Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Play Nurse, Part 5

Yesterday was a setback. Ripley wanted to play, and I let him. He grabbed a practically weightless toy I’d put in his crate as a pillow and ran round the couch with it in his mouth, his tail wagging, ready for fun.

What could it hurt? I thought, trusting his animal instincts to know what he was up for and, frankly, pleased to see him feisty again, after days of slouching and simpering.

So I tossed the toy up in the air, underhanded and light, but he miscalculated its trajectory, and so the toy hit him on the head … and he yelped as if he had been struck with a stick. His whole body trembled in the way it does when he’s cold, anxious, or hurt. So high energy level was no proof that his neck and spine were whole again. My mistake.

Fair and square, I had been warned that I should tightly restrict his movements for several weeks, but I was overly encouraged by his chipper attitude and strongly desiring to see my old friend back in top form.

He was shaking with pain, so I gave him one of his muscle relaxers and a glucosamine treat that a MySpace friend had recommended (thanks, Moosehammer!). Then I cut the end off one of my socks and used the elasticized part as a sort of neck brace, which I stuffed with Blue Ice strips—a modification of a recommendation of a Facebook friend whose whippet had had the same symptoms in January (thanks, Pam!).

I let him nestle next to my leg on the couch while I read, and in just a matter of minutes he was calm and restful … and he’s been more or less himself again for the past 24 hours. In fact, he’s back to giving himself long satisfying shimmies to limber up, which for quite a while now he’d been cutting short, because of pain.

So I hope we have both learned our lessons. We will see. Just minutes ago he grabbed his toy again and held it, staring up at me, his tail flapping back and forth. With some regret, I told him to put the toy down and get in his crate.

1 comment:

  1. It's a new day. I would still like to learn to ski, or roller blade, and I have the energy for it but there are some things that a body past the age of forty should not try.

    Ripley /feels/ no different than he did when he was a pup, no more than you or I /feel/ any differently than when we were spry young things in our 20's.

    The difference is that we /know/ we can't do the same things we did when we were that young and Ripley does not.

    I went through the same thing with China. After he got sick he still wanted to chase his laser light and the one time I gave in and let him he hurt himself and I never brought it back out after that no matter how much he begged. The memory of his agony outweighed the memory of his joys in chasing it.

    Cherish the time you have left. It's all about quality now. You've given Ripley a happy home and a rich full life. You've nothing to regret.



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