I hear the sound of Freya panting and her toenails click-clicking toward my side of the bed. The clock reads 3:30 am. It’s pitch dark and drizzling outside. Freya’s gut is in distress again, but her meds haven’t kicked in yet. She doesn’t want to mess in the house.
Keith rolls out of bed. “I’ll take her out,” he says.
“That would be great,” I say. “Poor girl is having a bad night. We’ve already been out four times: right after we went to bed then again at 11:30, 12:30, and 1:00.”
“You took her out? I must have slept through it all.”
“Good. No use both of us losing sleep, though it’s nice to have a break.” I pull the covers over my head, knowing I won’t sleep until they get back.
Freya has a parasite common to dogs, one that causes lower GI distress, something she’s had before. Recently, she had surgery to remove a growth—benign, thank goodness. The vet said the stress of the surgery might have triggered this episode. And we can’t just let her out this time because she needs to stay clean and dry—not her forte.
Caring for sick dogs is like caring for sick children. Up at night, soothing words and stroking, whatever it takes to help them feel better and get well.
And parents and dog owners don’t think twice about doing it.
At 5:30 am, I walk Freya and Heathcliff then administer their medications and feed them. They’re both showing signs of recovery—Heathcliff from his soft tissue, leg injury, and Freya from her GI distress.
Later, Keith makes cheese and mushroom grits and sausage for brunch. The dogs stay close to the kitchen, hoping for a treat. While he cleans up, Freya starts to pant, needing to go out again.
“I’ll do the dishes when I get back,” I say, grabbing the leash.
“I’ll do them,” Keith says. “Just because you usually do the dishes doesn’t mean it’s your job.”
Just because I usually walk the dogs, doesn’t mean it’s my job, I think. “Thank you, Sweetheart,” I say.
All of this happened last week. Today, the dogs are much better, though Keith has caught a bit of my cold, from which I’m recovering. And rain continues.
The picture of Freya was taken this past summer. We’re looking forward to the return of sunshine and our usual routines here at Vanaprastha.
All four of us.