Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Old, Old Dog is Breaking My Heart

I'm worried about my old guy. He's been less than robust for--gosh--probably two years now. He stopped running with me not long after we returned from Hawaii, and that was April of 2005. Last May he had back surgery and you could say he's never fully recovered from that. Just when we had him going to the underwater doggie treadmill regularly to build up strength in his back legs, he developed a bladder stone which forced him onto antibiotics and out of the pool. At the same time, he developed a problem in his neck, likely another disk thing. His neurologist (yes, he has one) does not want him working out for a couple of months.

In the mean time, his back legs are getting weaker and weaker and he needs lots of help--I mean LOTS of help--getting around. This I don't mind a bit. We take him to work and we don't leave him alone ever--not more than a couple of hours. He simply cannot get up by himself. He's peeing on his blankets and pee pads and himself and just when I think he's got to be miserable, he grabs his tennis ball and starts chomping on it. Or he starts barking at a passing dog outside our fence. You'd better just keep gettin' it, buddy, 'cause if you don't, I'm gonna come through that fence and tear you up. His appetite is extremely hearty. Dog wolfs down food. Film at eleven. He has light in his eyes and a smile on his face. He's the freakin' energizer bunny because he just will not quit.

It's as if he doesn't know he can't walk worth a shit. Or he doesn't see the faces of people, looking upon him with pity. Or he doesn't hear them: "Poor, poor dog. I feel so sorry for him." Well, lady, I feel sorry for him too. And there is little I can do for him that I'm not already doing. And how do you think that makes me feel? This dog is my heart. I know I won't have him much longer. And I know that could be a week or a month or four months.

He simply will not give up. And until he does, I will not give up on him. But it breaks my heart just the same. It breaks my heart to see him struggle. It breaks my heart to see him fall down and hear the sound of his hip hitting the floor, as I'm running toward him to try to catch him. It breaks my heart to see him lose control of his, let's say, "functions."

I know that many, many pet OWNERS (and I use this term deliberately) would draw the line at the "ohmygawd he's peeing on ____________(fill in the blank: the carpet, his bed, the kitchen floor)". And I know that many, many people look at us (dear husband and I) like we are crazy or cruel, making him go through this every day.

We're not crazy. We believe we are doing the best we can for him. We hope that some day, when we can't control our bladders, a kind soul will mop up around us. And for however long it takes until he shows us he doesn't want to be here anymore, we'll keep doing it for him. And I just keep drinking Old Vine Zin, thinking maybe it will fill the holes in my heart.

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