Critter Update

The Doberman is apparently feeling quite sprightly, which is a good thing, since he is just about 2 1/2 months away from turning 13.  Thereby having already outlived the average Doberman lifespan of 10-12 years.

The thing is, he looks absolutely terrible.  He has a condition called…wait for it…dry eye.  This causes him to produce copious amounts of mucus in his right eye, so that it looks infected, but the vet says it isn’t.  It’s just irritated.  The eye drops they gave me (the doggie form of Restasis for humans) don’t work.  Take a moment here to imagine how much fun it is to put eye drops in the eye of a Doberman.

So lately I have taken to removing the gunk from his eye with a Q-tip.  This is very scary.  Because if he makes a sudden move, I could poke a hole in his eye.  That would not be good.  But he’s a very good and trusting boy, so he mostly stays still…for a short time.  I have a small window of opportunity there.  But I feel compelled to do it, because when I say copious, I do mean that.  It practically coats his eye, which has to be uncomfortable and verging on blinding.  Sometimes he will rub the right side of his face on the couch to try to dislodge it, but that doesn’t work.  It does tell me that he’s uncomfortable.  So I will keep doing it.

Nevertheless, it apparently doesn’t bother him that much.  He’s developed a relatively new short, sharp bark.  He uses this to warn the Basenji mix (aka Pippin the Beast) that he plans to drink from the community water bowl.  As far as Pippin is concerned, the water bowl is far too close to his food bowl.  For it to be far enough away, it would have to be across the street.

It would help if Pippin hadn’t developed the new habit of leaving a few morsels of food in his bowl.  I assume that gives him a reason to be protective at all times.  That must be more fun.

So, what to do?  Well, here’s my strategy.  I stay out of it.  I think that in spite of my alleged status in our tiny pack,  and in fact because of it, I can’t be in charge of everything.  You guys are dogs.  Work it out.  What I would like to do, most of the time, is kill Pippin.  Except of course, I could never do that.  When it’s just him and me, he is the most incredibly loyal and affectionate being who ever existed.  So I inadvertently have learned how to do what the experts say:  Always support the alpha, no matter what.  It may seem counterintuitive (because you’d like to kill them), but if you don’t kill them, supporting them and giving them confidence makes it safer for the other dog(s).

Meanwhile, I have a cat, Stormy, who is solid white and fat as a pig.  If it’s possible, she is even more affectionate than either of the two dogs.  As demonstrated by the fact that at night, she likes to sleep on my knee.  The one I recently sprained.  Which still hurts.  A whole world awaits her out there when it comes to places to sleep.  But, no.  Perhaps she has delusions of having healing powers.  I joke, but it’s gotten somewhat ridiculous.  And I cannot completely dismiss the idea.

But she looks terrible too.  There is a particular place on the back of her neck that she scratches when she has a flea or fleas.  Living here in the near-tropics, fleas and mosquitos are a way of life.  But three days ago I treated her for fleas and all the other evil beasties, and this morning, the place on her neck is worse.  I think she’s become immune to this medication, which happens.

And plus, I have my own health to think of.  Fleas don’t bother me, but mosquitos are an entirely different matter.  It probably doesn’t help that I just finished a book about malaria–even though there is no malaria in the U.S.  But there is West Nile Virus.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

If  someone could figure out how to make mosquitos extinct…sign me up.

Meanwhile, I am helping to pay the rent for Cutter, maker of what I would call personal insecticides.  I use one without DEET.  I hate DEET.

I can’t stand not going outside, but I’m well aware that it’s a crapshoot.  That one tiny place on your…elbow, ear, neck…where your insecticide didn’t reach…is the very place you could be bitten by an infected mosquito.  It only takes one.  But I can’t live like that.

So me and the two dogs and the cat are toughing it out.


2 responses to “Critter Update

  1. It’s one of several prices you pay for warm.

  2. Good luck with the Dobie’s “care and feeding.”
    My #1 favorite and effective repellent is Skin So Soft. Here is a pretty well thought out “home remedy” link.

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