If you follow
my whining me on twitter, you’ll know that I’ve spent the past week dog sitting. Which isn’t a problem, generally. I mean, I always complain, but I’ve rather gotten used to sleeping in their bed and the lack of really hot water in the shower (it’s summer, it’s fine). The dog is always a stressor, because he’s more work for me than I have to tend in my daily life, but this year it’s rough.
As you can probably tell by his picture, Duke is a geriatric pup. He’s gotten more and more white as the years have gone by, and although I’m not sure of his age, I’m guessing it’s around ten or twelve, which is about peak for a Labrador, and he’s a Chocolate Lab. He was a handful as a puppy, but he’s also raised three kids to five years old, and taught them to respect dogs and how to behave around dogs, and not to be afraid of big dogs (even when they plow right over you when you’re just learning to stand).
He’s old. He has a breathing problem (he pants a lot, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just because it’s hot most of the time), is going blind and deaf, and has terrible hips. The hips especially have taken a swift downturn recently, where when he’s walking on the tile (seen here with him sleeping), his hind legs will just slip out from under him and plop him on the floor. He’s pretty chill about it. He just sort of sighs and says Well, I guess I’ll lie here then.
Of course, putting carpeting down would be a good solution to this problem. Except in his old age he also has some bathroom issues, which I’ve ranted about enough on Twitter that I’ll spare you the details. But it’s messy. And frustrating. And STINKS. And I can’t really be mad at him because he’s just an old dog doing his best.
Another problem with the hips is going up and down stairs. Thankfully he can pretty much live in the downstairs, but when he has to go out, he has to go down five porch steps. Which he usually does without completely collapsing (but every time he collapses it breaks my heart). But most times to get back up the steps, I have to grab him by the hips and walk his hind legs up the steps while he works the front end. We’ve actually gotten pretty good at it. (His owner made a ramp right before he left to try to avoid this problem, since the level of hip issue has turned suddenly for the worse, but the ramp seems to cause us more problems than solutions, so we’re doing it our way.)
So some mornings I get woken up by whining at 4 am because he’s fallen and he can’t get up (I’m serious), and I trudge downstairs and haul him to his feet and then let him out to pee (because why risk it) and then trudge back to bed. That’s better than the second morning when I woke up to…well, we won’t discuss that.
But he’s a lovely creature, and while I wish his owner would have given me a bit more warning about what I was stepping into, I can’t blame the dog. Even when I leave him out in the cool porch where he has food, water, and easy walking turf, plus access to potty space, and yet he LOOKS in the window like I’ve betrayed him. Okay, I may blame him a little for that.
The house itself is lovely. The owner has a fantastic sense of style, and has added a few touches that I appreciate.
Yes, those are tea kettles that say “Green Tea” “Ceylon Tea” and “Oolong Tea” in the kitchen. They also have a gas range stove, which I only really care about because it heats my tea water so quickly.
The reason I’m (over?)sharing this is because I came into this week with GRAND plans of productivity. That was, until I met my charge for the week and realized how much time and effort was going to go into caring for him. Which is partially an excuse (because I still have time to watch the entire second season of Daredevil), but also can be emotionally draining. Bargaining with a dog is futile. Bargaining with a partially deaf/blind dog is the beginnings of insanity. But there’s really not any other choice.
That said, I still outlined a Christmas novella(?) that was supposed to be 20K at max, but the outline seems to be sort of long for that. But who knows. I wrote it out by hand in a tiny notebook, so maybe it’s just the right length.