The Internet allows any layman to become a self-proclaimed expert on a subject of their choosing. So the day we brought The PEB home, I chose to study, obviously, the French Bulldog. A few quick searches on Google guaranteed that I was soon well-read on Frenchie development, behavioral quirks, and most common health issues -- courtesy of Wikipedia, pet forums, and blogs.
An annoying side effect of claiming myself an expert on something is that I'd take on a misguided sense of authority. Anything anyone else says about the topic is immediately followed up by my longer and irritatingly more detailed response.
Someone would comment, “Hey, The PEB has a really big head.”
And I would respond, with a healthy level of pomposity, “Did you know that female French Bulldogs often require C-sections to give birth? They are unable to push out the puppies because their heads are too large. Frenchies' physical limitations are also why it is difficult for them to mate, and to breed they usually need to be artificially inseminated. I did some research, and a lot of health problems in bulldogs are due to the fact that they were bred to look a certain way. It's actually quite heinous ...”
Then I'd go on to the ethics of dog breeding and the ancestry of the French Bulldog, likely fueling the imagination of the person on the other end of the conversation who is thinking of ways to murder me with a plastic spoon.
Although being able to share my vast knowledge with others is a boost to the I-know-more-than-you-do part of my ego, knowing that much is also a burden as it heightens my awareness of all the health problems that could manifest themselves in The PEB.
During my cyberspace education, I came across words like “bleeding disorder,” “thyroid condition,” and “aspiration pneumonia.”
It's difficult not to become a paranoid dog owner knowing words like that, and that resulted in an increased level of my yelling around the house.
“Don't feed him too much, he might regurgitate it!”
“NEVER give him BREAD. You don't know what kind of allergens are in it!”
“STOP LETTING HIM JUMP AROUND! HE COULD DEVELOP JOINT PROBLEMS!”
The issue that worried me the most was when it came to having The PEB neutered. I had come across numerous horror stories of people having lost their Frenchies while they were being spayed or neutered due to bad reactions to anesthesia, or because of some other preexisting condition that rendered them too weak to withstand surgery in the first place. I had planned on waiting until The PEB was at least 8 months old before taking him into get neutered so that he'd be a little older and stronger for the procedure.
Little did I know The PEB was the world's biggest horn dog.
Within a few weeks of bringing him home he was already humping everything and anything he fancied. He was like some sort of drug-addled junkie, his eyes wide and testosterone coursing through his veins. His plush dog bed, a good three times his size, became the favored object of his romantic demolition as he'd gnash his teeth along the seams before jumping on top of the entire thing in uncontrollable lust.
By the time The PEB reached 5 months, we decided we couldn't wait any longer to have the source of his aggression removed. It was either his two glads, or our furniture.
It was one of the most stressful days of my life, counting down the hours of the afternoon before I had to go pick up The PEB, fearing that the phone might ring, and it would be the veterinarian, who would start of her sentence with, “I'm sorry ...”
There is nothing on the Internet that taught me how to deal with the agonizing wait.
I stopped breathing when the phone did ring in the late afternoon and the caller ID display showed that it was the veterinarian's office. However, instead of a solemn doctor giving me her condolences, it was her cheerful assistant who was simply informing me that I could pick up The PEB at my earliest convenience.
I don't even remember the drive to the vet's office and back, only that once I got The PEB home he was woozy and clearly in a considerable amount of pain from the inflamed gash on his rump that was sewn up in a jagged Frankenstein-esque manner. It didn't look like he was actually missing anything, only because the area was so swollen from the procedure. The PEB shook a little when I lay him down in his plush bed, and like the first day I brought him home, he buried his head in the cushion like the world was just a little bit too much for him to bear.
The house was much quieter over the next week, as I had stopped yelling. The PEB needed to recover in peace, and during that time I had no problem with anyone who wanted to spoil him a little more than usual.