I didn’t realize how many rules I have for the care and feeding of my 12 year-old, blind, arthritic basset hound in the early stages of doggy dementia (canine cognitive dysfunction – CCD), until I had to document them. I have to be gone overnight, and my neighbor volunteered to look after her for 30 hours.
Blind Dog Rules
Don’t leave clutter on the floor.
If you need her to get up, making the kissy sound or the clicky sound with your mouth or saying, “Up up” in a high voice is your best bet.
If Rosie’s going to walk into a wall or other stationary object and you can’t reach her in time to stop her, warn her by saying, “Bump.”
If the skin tag on her nose bleeds after she bumps into a wall, it’s not a big deal.
You can use your legs to help guide where you want her to go – acting as a bumper for her.
All pills and treats are offered from the left side of her
Be careful she doesn’t walk off the curb or into cars during walkies. She prefers to walk on your right side.
If you need better control over her during walks, pull
directly upwards from her harness and walk her like a marionette puppet.
Arthritic Dog Rules
Arthritic bassets can’t scratch their ears, necks, or noses. You have to do it for them. Bonus if she makes happy mumble-grumble sounds.
Morning meds (3 pills) are given on a spoon with peanut butter. If the peanut butter drips, try to get it to land on her paw so she can lick it up.
Her CBD tincture is squirted into the left side of her mouth.
Stand just behind her shoulder blades, one foot on each side when giving her this.
Sometimes Rosie gets “stuck” temporarily in the downward dog position when trying to lay down. Resist the urge to push her butt down. She’ll do it on her own as her muscles are ready.
If Rosie picks up one of her back paws and holds it in the air,
she has a cramp in that butt muscle. Give it a good scratch to relax it.
Dementia Dog Rules
If Rosie walks in the wrong direction at mealtime, slide two
fingers under her collar to guide her to her bowl.
If Rosie starts pacing as if she’s lost in the house, give reassuring pets and tell her she’s a “good girl.”
If she has an accident in the house, it happens. Towels are
in the kitchen. Rug cleaner is above the washing machine. Hopefully it happens
on the concrete.
Before bedtime, dip the end of a treat in peanut butter, top
with half of a puppy sleeping pill, and give it to her. Otherwise she could be
up-and-down all night.
So many rules for a dog who sleeps 18 hours a day!
I’m also going to sleep in the same shirt for three nights and leave it behind in Rosie’s bed, so she has something that smells like her hooman.
As I read
through the notes in my memory jar for 2019, I noted that a lot of my happy
memories this year involved hugs and dogs. It so cute when dogs get so excited,
they piddle. Depression and anxiety were regular companions this year, and it
shows by how empty my calendar was except for work travel and race training.
there are still things to celebrate from 2019:
Top 5 Events
1. Half Ironman Maine.
The bulk of my year was focused on training for and competing in Maine 70.3, my first Half Ironman. It was a fun, but somewhat brutal race. The swim in the freezing cold and choppy water was exhausting, and it was only the first mile of the race! I love the bike ride through the back roads of Maine. I had some choice words for Coach David when I realized that a portion of the run was on a dirt trail. It felt so good to raise my arms as I crossed the finish line, but the best part of the day was hugging Coach David after we both had finished.
2. Meeting the Nibling.
I wanted to meet my nibling before she got too big, so I made a special trip across the country to spend the weekend with her. When I first walked in the door, my sister was feeding the baby. She took one look at me and started to cry. (Apparently, she’d reached the stage where she can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces.) By the next morning, we were friends. I love this little creature â€“ watching her piercing blue eyes take in the world and seeing her independent spirit whether she’s playing with her toys or crawling across the floor. I hope I’ll hear her say, â€œOggyâ€ soon.
3. Snuggling with Adorabull.
Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary took in a sick calf this summer. He was found in a ditch, umbilical cord still attached, and covered in mud. A good Samaritan brought him to the sanctuary. Aimee named him Adorabull. She also put out the call on Facebook asking for extra help at the farm since the sick baby needed so much attention. I spent a Saturday morning at the farm helping to tube feed him, give him his meds, and snuggle with him. I nicknamed him â€œAddy.â€ Â It was such a joy to see him stand up and eat some starter feed. You could see he had a fight in him, even when he was weak. He survived and is doing great at the sanctuary now.
4. Plastic-Free July.
One of the ways humans are destroying the planet is with single-use plastics. We use these plastic items for a matter of minutes, and then it won’t decompose of thousands of years. It makes no sense to use our fossil fuels like this. It makes me sad and angry to see how it’s wreaking havoc on marine life. I challenged myself to do avoid single use plastics for Plastic-Free July, and to find alternative products that no plastic packaging. It forced me to re-think the way I shop for food and hygiene products. Even after this month ended, I still try to avoid single-use plastics at least 90% of the time.
5. What We Left Behindâ€“ DS9 Documentary.
I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s my favorite Star Trek series to date. It’s a Trek that focused more on relationships compared to the other series, and it how the writers created their story arcs was changed the way others wrote episodic series. I loved sitting in the theater, surrounded by my fellow Trekkies, and hearing all the behind the scenes stories about this series.
Firsts in 2019
I’ve had a lot of firsts related that came leading up to my first Half Ironman race. I got my first triathlon bike, that came with my first tri-bike fitting. That was followed with my first time riding a bike with my feet clipped to my pedals (and my first fall from my tri-bike). In physical therapy, I also had dry needling with electro-stimulation for my hips and back.
I had my first dermatologist
appointment this year for a strip-down-check-every-mole skin exam this year.
When my friends
got engaged, I thought they were going to ask me to watch their dog during the ceremony.
Instead, they asked me to be the presider.
I committed to keeping my head shaved for a year. Starting I the summer, I began taking a razor blade to my head in addition to my clippers.
When my flight
was delayed from 11pm to 7am, I spent my first night in an airport.
I was glad I was working from home the morning a neighbor asked me to give his car a jump when battery was dead.
After Shankminds in Las Vegas, I was asked to leave a casino for walking through it with a painted face (and body).
I called the Cleveland
Police Department to get more information about Ohio’s decency law. They put me
on hold and took a poll around the office to decide how topless I could legally
be in public.
non-binary birth certificate in hand, I attempted to get a non-binary passport
and update my social security record. Both times, a clerk on the phone told me
I could change my records, and both times, it turned out not to be true.
We are just over halfway through Plastic-Free July! So far so good. I
think the only thing I’ve bought that may have come in or with single-use plastic
are two items I ordered online.
One area of my life where I can’t avoid single-use plastics are
my prescriptions. I take four prescription medications every day. (Yay drugs!) I
have to get refills on two of them every month, and for the other two, I can
get a 90-day supply from the pharmacy.
As part of my efforts to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle,
I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my life, but the pharmacy won’t
let you bring your own containers. I am in the process of switching my vitamins
from plastic containers to glass (preferably with a metal lid) as I run out of
each one and buy a replacement.
I decided to look for ways to keep my plastic bottles out of
landfill and continue to be used as a bottle.
The Pharmacy Won’t Take Prescription Bottles Back
All my medications are tablets, clean simple tablets. You’d
think it would be easy to bring my empty bottle back to the pharmacy so they
can remove the label, clean it, and reuse it, right?
I called my pharmacy’s customer service line, and they said they
don’t allow customers to return their bottles. But the rep said they have an agreement
with the recycling services in some cities to get their bottles back after
people recycle them.
A spark of hope! Did they have an agreement with my city?
<Sigh> Back to the drawing board.
I Found a Charity that Recycles Prescriptions Bottles
Matthew 25: Ministries accepts prescription and
over-the-counter pill bottles, and uses them to help distribute medical aid in developing
countries. Many times, when medication is delivered as part of humanitarian aid
to developing countries, it comes in a big package, and they don’t have containers
in which to distribute the medication. Instead, people are given their pills wrapped in paper,
which provides little to no protection from moisture or other elements, and
sometimes they’re just put
in the recipient’s hand. Our donated pills bottles can have a second life
and help someone get the medication they need.
Donate your empty pill bottles Matthew 25: Ministries by
sending them to 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. Be sure to check out their detailed instructions in advance. If
you don’t follow them, your bottles will be shredded and recycled.
In preparation of sending my first donation to Matthew 25:
Ministries, I keep a cardboard box from a previous Amazon delivery on a kitchen
chair, where I toss my empty bottles as they are emptied. It looks like it’s
full enough to ship now.
I’m pleased I found a charity that takes my prescription
bottles and my other bottles for pills that I can only find in plastic, like ibuprofen,
antacids, and Rosie’s supplement.
basset hound, is also on medication. (She’s old.) I called our vet, and
they said they’d be happy to take back her empty prescription bottles. It feels
good to find a way to use these unavoidable plastics to help others and the