Thursday, April 27, 2006

All in a Night's Loving

Mary was out late last night at a play, so on my way home from work, I stopped at Whole Foods to buy Sparkey some fresh meat for dinner (and some human food for us as an afterthought) and made my way to the house.

I was greeted by happy dogs, Sparkey limping but wagging his tail and eager for a walk. We circled the neighborhood, stopped at the beaver pond, Sparkey had some grass---he generally likes a salad before dinner---and I let them chew on some marrow bones while I made dinner. Vegetarians that we are, we assume that a nice juicy bone will stimulate the boy's appetite and keep him content.

The following hour was subsumed by slow-cooking Sparkey's boneless chicken thighs and (gulp) organic chicken livers in organic chicken broth in a large wok set up on the outdoor gas grill. After it cooled, they both ate with gusto, a small amount of rice snuck into Sparkey's bowl. The greatest challenge is keeping Tina away from Sparkey's food while he takes frequent breaks to walk around the house and eventually return for further munching.

When Mary came home, it was time for meds, replete with wrenching open Spark's jaw, holding the lower mandible firmly, and depositing the pills on the back of his tongue. Long gone are the days of enveloping his pills in cream cheese for ease of administration. He knows every trick in the book, so the direct method is now the only way.

Next, the IV fluids. I think he's growing to dislike the process. I try to find that sweet spot in his scruff where he doesn't seem to feel the needle go in, but sometimes it's obvious that the pinch is felt and he tries to lurch away. Then, during the ensuing fifteen minutes of infusion, he tries in vain to get up. I've taken to crouching over his back, a knee on either side of his lower ribcage, as I hold the needle in his scruff and make sure the fluid is flowing as rapidly as possible. Despite his displeasure, when I leaned over during last night's treatment to talk to him, he licked my nose. Forgiveness.

It's time well spent, love well given, life sustained and shared. These are the latter days.



Andrea said...

All dogs should have such loving parents. Of course, we all know this is not so. When my elderly JRT had a bout with pancreatitis, I spent thousands on tests and a hospital stay and IV fluids, painkillers and special foods. But "she's just a dog!" so many of my friends said to me. One coworker --an RN, no less!--actually told me to put her down. I believe she was about 14 at the time, and we lost her last summer at 17. Gentle hugs to Sparkey, what a good boy.

Keith, RN said...

Thanks so much, and my condolences about JRT. By the way, how did you come upon our site?

Andrea said...

I read your nursing blog!....I do hope I wasn't intruding into your more private musings about Sparkey. Forgive me if it felt intrusive. I have four dogs now, LOL: three bernese mountain dogs, and my newest: a six month old JRT. All rescues! Muffin, the JRT we lost last summer, was my first baby, and good preparation for our human babies :) If you go to Angell, we cannot be too terribly far from you geographically, as we are in NH. I am a fledgling RN in nurse-years, having graduated last May....anyway, that's the long rambling way of telling you how I found you, and why I felt compelled to post here in Sparkey's world.