Ota family and my family go way back, so the initial 10 minutes of the exam was spent catching up with the latest happenings. All the while Brutus stared me down with wary eyes as a puddle of drool started to accumulate at his feet.
I usually greet my patients with cookie in hand, and I sit on the floor to be less imposing. When Mr. Ota suggested that I not push my luck with Brutus, I understood his concern and obliged.
I conducted my exam amid growls and many attempts by Brutus to chew my head off. It was during the tussle that Mr. Ota revealed an interesting fact.
“Hey, Doc, I know Brutus seems like a tough dog, but he does get frightened at times,” Mr. Ota said.
“What is he afraid of,” I asked, “a tiger or maybe a Mack truck?”
“Actually Doc, he’s afraid of his own farts.”
With that last statement, we all began to laugh. I guess it was like comic relief during a very stressful time. Mr. Ota explained how Brutus would lie on the living room floor and on occasion pass gas. After doing so, Brutus would jump up startled by the sound and run away with his tail between his legs. He did this all his life (Brutus was 8 years old) and never got used to the experience.
As Brutus lay on the exam table snarling with teeth showing from behind that muzzle, I started to empathize with him. The average human passes gas between 10 and 15 times per day. Admittedly, after eating baked beans I tend to double that number. What if I were afraid of the vibrating sphincter? Life would definitely be stressful.
Brutus was just a misunderstood creature. I tried to think of training techniques to get him over his fear, but every scenario conjured in my mind seemed rather silly. I guess this was one problem The Wild Side just couldn’t rectify, so to speak.
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