Home Community News DOG DAYS (& NIGHTS) by Jim Redwine

DOG DAYS (& NIGHTS) by Jim Redwine

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Gavel Gamut

By Jim Redwine

(Week of 22 June 2015)

DOG DAYS (& NIGHTS)

Our dog, Haley, is seventy-six years old. That is, she would be if she actually were a person as Peg treats her. Special food, multiple medications, frequent doctor visits, sweaters over her fur coat, help with climbing up stairs and into vehicles and accidents on our white carpet have replaced cute antics and usefulness, such as barking at unsolicited solicitors.

At fifteen, Peg’s/our Miniature Schnauzer is definitely a senior dog. The Pedigree Dog Food Company website suggests patience and understanding with older dogs. Pedigree asserts older dogs may have hip dysplasia or arthritis along with incontinence, cataracts, deafness, loss of teeth and confusion. Haley must have read this because she has them all.

Of course, each condition must be addressed, or so demands Peg, and each can be frustrating and expensive. I was bemused to find that one of the suggested solutions to carpet wetting was to buy a child’s playpen and use it at night. I have known plenty of people who treat their pets like children and over the years in my work I have encountered some parents who treat their animals better than their kids.

We have been observing, and experiencing, Haley’s aging over the past few years. Peg has approached the situation much as she did with her beloved mother who needed more and more care. Peg would remind herself, and me, that her mother had done those things for her that only a mother and some fathers would do. As Peg said, her mom would have preferred to be a caregiver rather than a dependent but Mother Nature always ends up making those decisions.

These issues came into sharp focus last night when I got up, as I often do now, and stepped a bare foot into something wet. As I had just put Haley outside only two hours earlier when we both woke up, I was not amused. My first response was to be sure Peg did not sleep through my experience.

“This dog is useless. She sleeps all day and urinates all night. It is time we did something!”

“Okay, Jim, what should we do? Haley has been a good friend to us for fifteen years. Now she has problems that are beyond her control. Let’s talk about some other issues.

“Not that many years ago you would come home from work on a Friday and accomplish some job around here then we’d go out for dinner and dance for hours. Now you sit down and fall asleep in front of the Idiot Box until you finally go to bed.

“Also, we used to have long conversations about interesting things. Now you don’t hear half of what I say.” (I am filling this in as I couldn’t make out what she was saying.)

“Remember when we’d race each other down ski slopes and take long walks in the evening? Now, you act as if getting off the couch is an Olympic event. Also, you eat antacids the way you used to eat hot dogs at the ballgames we used to go to.”

I began to experience a slight uneasiness. “Just what are you trying to imply?”

“What I am clearly saying is, if you want to punish Haley for getting old, we had better find Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth as time and tide waits for no one.”

Even though I felt Peg’s trite use of worn clichés was in-apropos, out of an abundance of caution I said, “Well, maybe we can just buy yellow carpet.”

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