Thank you to all of the service dog handlers out there in the internet world who preach that you should listen to your dog.
Thanks to their knowledge and wisdom (and embarrassing stories), Owen and avoided an embarrassing encounter today at the grocery store.
(Poor Owen would be so embarrassed if he knew I was telling this story, but I do so in order to add my wisdom to those that have gone before me).
If you're easily grossed out, you may not to read this story - but rest assured, we didn't have anything too embarrassing happen. :)
Owen had an upset tummy yesterday when we got up; as far as I knew he hadn't eaten anything funny. For the last few days his stool had been kinda loose, but not bad. Nothing that made me worry. But yesterday morning, he was clearly not feeling well. I wasn't feeling well, and I gave Owen his regular amount of fish oil in the morning because I didn't think to withhold it (which I should have). Which meant Owen's tummy stayed upset all morning.
Once I realized he really wasn't feeling well, I gave him a snack of pumpkin and kibble. He got pumpkin frozen in a Kong later on in the day for a snack, and more pumpkin last night for dinner and this morning. As a result, when he had a BM this morning, I thought he was feeling fine. A whole can of pumpkin will apparently do that.
We went to work this morning where Owen was fine, he was a little goofy when we were leaving, but I thought that was because he had been sleeping for 3 hours. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I had to go grocery shopping, so we went to Winco. Immediately, Owen was acting funny, dancing around the cart, pulling me forward, and not heeling at all. I was completely flummoxed (trying to make him behave while I shopped), and then I recalled the stories I had read on forums of handlers who didn't listen when their service dog was sick because they had only been teamed up for short periods of time. I looked at Owen, ditched our cart in the middle of the store, and we high-tailed it out of the store. Fast.
There was a small median right outside the store with some mud and sad looking plants. Owen just made it. I was very happy I pack extra poop bags in his harness just in case.
He was so embarrassed, and of course I felt so bad for having drug him to the store and for reprimanding him when I thought he was messing around. I packed him up in the car and brought him home. He got to snooze in his kennel while I went back to Winco. (Hilariously, my cart was right where I left it, totally in everybody's way.) I finished my shopping, but it was way harder without Owen at my side. Just walking in from the parking lot, I felt so dizzy and disoriented. I could tell I was weaving and I was having trouble making sure my feet stayed where they were supposed to. Once I had a cart, I did better because I had something to stabilize myself with, but getting there was hard.
Now Owen and I are both home and are both very tired; he's going to be getting meals of rice, cottage cheese, and pumpkin until his tummy problems clear up. If he's still sick in a few days, we will be going to the vet to make sure there's nothing else I can be doing. (Owen also has a slightly yucky looking ear, which I think may be contributing to his overall feeling of ickiness.)
The moral of this story is clear: Listen to your dog! I know I will be from now on.