High Maintenance… the point

The previous post was really just the first part, but I published it so I could break up my computer time with my “take the dogs out, bring the dogs in” routine; and so I could sit under the ceiling fan with my clipboard in my lap and write with my big fat pen.  I still prefer to compose with my low tech tools.

My point in going on about all the stuff I have to do for the next few weeks for the Puppy was that it’s not really a big deal. I’ve been here before. My first dog was a dachshund with a chronic/recurring case of some mild form of mange — his vet called it “red mange.” Almost every summer we would have to put him on a schedule of twice or three times weekly baths with medicated shampoo that had to be left on his coat/skin for ten minutes, then rinsed out. This was usually my job, although my brother or one of our parents would often be on hand to help (mostly to keep him from running off while soapy and rolling in the dirt somewhere). At some point he apparently outgrew the condition, or the repeated treatments eventually eliminated all the mange bugs and all generations of their offspring, because I remember a lot of summers in his later years when I didn’t have to bathe him every other day.

At some point in their lives all my dogs have become high maintenance.  Even my easy, breezy, beautiful basenjis have had their share of glitches, although until now they mostly showed up as the dogs got older — like 13 or 14. And I always just figure out how to deal with it. Like these baths. Giving dogs baths in the tub in the house KILLS my back. Don’t want to go there. Same for a tub on the ground out in the yard. So I found a little plastic table about knee high that the tub just fits on. The little monsters darlings are less likely to jump out of a tub a little higher off the ground, especially if it also wobbles just a tiny bit.

When the Old Guy had his second stroke last fall I had to help him walk by holding his leash taut enough to hold his head steady. I had to carry him down the front steps and set him on his feet in the yard. Then I had to carry him back up the steps and set him on his feet in the house (I’m so glad I graduated from great Danes to smaller dogs). And I used a towel as a sling under his middle to hold him up on his feet while he ate. It’s just what I do. What anyone would do for someone who gives so much trust and affection and asks for so little in return.

It’s what I thought I was doing when I came home from Kentucky to look after my father after he had his stroke. But was it that simple? Oh, no.

(To be continued…)

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