Je m’appelle Higgins

I am called Higgins, as we say in French. But that doesn’t mean I come when I’m called. Madame has posted about this character trait here before. I can’t say whether it’s because I’m a purebred French bulldog, un bouledogue français, or just 100% French.

About the purebred part. I suppose it’s why she fell for me. She’s had a soft spot for Frenchies ever since she first came to France way before I was born. Something about big ears and brown eyes. But beyond that, we have a special connection.

Ever since she and Monsieur came to pick me up from my breeder’s place in Toulouse, back in 2012, she has fallen under my charm. I must say I was a handsome fellow even as a young pup. Although ma petite maman didn’t seem to be too sure about giving me up so young.

I got my good looks from her, don’t you think?

Anyhow, the thing about being a French bulldog is we belong to a group called called brachycephalic breeds. It means we have a skull with a short snout. There are quite a few of us: cats, from Persian to Burmese, and dogs, from boxers to pugs, lhasa apsos, chow chows and chihuahuas. While this gives us round eyes and flat faces reminiscent of the human, it also makes it a little difficult to breathe.

All my life I snored up a storm. Snorted and reverse sneezed. It got pretty loud at night and Madame ended up putting me downstairs in the laundry room.

Also, I’m no good in the heat.

This was one long, hot summer and by the end of it I was feeling sluggish. I could hardly walk around the block without panting for hours to catch my breath.

It’s not as if I could cool down with a dip in the pool. Me and deep water don’t get along. Thing is, I sink like a stone to the bottom before I even get a chance to try and swim. Happened this very summer. Madame threw the ball and I was so intent on chasing it I fell right into the deep end. The little lady sure has a set of lungs on her!  Dieu soit loué, Monsieur was home. He came running, dove right in and popped me up for air almost before I knew what hit me.

This is right where it happened.

Anyway, after all the heat this past summer they decided to take me to a specialist for BOAS surgery to help me breathe better.

As you can see I was a little nervous when we went in for our appointment, even though I made a new friend.

The vet was very nice. He trimmed a bit of my soft palate away to open up my airway. Then I got a nose job! How do you like these new nostrils?

This was taken in the car on the trip home a few weeks ago. I’ve been feeling pretty perky ever since. You could say the operation has given me a new lease on life. I’m sure giving my roommate Humphrey a run for his money. He’s a much better breather than me and pretty light on his feet despite his heart murmur.

A bit of a show off! Sorry for the pooch porn.

You see, that’s the thing with us purebreds. We’re prone to certain congenital problems thanks to all that breeding. So even if people go to a reputable breeder, we tend to be a bit of a crap-shoot healthwise.

Speaking of health, I guess I’m pretty lucky. That’s twice in one year I’ve been under the knife.

Guess it’s not only cats who have nine lives, eh?

Note from Madame:

Thanks for taking over the guest post, Higgins. You certainly are a survivor! But I must say, you boys are a lot of work. I would suggest that anyone who is thinking of adopting a French bulldog as a pet consider a rescue. There are so many sweet Frenchies out there who have been abandoned.

Here is a link for friends in France. http://www.rescueboule.com/

Do you have a story of a rescue dog? Higgins and I would love to hear it!

 

Trop de la balle

Our Frenchie loves his balls.

Wait, you say. Don’t all dogs?

Mais non! If we’re talking about those balls, as a breed, most French bulldogs can’t reach theirs. Which makes for a lot less grooming (if that’s what you call it).

And if you’re talking about the other kind, also non.

We have two (Frenchies, that is). One is a ball dog and the other is not. Humphrey’s only interest in balls is the potential to fight over them. He’s a scrapper, loves a game of tug-of-war and any other opportunity for one-upmanship.

Higgins, on the other hand, is 100% French ball dog. He has a collection of balls and other toys that he likes to run after, chew, even bring on walks. When I decide enough is enough, I have to distract him in order to get him to drop the ball. Obedience training has failed. He is, after all, French. And you try unwedging a rubber ball from a determined bulldog’s jaw!

For some reason, he also likes to drop the ball in the pool and then wait for me to come and fish it out. Sometimes I don’t obey right away (hey, I’m also French), and this happens.

But sometimes, I admit to using his toys as an attention-getting device. (“You don’t want to go outside in the cold? Here, go get it!”) Frenchies are hard-headed. You use any available means to get them to follow.

The problem is that Frenchies can destroy even vet-approved toys in minutes. So when we found a brand of heavy rubber ball that he could really sink his teeth into, he was a happy boy.

“C’est trop de la balle!” he told me, using familiar French to say ‘Wow, that’s awesome!’

Last week our Higgins was under the weather. He barfed his breakfast one morning, which was not that unusual. The next day he threw up some more. I still wasn’t worried.

On more than one occasion a vet has explained to me: “Dogs are a vomitory species.” Right, because their ancestors, wolves, notoriously regurgitate their dinners to feed the young.

But when he stopped eating entirely for three days, I knew something was up. The vet confirmed it, first by palpating his gut and finding it hard. Then with an x-ray that seemed to show some strange objects lodged in his large intestine. He had an obstruction, and surgery would be needed.

I was mystified. What on earth could he have eaten?

You guessed it. Trop de la balle. On Tuesday, the vet removed a 1-inch chunk of rubber ball, along with a piece of his intestine.

And it is absolutely awesome good luck that he has so far come through the operation and is recovering well. Operating on bulldogs can be tricky due to their respiratory challenges, so we spent a sleepless night or two. And we’ll be keeping a close eye out over the next ten days for infection. But so far so good.

I went to visit him at the vet’s yesterday. He seemed a little sad at first but perked right up when I got him some new toys. Vet approved and, fingers-crossed, bulldog-proof.

By the way, if you have a dog who likes to chew, do NOT buy him toys like this! They are very dangerous if a piece breaks off and gets stuck in the gut.