Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cut-Off Paper Clips

This morning I was supposed to take my mother to the outpatient services at the hospital to have an MRI. Yesterday in planning our timing, I said I would aim to pick her up at 7:40 barring any more crises (like the matter of the baby bird last week). But that, of course, having a dog, a crisis was not wholly unexpected.

And I'd just posted yesterday some of Sun Tzu's principles of strategic keys to victory.

So of course, there was a crisis. Yesterday I tried to fix my broken purse shoulder strap clasp with a cut off paper clip, a cockamamie idea whose efficacy and wisdom I even wondered about at the time. The spring had come out, you see, so the little latch had nothing to hold it in place and the strap came off the D-ring every time I set the purse down. So I cut off the end of a paper clip, squeezed the "U" end into a "V" and stuck it into the spring hole, holding the latch in place. That seemed to do the trick and I hung my purse on the back of the dining room table chair where I always do.

Later, Quigley had some sort of weird fit there, chasing his tail, biting it, tugging on it, going round and round as he caroomed off the walls, the dog crate and maybe the purse, though it was on the opposite side of the chair. Then this morning, as I was getting ready to go and all was progressing smoothly, Quigley suddenly romped from the dining room into the living room with something. He was tossing it about, falling down, rolling around, having a good old time as he often does with stolen things like socks, pens, a hair clip, a hair scrunchie and just as often, a piece of his chew. Since his reaction to me trying to see what he has is now to run away (grumble, steam) I decided to head him off by getting some sausage to offer him as a bribe. But as soon as he saw me coming he ran, chewing on the mystery object, and when I tried to get him, he scrambled under the coffee table, chewing even more. I had to haul him out by his hips. By the time I looked in his mouth, I found nothing but a few slimy bits of food. Whatever he'd gotten, it was gone.

"Fine!" I told him. "Eat whatever you find lying about and if it kills you, at least I won't have to deal with you any more!"

I put him outside, and about eight minutes before time to leave I picked up my purse, set it on the table, the strap fell off and I realized the cut-off paper clip "stay" was gone. I was immediately absolutely sure that was the mystery item he'd found earlier. And eaten. The three quarter-inch long metal V with two points on the end was now making its way through his digestive tract where it would surely penetrate delicate intestinal walls and kill him! I searched frantically in the dining room but found nothing. And I had to go.

So I went. While waiting at the hospital for my mother's hour long procedure to be completed, I called the vet. They'd see him on an emergency basis ($70 fee for that) and I set up an appointment. Then I went back to my chair and started thinking and talking with the Lord.
It just seemed like a set-up. I didn't know for sure Quigley had eaten the paper clip. It only seemed as if he had. And to have it all happen right before I left is so typical of events designed to test, whether from the Kingdom of darkness or from God Himself, making things look like they're one way, not giving me any way to be sure and forcing me to trust Him for some pre-ordained period of time. It also played in that I had to sit there in that waiting room alone for an hour, helpless to act, free to brood. I did not. I had brought a book and read it, determined not to spend any time imagining something that might turn out not to be true.

When I got home I prayed the Lord would show me where the paper clip V was, if not in Quigley's gullett. I looked thoroughly through the dining room now. Nothing. I cleaned the table, I moved the chairs and dog bed... nothing. I finally got the counter brush and began to sweep around the table legs and in the corners closest to where the purse had been. I swept up small wads of dog hair, two staples, some bits of gravel and dirt... no clip. So I moved to the other side, which seemed quite unlikely, swept at the crack between two cabinets, and all along the front. Then I pushed all the dirt into the dustpan and examined it. Still nothing. So I went back to the cabinets and there was the clip. As if it had fallen from the ceiling. Hallelujah! Thank you Lord!

I canceled the emergency vet appointment, and re-affirmed the concept that torturing yourself with what-ifs is always a bad idea. So is cutting up paper clips for any reason when you have a dog like Quigley. My purse clasp is now held together with duct tape, that wonderful all purpose adhesive/fastener! And the cut up paper clip V has been glued into my journal as a reminder not to be so stupid again. Though maybe I should fasten it with duct tape as well! In fact... I think I'll go do that right now.