Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Did I mention that I'm keeping the dog?

Katie took this photo of Maddie watching her friend Simba
swim earlier this
fall. Below left, Ben shares the couch with the dog.

Good medicine is underfoot. It is also on my couch and frequently by my side.
It is the dog that I threatened to give up over the summer.

In August, I wrote a querulous post headlined, “Does Anyone Want a Dog?” It was about my frustration with at a year and a half. No matter how often we walked her, she frequently left us a “present” on her favorite spot in the kitchen, which had begun to smell like a kennel.

Finally I came up with a solution. I had kept her downstairs overnight, giving her the run of the dining room and kitchen, because I kind of liked the idea not sharing my bedroom with her. But I broke down and got her a new LLBean bed and put it in my room. At first she woke me up at crazy hours like 4 a.m., insisting on going out. I took her out and then left her downstairs and went back up for more much-needed rest. Eventually she slept to a more respectable hour, say around 6 or 6:30 a.m.
But even after going out, with nothing in her stomach, she sometimes still had an accident on the floor. I had one other idea: Let her sleep on the couch. She really likes the couch but we kept shooing her off. Except for when I had a lapdog as a child, I never let my big dogs on the couch. I decided I could make an exception for this medium-sized dog.

So I put one of my mother’s afghans in the dog’s favorite corner and let her hang out there when I went back upstairs. And that was the end of the messing on the floor. That side of the couch, meanwhile, has become the dog’s spot. I guess that means she’s spoiled, but she is well-behaved in most other ways. And I like sitting next to her while we watch TV or read. I can cuddle with her without having to get down on the floor. I can understand why they take dogs to hospitals and nursing homes for therapeutic purposes. There is something incredibly calming about petting and snuggling up with a dog, feeling its heart beating. I’m not a cat person, but I suppose cat-lovers find similar rewards in being close to their animals.

Now Maddie seems to prefer spending the whole night on the couch. She jumps right up there and curls up in her spot after our last walk of
the night. When I hear Katie getting ready for school in the morning, I stumble downstairs, walk the dog, then go back up for a couple of hours without really waking up. The downside with dogs, of course, is that you have to walk them in bad weather. I usually don’t really mind, because it gets me out. I will find out tomorrow where my hematocrit level is, but I figure it can’t be that bad because I just walked a couple of miles with her, fueled by a black and white cookie (OK, three cookies, but they were minis).

I thought of coming home after my first loop, because my legs felt a little heavy and I was getting a bit winded going up a hill. Yesterday I cut it short because I wasn’t feeling that great. But today, either out of stubbornness or to prove to myself that I’m OK or to give the dog her usual workout, I went twice around the lake.

When I came home, my head was pounding a little and I could feel my heart beating. (Should I admit this? Well I guess I just did). It felt good to touch my toes and let my head hang down. The dog came over and nuzzled me. Good dog.


Claudia said...

Ronni, I enjoyed your blog, but you can't convince me that I want a animal around the house, no matter how comforting they might be. If Katie needs company Thurs or Friday night or over the weekend we are around.

Don said...

I'm so glad she is working out....I can't imagine have more than one dog, but I love having our little Cooper underfoot. Hope you're feeling well Ronnie. I miss you.

Don Treeger

One Mother with Cancer said...


I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for all of your support. When the time gets closer for my transplant, I may hit you up with some questions if that's ok.

Thanks again,

Diane said...

Love those photos and your post. She is adorable and it's wonderful that she gives you so much comfort.

Rooster said...

I can't totally relate it is the same way with our Boxer, I did not even want to deal with a dog at first, especially when I got sick, I agreed to him more for the family...but now it's different, he has pretty much become my dog & is quite the supporter & motivator especially on my days when I just don't have the energy.


Susan C said...

That's a wonderful photo of the dogs in the water.

A chihuahua wormed its way into our house in August as a "temporary" arrangement (via daughter). But once a dog gets its paw in the door, it's hard to get it out again.

Nelle said...

Is this your NEW couch? LOL
I am a huge dog lover. For the past twenty years I have had shelties aka Shetland Sheepdogs. They have given me so much unconditional love and joy. Like me, they have quirks. My current furboy, Duffy is a lunatic. He barks at a leaf blowing across the yard! When I had the health problems I had a portion of my yard fenced in for him. I walk him sometimes but often I let him go out and do his business in the fenced in area. We pooper scoop it later. Last but not least you MUST get an IPOD! You can make your tunes from CDS you own already and then buy ONE song for a dollar instead of an entire CD. I love mine. Especially great at dr. offices for distractions! Give your dog a hug for me.:)

Susanne- K9 Etiquette said...

Thats wonderful. I'm so glad Maddie is finally working out and helping you feel better in more ways than one. I think every dog goes through a stressful adjustment period but it's always wonderful when it works out. I'm so happy for all of you! Susanne