April 20, 2018

One of Your Own

Hey, Rubin.


I’ve noticed that you’re getting older.

Yep. And so are you.

Touché! But I just wanted to check in and see what you are noticing as you age?


Well, I’m noticing, in myself, that I don’t move as well nor do I feel as energetic and flexible. Do you feel the same way too?

I suppose, though in my head I think I can still do all the things I used to do when I was younger.

Ha! I feel exactly the same way. But as I watch you age, I see some other changes that are worrisome. 

Oh, you mean like that jerky movement thing I do?

Yes. What do you think is going on?

I have no idea. It’s just like all the sudden my body doesn’t work though I’m still trying to stand or walk. And then I get headaches that make me want to shake my head a lot. 

A power outage is how I’ve been trying to describe it, but that’s not really accurate either. It doesn’t take into account the headaches.

What does Dr. Marta think is happening?

Well, because she’s never seen it happen, she’s not sure, though she suspects something called a Spleen Deficiency.

That doesn’t sound good. Please don’t tell me I have to get acupuncture, ok?

I know you hate the needles buddy, but it would really help you in your senior years.

In my what?

Senior years.

Oy, that doesn’t sound good. I don’t want to be in my senior years.

Well, that’s what it’s called when you get older — your senior years.

But getting older is what Dezi did and Monty and all my friends who aren’t here anymore. I want to be here still so I don’t think it’s a good thing that I’m in my senior years!

Well, you’re 11 years old and that is officially a senior age.

This makes me sad. Why are we having this discussion?

I guess it’s been on my mind a lot lately, especially when I see you have one of those episodes and frankly, I can’t believe you’re 11 years old. It seems like just yesterday that you were 2 years old!

I know. I can’t believe time has passed so quickly.

Me either.

But I’m still here and I don’t have any plans to go anywhere any time soon.

Well that’s great news!

I just think you’re feeling sad and a bit worried because you’ve seen so many of your clients age and cross the Rainbow Bridge lately.

That’s true, though some have been very young and have gone way before their time.

That’s gotta be hard.

It is and it makes me think about you and how you’re aging.

It makes me remember Dezi.

Yep, that too. 

He lived a long time, though. He almost made it to 16!

That’s true, but he had a rough go of it at the end.

I remember. I guess that’s hard too.

What’s hard?

Seeing so many other families have to go through what we’ve been through with the loss of their dogs. It must wear on you after awhile.

It does.

But it must feel good, too, to know that you helped them before they passed.

Yes, it does, but it still isn’t easy. I miss those dogs. I miss seeing them almost as much as I miss Dezi.

And now me, aging and stuff.


But what is it you tell your clients? “Live in the now! Enjoy your dog while they are here!”

True. But then you have one of those episodes and I just want to figure out why so you can get  the help you need.

What helps a Spleen Deficiency and don’t say acupuncture!

(Smiling) Well, acupuncture does help, but Dr. Marta is working with us so you get the right kind of acupressure, without the needles, to support your spleen and your liver.

I like that idea.

But you know what would really help?


If you ate your meals regularly. You’re not a big eater.

I eat.

Yes, but not on a regular basis. You often skip meals or turn your nose up at the food we offer you and it’s such great food! 

It is great food, I’m just not always hungry.

And you don’t drink enough water.

Water is boring.

That’s why we offer you the raw goat’s milk, which sometimes you love and sometimes you hate. Why’s that?

I’m part poodle. Poodles are finicky. You know that.

Yes, I know that, but you are BEYOND finicky. 

Sorry I’m so difficult.

Oh buddy, it’s just that I want the best for you and you need to stay hydrated.

Hydrated? Is that something I should pee on?

No, that’s “hydrant.” Very different. Hydrated means you have enough fluids in your system because fluid is what makes your body work well and efficiently.

Would it help with the episodes and the headaches?

Yes, I think it would. That’s why we’ve been adding water and broth to your food. And goat’s milk. And you’ve been getting sub-Q fluids ever week.

I sound complicated.

You are! And this might not even be what’s causing your episodes.


There are a lot of things it could be so we’re just trying to eliminate the possibilities down to one thing.

You mean, we might be doing all of this — like hydrating me, making me eat, doing acupressure (no needles, please) and all the rest and that might not be what the problem is?

Sorry to say, that could be true. You could have, for instance, high blood pressure.

What the hell does that mean?

Well, it means that the pressure of the blood in your veins is too much and that could lead to a stroke, which is awful to think about.

A stroke? I’m confused. What’s a stroke?

It’s when a blood vessel in your brain bursts and effects your brain, which could effect how you  move or walk.

Holy Moly, that sounds serious. How do we find out if that’s the problem?

We need to take your blood pressure.

Does that involve needles?

(Smiling) No, no needles, but you have to put on a cuff that measures your blood pressure. I’m not sure you’ll like that much either.

Does it hurt?

No, it just feels weird. I take my blood pressure once a week because I have high blood pressure.

Well, what do you do to stop it from getting high?

I take a pill.

Why can’t I do that and just skip the cuff thingy?

Well, we wouldn’t want to give you a pill if that’s not what the problem is. That could just cause more problems.

Right. That makes sense. Maybe it’s not that.

True, maybe it’s not. It could be your deformed jaw too and how that puts extra pressure on your skull bones that could be restricted blood flow.

This is getting complicated!

Yes, that’s why I’m kind of worried. There are so many possibilities so we have to work through them one by one.

What’s first?

Well, a blood pressure test would be important. 

But you said I wouldn’t like that.

I’m not SURE you’d like it as it causes a funny feeling on your arm and you’d have to stay calm and still.

I’m not good at calm and still.

No you aren’t, even for a dog who is almost 11 years old!

I’ll try to be good.

I’d appreciate that.

What if it’s not that?

Well, Dr. Marta and I have talked about an echocardiogram. 

Oy, that sounds even more serious and difficult!

Actually, it’s easier in many ways, but it will let us know how your heart is doing.

You think it’s my heart?

Personally, no, I don’t. I think it’s your messed up jaw, but often when your kidney values are elevated (which yours are slightly), it can indicate an issue with the heart.

I don’t think it’s my heart either. I think it’s something to do with my brain.

Yep, and that’s the last possibility. It could be…


Well, it could be a brain tumor.

I know that’s not good at all.

Nope. It’s not at all good, but in my gut, I just don’t think it’s that.

I hope your gut is right.

Me too! 

(Long pause)

So…I think I’ll change the subject. What are we going to do for fun?

I love you, Rubin! I don’t know. What do you want to do?

Go on a long hike and then eat something scrumptious! Can I have birthday cake again?

That sounds like an excellent plan. I will do what I can to take us on a hike and I will DEFINITELY make you that cake!

In the mean time, I will do my best to eat my food and drink my water and if you wanna try that blood pressure cuff thingy, I’ll try to be good for that too.

Thank you, buddy. That would help a lot. 

Wiggle Wag, Wiggle Wag

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