Day 23,699: Our Old Dog Dozes

Today we took our old dog to the vet. He’s only 11, but as a Black Labrador, he’s on the back nine. His muzzle has grey streaks, his hearing is not sharp, his breath is bad, and his hind legs are shaky. In the Nor’easters of the last week, his arthritis flared up, and he missed a step coming up to bed one night.  All I heard was a stumble, but for the next few days it was hard to get this dog and up and down stairs.

That’s a problem as we have 10 steps just to get up to the first floor landing after any walk outside. That’s a problem because this not overweight hound is still 72 pounds.  He’s not the kind of beast you can easily carry up the stairs, and less so in pounding wind and rain. To compensate, we upped the dog’s pain meds. We gave him glucosamine treats instead of other treats, and we let him sleep on the couch.

Normally, his bed is in our bedroom, up yet another flight of steps but cozy enough that the cat frequently joins him to snuggle and share body heat on the double dog mattress. But, for the last few nights, the dog has opted to snooze on the living room couch right in front of the TV.

The truth is that the pain meds make him more tired, and the dog is used to joining us on the couch to watch evening TV programs. The differephotonce this past week was that he fell so soundly asleep during pundit talk time that he stayed there the entire night. The rest did him well, and today, at the vet, he was perky, could do the steps, and jumped in and out of the car. That’s my side of the story.

My husband’s side of the story is that it’s a magic couch. It is only one of a few magic things in our house. Here is its magic: it cures all ills. It’s so comfortable that it’s the only place my husband can find comfort when his back goes out, his foot neuropathy kicks in, or he just needs a solid nap. It’s the couch that cures all ills.

The couch has been with us for many years now and, itself, is showing signs of age. I discovered it by accident one day in Bloomingdales (not the standard store for furniture), Riverside Square, Hackensack. It wasn’t hideously expensive, but also not cheap. It wasn’t a normal couch being some sort of French lounging sofa, larger on one side than the other. I liked that it was different.

I visited the couch for a few days in the store before dragging the husband to the mall to check it out. He was blasé, but agreed it fit the space recently vacated by a shredded couch destroyed by one of our aggressive cats of the time. For years, the new couch sat in our living room in North Jersey unloved. There was no TV in the living room and no reason to hang out there. Everyone preferred the futon by the TV in the family room.

Then we moved to South Jersey in a home with no family room, and the couch became the central place for TV watching. My husband came to love the couch that he had ignored for years prior. The dog, too. The couch is now well worn, with a throw cover both protecting it from the dog and hiding some torn seams. I would normally start looking for new couch, but I’ve been advised that it cannot be replaced. It is, after all, a magic couch.

The dog is better. The husband is currently better. And, even though I did not partake of couch therapy during my last bad back incident, my back is better as well. My husband believes I would have recovered sooner had I taken to the couch rather than bed. He might be right.

Soon I will have to figure out how to get it reupholstered as with everyone getting older, including the dog, it has lots of work ahead of it to keep us all mobile. It’s clearly not going anywhere soon.

Focus on Common Sense Gun Control:  Check out the oldest dogs in the Senate. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-NV), and Richard Shelby (R-AL).  Hatch is retiring and the Republican machine is trying hard to push for Feinstein’s retirement. Yet, of the entire Senate, she is the longest advocate for common sense gun laws.  According to the Des Moines Register, “Sen. Grassley is the most problematic person in Washington regarding this issue.  He has voted against all gun control bills that have come before the Senate, including one that attempted to keep guns out of the hands of young children. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he has used his position to impede discussion even within the committee, thereby eliminating any Senate debate on the issue.”  If you’re marching on March 24, perhaps a good sign might be to target Grassley.  He’s an old dog we should likely put down.