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The indignities of age - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
guysterrules
guysterrules
The indignities of age
“Are you deaf?” her speech was loud and slurred when she leaned down to Bob in our lobby, her white wine almost sloshing on him. In her mid-forties, she was sausaged into a little cocktail dress for the building’s "Goodbye Isabel" party last week. Bob and I were just trying to sneak our way through the gathered residents on our way back from a walk. Bob looked up at me, helplessly.

“No, he hears just fine,” I said as I tugged on his leash toward the elevators. Then, out of earshot, I muttered, “And he finds grotesque cunts like you repulsive.” It’s not the first time Bob and I have been faced with coarse questions about his health or age. It happens constantly.

“Oh, look at how white his beard is! How old is he?” That is a common query and one as irritating as it would be to Blanche Du Bois. I answer honestly. “Thirteen,” and then we get the look. It reads, Oh you poor thing. You’re on your last legs. Not much time left for you, is there? Tick tock. Bob doesn’t notice it as much as I do and when the look comes, I want to scoop him up in my arms and whisk him away from their awful thoughts and tell him he’s still my puppy and always will be.


The worst came on Friday when I was in Jodi’s office at day’s end and we were just sitting around with Gretchen, a beautiful young blond who is in our department, and Jodi asked it. I told her and she said, “Oh, labs don’t go much beyond thirteen.” Now if it were just Jodi The Friend, I would have said, “How fucking dare you say that to me when you know all that’s happened.” But it was Jodi My Boss, so I kept silent.

Bob is fine. He is spry and feisty although his hearing is diminished and he becomes more flustered and less confident than he did in Venice. His momentary confusions I chalk up to the massive move he just made and his constantly trying to find his bearings. The former, however, is just the truth of age.

On Thursday night, I was truly worried. I came home, fed Bob and started to watch Survivor. Bob was unusually restless. Normally he would be on the couch with me, post-meal, and watching his favorite show too. But he was roaming around and looking at the door. It was an hour before his bedtime walk and I told him, "Dammit, Bob, it’s tribal council! Not now!" But his malaise became louder. I paused the show and grabbed his leash that sent him into a frenzy of circles and yelps.

In the hallway, his stomach looked bloated and he kept looking up at me with pleading eyes. Once we got into the elevator, the flat of his head rested against the brushed aluminum of the double doors. When it opened, he bolted through the lobby and out the door we went. Immediately his bowels let loose a torrent of viscous yellow liquid in front of the elegant potted plants that flank the building’s entry. He had never had that kind of diarrhea, ever, and I was worried.

We went upstairs where I tried to comfort him and he drank from his water bowl like a camel at an oasis. I gently petted him on the couch and I worried. I wrote a note to Reginald, the dog walker, telling him of what had just happened. I implored Reginald to call me the next day at the office and let me know if it was continuing.

I got a voicemail the next day from him saying, “I am so sorry about Bob. I gave him a rib bone, a smoker. My other clients really like them. I’ll never do that again with Bob.” Indeed you won’t, Reg. I heaved a sigh of relief, knowing it was nothing more than a bad diet choice.

I left him a note this morning, explaining Bob never gets people food and if he wants to give Bob a treat, there are glucosamine cookies on the kitchen counter. I resisted berating him for a stupid and assumptive decision.

Bob is in good health. He’s an alert and happy thirteen. Both of us are tired of the sad sack looks we get when his age is revealed. But he is dignified about it and I willfully play in the land of denial.

Current Music: CNN

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Comments
backawayslowly From: backawayslowly Date: September 29th, 2003 07:44 am (UTC) (Link)
omg. you have NO IDEA how nervous the beginning of this post made me.

phew.
From: danman869 Date: September 29th, 2003 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
What a sweetie Bob is. There is a dog grooming shop next door to my office, so all day long (especially on Saturdays), I watch doggies (and some kitties, too) trot in and out of there. The best was the other day when a pretty golden retriever literally DANCED his way back to his master's car, looking up at him a few times on the way. I laughed out loud.

I love cats, but dogs can be so wonderful!
brianrdu From: brianrdu Date: September 29th, 2003 08:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I was in mid-stretch at my desk when I read that this:

“And he finds grotesque cunts like you repulsive.”

I think I made a sound halfway between a laugh and a snort, because several people came in and asked if I was alright.

Anyway, I have a friend that's a dog person, and every time she sees my Jake, she says his face is whiter. To me he's every bit as crazy and puppyish as ever. So I also find it annoying when I'm told he's looking older. And everybody also says he's fat. Hello? My boy's not fat. He's muscular. He weighed 39 pounds when I sprang him from the pokey about 6 years ago, and now he's around 50. It's muscles. I sound like I'm in denial, don't I? I can see ribs ever so slightly, we walk 2 miles almost every morning, and he never gets people food either. Unless I'm steaming some broccoli, or brussels sprouts or yellow squash, all of which he seems to fetishize.
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: September 29th, 2003 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jodi the boss versus Jodi the friend. Where is your little mexican hoochy when you need someone to shoot the shit with.
GO BOB GO!
I enjoyed your last post and was relieved, no pun intended, to hear that it was just poor diet choices on the part of the dog walker. Sure we are all mortal but hell who needs to be reminded of it? Not me. I will willfully play in the land of denial till the bitter end.

Be well boys.
ciao connor

ps the weekend with El was awesome. God it kills me to leave her. So I just store up the 36 hours of cuddling, laughing, giggling, drawing, painting, eating out and just chatting. Uh I also was caught up on her newest habit of burping and farting. more in my next entry.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: September 29th, 2003 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
26 hours for Elli and Connor ain't bad. I'm really glad you had a great time.

My little latina is back in Venice, hunched over an editing bay and happy as a clam.
From: inkprincess Date: September 29th, 2003 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
DO you find that the glucosamine works for Bob? I just got some for Sumo yesterday. hoping his joints won't be so stiff and achey. Glad he's better and it was just bad food and not his health.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: September 29th, 2003 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glucosamine definitely makes a difference. Start him on it right away. You can get chewables from Veterinarian's Best or you can get pills that you can mix with his food. He needs about 1000 mg. a day.
From: inkprincess Date: September 29th, 2003 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got some at petco. from Hartz. tablets. How long did it take to notice a difference? have no clue about the mg...must check.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: September 29th, 2003 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a cumulative effect. It isn't a sudden cure bit more of a preventative measure. If he's having hip pain, the doc might prescribe Rimadyl but the glucosamine will make a difference as well.
raptusanxieux From: raptusanxieux Date: September 29th, 2003 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
On my list of client questions is, "Can he have treats, and what kind are OK?" Once in a while I'll give a dog in the shop a crust off my sandwich, but a smoked bone is a little extravagant. Bet Bob liked his bone, but not the end result.
Thirteen is NOT ancient for a lab! I've known 17 and 18 year old labs, and a 22 year old cocker spaniel, to boot! Pets are getting longer and longer lifespans these days with all the improved dog foods and what-not.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: September 29th, 2003 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmmm. Thank you for saying that. I'm taking it to the bank.
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