When I got first Dawg, I discovered that he was a “silent signaler” and had several episodes of wet carpet syndrome before we figured out that him walking by the door and glancing at it was his way of saying “I need to go out”. So I slept in my chair by the door for the first month in order to catch his “warning”. Eventually he learned to come get/wake me (by poking me with his nose) when he needed to go out. If that didn’t get me moving, he’d start to whine, saying (in dog talk), “I really need to go — now!” But life goes on, and all things change. In other words, we’ve gone back to the beginning.
Dawg’s physical condition has deteriorated over the past three years. Although he’s still a happy dog, what started as an occasional problem in his neck has developed into constant pain. So, back to the vet’s we went. X-rays told us that this entire spine is now involved, as well as both hip joints. So for the next two weeks he’s on a course of prednisone, which means he’s thirsty all the time, which means he drinks all the time.
Normally I walk Dawg every six hours. He doesn’t need to go that often, but it breaks up the day for him (Bouvs nap a lot if you let them), and gives him different smells to enjoy. Since a dog utilizes smells to orient himself in the world (depending on the breed, a dog’s smell center is anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s), it’s important that he get a chance to “smell” new stuff on a regular basis. That’s why I vary where Dawg exercises — so that everything will smell different. (Well, when we arrive, anyway. It all pretty much smells the same by the time we leave.)After he started taking the steroid, however, I added pop-outs (you know, I open the door and he pops out into the yard) at the half-way mark. So, every three hours, Dawg got the chance to empty his bladder. Turns out, that wasn’t often enough. He had two “accidents” within 48 hours of taking his first dose.
So I moved the pop-outs to every two hours. That seemed to solve the problem (so far), but it’s leaving me a sleep-deprived wreck. (I mean, even more than usual.) I can’t wait until this exercise in self-induced torture is over. When it started I was saying to myself, “It’s only a couple of weeks — no problem.” Now I’m already wondering if I’m going to make it. And I still have 10 days to go!
What was that? Was Dawg whining again? It’s only been 30 minutes for goodness sakes! Well, I’d better not risk it. If you don’t hear from me again, try the loony bin. I’ll probably be in there, in a nice, quiet, padded cell, trying to sleep. Okay, okay, I’m coming! Don’t–not there…oh, Dawg…