[mountainstate] Noah, Being a Dog Mom Is Not Easy
thedogmom at wvdsl.net
Fri Nov 27 15:39:33 GMT 2009
BEING A DOG MOM IS NOT EASY
Today begins yet another chapter in my life, our lives. I sit here reflecting over my life as "a dog mom" and all the joy, and pain, it has brought to me. I reflect first on beautiful, sweet tempered Noah who has just exited my home, not my life and absolutely never my heart.
Noah is a ten-year-old, soon to be eleven, chocolate Labrador. He was trained at Pilot Dogs in February, 2001 or at least that is when I got him and we returned in March. What an awesome, awesome dog he has been every since. Noah had two problems: one, he tended to relieve himself on walks which became worse as he grew older. Two, he had a stubborn streak which sometime clashed with my personality. This made him an excellent worker, however because he was routine: always knowing where "home" "work", "grandma" and other familiarly used places were and never missing the locations. Take him to a hotel, show him "his room", and he had it. All my dogs have been very good about that, though and it is a quality I love and have come to expect. Noah, however, excelled in other things: e.g., I could ask him to stay and regardless of where or for how long, he stayed. He was flexible and adaptable, always willing to do whatever was asked of him. And then, the dreaded hypothyroid disease entered his life. We have managed it, and managed it well according to the vets, but it is not an easy one to control. The weight gain requires vigilant exercise, food control and thyroid management. The excessive hair loss and growth requires frequent grooming and cleaning, and criticism. Oh! The criticism from others about how I didn't groom him, how I didn't give him exercise, how I overfed him (and all the time a thyroid dog practically starves, is groomed to death and still struggles.) Then, he developed the emotional components of the anxiety and full blown panic attacks and excessive sensitivity to heat.
In the spring of 2009, I made the agonizing decision to retire him. I had planned to keep him, with my new guide, Angel and little Bowzer; sometimes, life has other plans. My business picked up incredibly over the past month requiring many more hours, and will require even more in the near foreseeable future. I am only one person with no real local support for the dogs. So Noah and Bowzer found themselves spending long, long hours at home alone, often not getting walks in at all for several days because it is not safe to walk after or before daylight here, and I leave for work and get home not to accommodate the daylight. Then, city sidewalks do not accommodate irritable bowel disease well. And, his anxiety and panic just continued to get worse as his weight ballooned. All the weight he had lost, he gained and perhaps more. Well, my sister has a country home with pasture and acres to walk and run; and while she certainly works hard, she does it now from home. They also go on camping trips from time to time so she can provide my sweet, sweet Noah opportunities that I cannot. I weighed all that and made a hard, hard decision for a mom, yet one I believe will be the best for my beautiful boy. So, Wednesday we had a big dinner in calibration, and yes the dogs enjoyed all the people food too. With common sense and proper preparation, this can happen with absolutely no problems and it did. Yesterday, we enjoyed Thanksgiving Day with Noah, mom, Dianne and John. Last night, Noah, Angel, Bowzer and I all piled in the same bed together and played like we were camping, or something. <grin> I don't know whether anyone got much sleep, but we all had a lot of hugs and licks and probably bruises to show too but okay! And this morning, we took our walk together: me and the three. And they made me proud! Just as we turned the corner, some sighted man came flying out yelling like the vevil was after him after his little dog. He had totally lost control of it. Meantime, my three, totaling well over my weight, were perfectly in control with a simple "sit" command. I greeted the man with a "hi there". He grunted something back, apologized to me and started yelling at the dog. I said, "You know, that is a real good reason to use a leash, and learn proper obedience, and it could be the little one's life next time. Here is a trainers' card and a free leash." (I always carry an extra one with me).
Being a dog mom is not easy but it is a rewarding job. I have known the love, joy, pain, frustration of five beautiful, wonderful Pilot guides:
Radar, 1983-1993 (died); Chelsea, 1993 (retired due to blindness 2001, died 2002003); Noah, 2001 (retired 2009) Living now; Ripley for two weeks; Angel 2009 to present.
And many pet dogs over my life but have especially been able to grow close with Doglette and Bowzer.
I could, and might, write volumes about each or all of them and all they have taught me. But to summarize it:
They have taught me love;
They have taught me patience;
They have taught me kindness;
They have taught me forbearance;
They have taught me tolerance;
They have taught me that no matter how much it hurts, and no matter how many times you think you simply cannot go on, you can and you will.
I love you, Noah. I love you all: forever!
And now, we start the next chapter of our lives with Angel and Bowzer.
Email: thedogmom at wvdsl.net
Messenger: thedogmom at wvdsl.net
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*And be content with whatever you have for He has said "I will never leave you or forsake you."--Hebrews 13:506.
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