I Need A Stressbuster

It’s Friday and the end of one of the most stressful weeks I can ever recall.

It began on Monday with a visit to the doc’s concerning my damaged ankle and the problems it was causing my arthritic hip and knee. At the same time, my daughter was hospitalised for various tests. That was rapidly followed by the imminent publication of Life With Arfur and a flurry of last minute bits and pieces we need to get in place before May 10th.

But the major source of concern this week has been Joe. As you can see he has that Bart Simpson-ish look of angelic innocence which hides a crooked halo.

Joe’s not been his usual self for a while, and repeated visits to the vet failed to identify the cause. On Wednesday, he rushed upstairs to greet the missus and when he got there, he collapsed. By the time I got up there, he was peeing all over the carpet. Involuntary, I might add. He couldn’t help it, but you could see it simply added to his distress.

We rushed him to the vet’s and they checked him over, provided a range of prescription drugs and sent us home to fast him for tests on Thursday.

What came out of those X-rays was interesting.

First off, Joe is good deal older than we were led to believe. A rescue dog, he was found wandering the streets of Manchester and taken to a dogs’ home, where we adopted him. They told us he was about two years old and he was very good with other dogs.

He hates other dogs. They didn’t know because he couldn’t bark. He had pneumonia.

We got him through that, and gave him the kind of home all dogs deserve. Comfortable, caring, but encouraging good discipline.

According to our vet, it’s extremely difficult to tell an adult dog’s age, especially when his teeth are as crooked as Joe’s. If we believe the dogs’ home’s estimate, he would now be about seven. The vet reckons he is closer to eleven or twelve. And that explains so much about his health.

The X-rays revealed that he has a chronic disorder affecting his left lung. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s what makes him breathless. When he galloped up the stairs, he literally ran out of breath, which is why he collapsed. He’s on medication for the rest of his life and we’re treating him as geriatric dog.

So we know he’s slightly arthritic, just like me. He has high blood pressure for which he’s on the same prescription as me, albeit in lower doses. And now, he’s short on breath… just like me.

Only his Ventolin comes in pill form.

Still, collecting Joe from the vet’s on Thursday evening, now aware of what we’re dealing with, was the stressbuster I needed and I’m very much calmer today.


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