Me and my exceptionally healthy dogs

This post was supposed to be about my volunteer orientation at the Humane Society, but I had a crazy sore throat on Friday, and had to sleep all day Saturday (missing the orientation for this month) to rid myself of the cold demon. It worked, but made for a bummer of a weekend, especially since I already had a cold of the cough variety for two-plus weeks in January.

Back then, I wrote the following, but never posted it.

Jan. 13: My poor doggies spent all of last week indoors while I sat in the recliner and watched all three seasons of Veronica Mars. Around the country, dogs were confined because of the polar vortex, or because their owners had the flu. I didn’t have the flu. For the first two days, I didn’t know what I had. Headache, chest pains, and the early rumblings of a cough. Since I suffer from headaches so frequently, and no over-the-counter medication makes any difference, I didn’t take anything for my illness, just sat on the recliner and watched television.

Those first two days were confusing. What is this? Am I getting better? Am I justified in taking the day off work? I decided that the time off work was appropriate; the litmus test being that if I can’t get up to take the dogs for a walk, I must be sick.

By day three, I had a cough for real. Oh, yeah, I have a cold. Now I know what to expect.

I was reminded of my endless recovery from a tonsillectomy. There’s something very scary about not knowing when one will get better. Is this going to be forever?

Once I knew it was just a cold, I rolled with it, but I still felt bad for the dogs. They didn’t complain, though, just slept on the couches beside me all day long. Around three each day, they did a little wrestling that forced me to pause my show because I couldn’t hear it over their rumbling. I’m constantly worried that they aren’t getting enough stimulation, and when I’m sitting beside them all day, I know they aren’t getting enough.

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Yeah, I felt so guilty, I didn’t want to tell the Internet how badly I was failing to stimulate my dogs. Once I was well enough to get off my butt, we started doing nose work in the garage, and I’m committed to walking them more often.

I also hadn’t taken either of them to the vet in more than a year. The last time I took Mia, our very nice doctor suggested that she lose some weight. We worked on that for a while, and I even walked the dogs to the vet’s office just to weigh her so we could track her progress. When the pounds failed to melt away (on either of us), I sort of gave up on that, and have been afraid to take her back.

Can you believe it? Our society’s obsession with body weight made me afraid to take my dog to the vet! But then I heard an episode of Fernando Camacho’s wonderful podcast, The Great Dog Adventure, about caring for a senior dog, and it reminded me of my negligence.

Something else was at work, too. I was afraid that if we took Mia to the vet, she might get diagnosed with something terrible. Three years ago, our beloved Isis died suddenly from something I don’t think we could have prevented. Part of me wanted to stick my head in the sand with Mia. We’re going to lose her someday, better to enjoy every minute, since we can’t prevent it anyway. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on dog medical treatment if she’s just going to die anyway.

We kept getting postcards saying that Leo was overdue for his checkup, so I faced my fear and took them both in this morning. This could be a good tradition: taking my dogs for their checkup around the anniversary of Isis’s death, to remind myself that I am doing everything possible to take the best care of them I possibly can.

Long story short: They’re both in fantastic health. The vet called them “exceptionally healthy dogs.” Glossy coats, no sign of pain in their joints. He admired Leo’s magnificent teeth and cringed when I told him my secret is “raw bones.” Our vet clinic doesn’t recommend a raw diet, but the doctor couldn’t argue with the results!

At 97.7 pounds, even Leo could stand to lose 5 pounds, according to the vet, but I think he looks pretty lean. He’s a big boy! I was surprised he hadn’t topped 100 pounds. Mia, on the other hand, weighed 89 pounds, having lost 2 pounds since her last visit.

I’ll take it.

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8 thoughts on “Me and my exceptionally healthy dogs

  1. You are very healthy pups and about the same size as me and sisfur Nalle! We are 85-90 lbs! Wooooowoooooooo!

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself – I think we’re all guilty of putting off wellness visits if there’s not evidence of anything being wrong – I know have. I’m glad that you’re feeling better and you’re doggies are doing great. And thanks so much for your kind words on my podcast – it’s people like you that keep me doing it every week. Keep up the good work – love the blog!

  3. I know that feeling of if I can’t walk the dogs I must be sick. That is the same test that I use to determine my level of health. Veruca, my shepherd mix, was putting on a little weight about a year ago but is now down to a healthy 80 pounds. Our weight control for this winter has been to cover at least 2 miles a day, but we haven’t reached that lately with the extreme cold. Luckily she doesn’t put on the weight as fast as I do. Love the blog, keep posting great content.

  4. Hooray for healthy pups. Sometimes it is scary to take them in, and you think maybe you’d rather not know but I try to remind myself that it’s usually better to know. Hope you are feeling better.

  5. KUDOS! I have similar pets with you but I have cats also, one time I had fever and my pets really feel that I’m so weak that time and the all stayed by my side for almost the rest of the day.

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