Dogs and snail bait and birthdays and pre-pub dinners, oh my!

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It was a rough weekend.

We have three dogs — Lulu (an old, black lab who a friend of ours found on the street and gave to us 12 years ago), Willie (a weirdo mixed breed pound dog) and Hank (our little boston terrier puppy). Long story short, our gardeners put down snail bait in our backyard without telling us and Willie and Lulu ate a bunch. They both started having convulsions.

They spent the weekend in our local animal hospital (praise them!) and, thankfully, pulled through — after full blood transfusions and stomach pumping and enemas and intubation and medication and on and on. On Saturday morning, we got a call from the hospital telling us that Willie had taken a turn for the worse and, if things continued to spiral, he would have to be moved to a different facility, which would require ventilation and animal ambulances — but he recovered.

So… long weekend, positive outcome.

Mixed into all that, on Sunday, our son Chris had his 10th birthday — double digits, at last! We all went to Yamato to celebrate (a sort of local Benihana) and then, today, we’re going to continue the fun by going to Universal Studios theme park. Bob Ducsay at the Sommers company (the folks producing the movie of NIGHTMARE ACADEMY for Universal) was kind enough to hook us up with some sort of fancy tickets, so we’re looking forward to that.

On Tuesday night, I went to Pasadena to meet with a bunch of booksellers for the LA pre-pub dinner for NIGHTMARE ACADEMY and I truly had a blast. We hung out for four hours and laughed and I got to talk about the book and where the series is headed. I also got to meet Deb Murphy, the LA rep for HarperCollins. She was really smart and sweet and seemed to be genuinely excited about the book.

The only weirdness (and it has happened at all these dinners) involved my utter inability to remember people’s names, in spite of truly making an effort. Usually, you’re introduced to about 12 people in quick succession (“Hi, I’m Clive”, I’m Roberta”, “Nice to meet you — Owen”, “Tracy”, etc.) and, try as I might, I just get lost. Then, you spend the next four hours getting to know them and, usually, really liking them — but you’ve only heard their name one time and, by then, I’ve forgotten it. At the evening’s close, folks usually bring out their ARC’s and ask you to sign it to them… and that’s where the weirdness begins because I’ve never had anyone say “Just sign it to Clive”, they just hand you a book and you stare at it, NOT knowing that you’ve forgotten their name even though you’ve been laughing and joking and having fun with them for the last FOUR HOURS. I have to figure out a way to deal with this because I end up feeling like a moron. I finally just announced to the table “please don’t take it personally, and I’ve LOVED meeting everyone tonight, but I’ve forgotten every single one of your names, so if you could just remind me…”

So… other than that hiccup (which always happens) I had a truly wonderful time. Some of the folks there were from San Dimas, which instantly brings visions of Bill and Ted (BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE) into my head… which it clearly does for other people, as well, because they said that’s what virtually everyone says to them when they say they’re from San Dimas.

Other than that… just writing, writing, writing. Book 2 is coming along great. I’ve hit a nice groove on it and I expect to have a draft done by the end of the month (hopefully).

More later.

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  • psamphire

    Urgh. I really hope your dogs recover completely. What a horrible, traumatic experience for all of you, but I’m really glad your animal hospital was so good.

    July 12, 2007 at 3:03 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Thanks! The hospital WAS really good — you never appreciate vets until you really need them.

      July 12, 2007 at 4:15 pm Reply
  • patnelson

    Dinner Party
    Hi Dean!
    Sorry to hear about your dogs. I hate to admit this, but I can thoroughly relate… not to your position, but with your dog’s. When I was five years old my mom rushed me to the hospital as my tongue quickly swelled inside my mouth due to what I must have thought was a rather rancid breath mint (snail bait!). Not that it surprised my mom any. I was known to enjoy a quick meal of dog food, lick a toad or slurp down the occasional worm. Who hasn’t?
    Hopefully your dogs will make a full recovery and maintain their inquisitive eating habits. Hey, some people make a living off traveling the world, dining on exotic foods and making t.v. documentaries about it. Maybe your dogs can do the same. But then again, who wants to see a show about dogs eating their own poop?

    July 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Re: Dinner Party
      Hey Pat!
      First off, it was great meeting you and the other folks the other night. I was shocked when I got to the car and realized how long we’d been hanging out. The time flew by very quickly for me. It’s a little odd when you throw together a group of strangers and hope for the best, but I was very comfortable and had a blast — hope you did too.
      And thanks for the kind words about the dogs. I did more research on this snail bait and it’s incredibly toxic to both pets and children, as you, unfortunately, discovered. We’ve made some changes as a result.
      And, as to your question about who wants to see a show about dogs eating their own poop, the answer is “I don’t know, but if anyone IS interested in that show, it happens several times a day in our backyard. Tickets sell out fast, so place your orders immediately!”

      July 12, 2007 at 3:39 pm Reply
  • stephanieburgis

    I’m so sorry you and your poor dogs had to go through that – but really glad they pulled through. What an awful, scary experience. Good luck with a speedy recovery for both of them!
    And you have my total sympathy on the name-issue – it wasn’t until I’d been teaching for over a year before I finally starting figuring out ways to remember names at ALL (so much embarrassment until then!) and even now it’s pretty iffy…

    July 12, 2007 at 4:45 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      It’s been a rough year for our old dog Lulu.
      She was hospitalized for several days with pancreatitis (which is really grim — didn’t look like she was gonna pull through that one.) Then, a tumor the size of a softball grew on her spine. The vet said it was likely cancerous because of how fast it grew (2-3 weeks). They removed it… and it was benign and she was fine. Then she ate the snail bait and you heard about that little adventure.
      I’m not sure what demon this dog made a deal with but, at this point, I don’t think she CAN die.

      July 13, 2007 at 12:11 am Reply
      • stephanieburgis

        Oh, poor Lulu. But hooray for her resilience, and way to go on the demon deal, I say – can you set up the same for your other two dogs? 😉

        July 13, 2007 at 7:42 am Reply
  • brennas_life

    Poor puppies! Is your landscaping company going to help out with any of the vet bills since they tried to kill your dogs? :(
    Name tags should be a requirement at large dinner parties, or maybe people should just talk in the third person: “Dean thinks this wine is GREAT!”

    July 13, 2007 at 12:16 am Reply
    • deanlorey

      Wow, you covered a lot of territory in that comment!
      First off, the landscaping company and I have parted ways. I’m meeting someone new tomorrow. And the bills were… gargantuan.
      Secondly, I LOVE nametags. Takes one giant level of stress out the situation. There are some things from kindergarten that I don’t think we ever improved upon.
      Finally — EXCELLENT!!!

      July 13, 2007 at 12:29 am Reply
  • tltrent

    Was so sorry to read about this w/your dogs. Hope they’re feeling better now (and you’re not still reeling from stickershock at the vet bill).
    And hooray for book 2! Keep in that groove!

    July 13, 2007 at 10:52 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Thanks! The dogs are feeling MUCH better now and I think we’ve (mostly) recovered from seeing the bill.
      And book 2 is still grooving along — thanks for the support! :)

      July 13, 2007 at 10:55 pm Reply

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