Monday, February 25, 2013

Encompassing Pen

Getting a new pet is no less enthusiasm-inducing and perspective-whacking than getting a new love or home or car or even computer.  July started me on the track of in-love-with-a-new-pet experiences, but October made it a revelation.  Pen isn't the first dog I've adopted on my own, of course - and I have been the sole and joint adopter of four cats now, over twenty-odd years.  But she has been the single most obsessively absorbing pet adoption experience I've ever had, and make no mistake that's been a positive for both of us.

Losing Sweet Siddy La didn't damage my focus nor expectations.  I had been blessed in her for three months shy of a decade; so, knowing that I wanted to have a dog again after she died, I knew too that I wanted to adopt mature again, a dog willing to relax and lie down, a dog of similar traits and temperament to her.  She was, after all, the Best Dog in the History of Ever.

Of course, the magic of dogs is:  they all have that in them.

Pen will be a best dog, too.  But not because she is so like Liddle La was.

Her puppyhood has been massively trying; I've blogged about how literally dispiriting it has gotten at times, living in a toilet, despairing of communicating with her - the harrowing horror of her running away.  I keep the faith and adore her to pieces, but this past couple of weeks since she came home from the shelter has gotten worrying.  Once last week and again today, she's had enough stomach distress to cause the most profound and pitiful regression, both times in her cage while I was at work.  This results in a remediation effort of task upon task.  Today's special was exceptionally liquid, so I put on clothing meant only to be worn long enough to get her bathed, laid out her shampoo and put away some things I didn't want getting splashed, and finally physically carried her filthy body upstairs.  She was such a good girl, but HATES a bath so.  And this wasn't a cursory dunking, either; I spent a good long time on her, lathering up everything possible, squishing the soap between her digits, rinsing her as well as possible too.  Bless her, she behaved for it, though the fear and loathing did stop her long enough to pee on the bathroom floor.  I didn't even scold her, poor baby.

The bath, of course, is only the beginning; then it's time to clean the cage.  Then it's time to clean the floor in the room where Goss's litter is - because while I've been doing all this, she's gone in there and messed again. She is clearly in distress, and I need to get her in to the vet.  In every way she appears normal and healthy - even eating her kibble with average appetite.  But two iterations of bath, cleanup, disinfection, and all the attendant bathroom scrubbing and me scrubbing and the sheer back pain and excess of effort is one too many to tell me I need to take care of this girl, and I'm ashamed I didn't think "vet" sooner.  I'm a little bit flailing, and a whole lot alone, and sometimes I allow the overwhelming to paralyze me too easily.

The fear, of course, is that she caught something nasty during her three days at the pound.  The hope is that she's just sensitive to something about her diet.  Whatever the case, the prayer is that she can be happy and well and un-marinated in her own excretions in future.

But tonight she's had to go outside twice already, and it's a little pitiful how long she "tries" to be a good girl outside.  I'm not quite sure how to manage tomorrow, but maybe I'll have to get her in sooner rather than later, and just take the afternoon off and hope she can make it the morning.

For me, for now, it's bed pretty darn early, and acetaminophen first.

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