I’ve always been sort of a wuss about my dogs, but just typing the headline above made tears spring into my eyes. Otto is fine, but he also just turned 13 years old and has a few health conditions my veterinarians and I are watching carefully. (Yes, of course I have more than one veterinarian on Otto’s healthcare team!) Thank dog for good insurance, which has been paying for semi-annual abdominal ultrasound examinations (keeping tabs on some growths on his liver) and blood and urine tests. I may not be able to keep him from getting older, but I am not going to be surprised by some long-developing condition, by golly.
But I have to say, it pains me to see him struggle ever so slightly to get up from a nap sometimes. Or to start panting suddenly, even when it’s not hot and we are just laying around. Or to feel yet another lump under his skin when I’m massaging his neck (his favorite) or rubbing his tummy – he’s already got a dozen or so lipomas hidden under that scruffy coat.
I just can’t even believe it’s already November – and in a way, the November of my life with Otto.
Speaking of slowing down: On page 20, we have a review of products that are designed to slow your canine speed-eater down. Long-time contributor and dog trainer Stephanie Colman actually timed all of her poor dog’s meals, looking for the tools we could all use to help our dogs eat more slowly – perhaps even tasting the food before it goes down the hatch! I think I’m going to have to exert editorial privilege and ask Stephanie to ship the winning products to me; I’m always inventing ways to try to make meals last longer for my younger dog, Woody.
Woody got to model for a different article in this issue: On page 6, that’s him enjoying a little down-time with a food-stuffed Kong (just one of the tools I already employ to make him work for his calories). He’s demonstrating another one of my favorite dog-care tools, the tether, a short bit of plastic-coated cable with snaps on either end, which can be used to secure your dog in a safe, supervised, comfortable spot for a short time. The author of the article, WDJ Training Editor Pat Miller, is another long-time fan of tethers; she’ll tell you why she loves them so much in the article.
I couldn’t resist using another photo in the article, one that I took to accompany the first article Pat Miller wrote about tethers for WDJ – way back in 2001. The photos is of a young boy standing just out of the jumping-up range of a jumping Jack Russell Terrier. That boy is my son, and he’s 28 years old now.
See what I mean? Time flies. Don’t waste it. Go give your oldest dog an extra hug and a kiss, right now!