In my darkest hours, when I truly cannot stop wondering if we made a big mistake by rudely dumping Europe and getting back together with Vermont, and I'm lost in idealistic reveries of wandering the Marais district of Paris, or taking that last top- to- bottom run of the day in Courchevel, after downing the $8 chocolat chaud, I am often interrupted by the sounds of heavy panting, licking, whining, or overly- loud breathing of my aged dog, Ruby.
Only today did it occur to me that Ruby might be trying to tell me something. Something that goes like this: "Get over yourself, already. What about me, you heartless hussy? Are you not content, ecstatic even, to be reunited with your long-lost first born dog? Do you not remember the suffering I endured, while you were away?"
And my dog has a point. While she was adored and well cared for by my parents, pats and cookies on demand, I know she missed her family. And her family missed her.
We returned home just in time to join her in the autumn of her life. She is thirteen. She is our dog. We love her. She is not long for this life. She has experienced one old-dog problem after another since we got back, including that which should probably be addressed by a doggie psychologist, but which I'm hoping can be resolved with good old fashioned love, affection and constant reassurance from her clan.
Adding to the long list of hot spots, fungal skin rash, and worms, she has recently developed incontinence.
Poor girl. I couldnt' figure out what was making her so.. moist, on her back end for days. I thought she was licking herself, which she was, but never once did I suspect it was urine. Only after a friend suggested incontinence did I stick my head into her doggie bed and sniff deeply to discover that, yup, she's been wetting her pants. Bad mommy.
I suppose the fact that she doesn't wear pants gives me some excuse. And she hasn't been leaving puddles around, just wet spots where her perpetually wet rear end has lain. She is a leaky dog.
Turns out, I hope, that the leakage has to do with a negative reaction, common to old dogs, to prednisone, a drug she was prescribed for her festering under-the-chin hotspot. The hotspot I only discovered after giving her a bath with special shampoo for her fungus issue.
Poor girl, who knows how long this raw wound has been hiding out in her jowls. It reminds me of the time I was in the pediatrician's office with my beautiful six-month -old baby Esther, nursing her peacefully and proudly, while waiting for the doctor, and I noticed a foul smell. Where was it coming from? I checked her diaper. Nothing. I snuffled around her like only a mother can, and discovered the pong was coming from the vicinity of her chin. I forced her head back, no easy task, and there, hidden deep under the delicious folds of baby fat, was the most disgusting, gooey, stinky patch of last week's, or month's, drooled milk that had turned into a festering science experiment. I quickly stood up, she was still latched on, and wetted a paper towel at the sink and started to wipe it away when the doctor came in. Busted!
I was so ashamed. How could I have missed this on my sweet baby? I am not perfect after all.
At least I figured this wet-bottom dog problem out. As scattered as I am lately, it could have gone on much longer. I've been giving her daily baths and changing her bedding each night and, now that she's been off the Prednisone for a few days, she seems to have rounded the bend. This morning was the first morning in a solid week she woke up dry.
Hurray for dry doggies. Hurray for old doggies. Hurray for doggie/people reunions. Two years apart was long enough.
See latest Momformation post here.