Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Puppy Love

Before I get started on today's post, I want to apologize for my month long absence. I started my new job on 2/18 and spent the first week in Vancouver. The last month has flown by and a dear sweet friend reminded me that my blog is a little outdated. I am so sorry for that, I'm learning how to balance life again. I'll get it eventually!

So I am writing today with a heavy heart. No, no one died but I've come to the realization that my bulldog can no longer sleep on my feet at night and it's causing me a little sadness, a lot of separation anxiety and a whole lotta guilt.

Look at that face! My goodness, I love her so much. She looks at me from the floor as she sits on top of the dog bed covered with like four layers of comfy blankets I have piled on top of it as if to say "don't you love me anymore, why can't I come up and lay with you like I used to?" I've tried to explain why but she just looks at me with the same "I don't understand" look and so my guilt pangs get worse and worse.

Almost a week ago, I woke up per our normal routine and called for her to go outside before they ate. It took her an unusually long time to come when I called her. She normally bolts from a sound sleep and comes running. That morning was different. Finally she came wandering down the hallway groggy and slow moving. She went outside and did her business, ate breakfast and came back in. We returned to the bedroom just like always where she usually returns to the bed and lays there, watching me admirably while I get ready for work. She hesitated at the side of the bed. She does this sometimes because I think for a 76 lb. Old English Bulldog with fairly short legs, it's a chore sometimes to make the leap to the pretty high bed. I waited. Finally, she jumped up and put her paws on the bed, like she sometimes does when she wants me to give her a little help and so I proceeded to lift her bottom like I always do to help her up and she let out a terrible cry that hurt me more than it probably did her. My other dog came running (they don't love each other but he's always there to protect or rescue her, ironically). He sees me with her back end in my arms, bent over and her crying in pain and he starts to bark at me. She gets nervous at the mixture of pain she's feeling and the commotion of his barking (which usually results in a bite to his face of which he concedes that he deserves) and my trying to calm him and put her down. I finally set her down and the crying stops and then I feel total and utter sadness at the fact that something is wrong with her. I frantically begin touching her legs, her hips, her back .... but she doesn't wince at any of my touches. When she goes back out, I notice she has a little difficulty going up and down the one step and I deduce that it must be her hip or her leg joint, I'm not sure but I'm sad and I don't want her to feel pain.

That night, I decide it's probably better she doesn't jump on the bed and she's almost 80 lbs, I can't lift her like my husband can. Meanwhile I might mention that my husband is celebrating in his own rite because he HATES that she sleeps in the bed with us. He feels she belongs on her dog bed on the floor (which by the way he criticizes because of the 4 layers of fluffy blankets I have ON TOP of her already plush dog bed). It was so hard to make her stay on the floor. She kept coming to the side of the bed and just waiting there for someone to hoist her up. I kept redirecting her back to the plush blanketed dog bed and reassuring her that she was a good girl. Those brown eyes looking up at me just kill me though! We've been doing it now for a couple of nights and it's weird, I have anxiety every night when I go to sleep and I wait to hear her little bulldog snore before I can rest easy and go to sleep.

I've realized that the jumping on and off our unusually high bed is probably not good for her and that the bed on the floor should probably be permanent but I can't help but think that she might interpret that as I am punishing her. It's so sad. I don't want her to get old ..... I don't ever want her to have pain. It hurts me more than it hurts her. I don't know if I'm cut out for this dog ownership things, I love my dogs too much. Cmon, I know I'm not the only dog lover ..... do you love your dog so much it's painful? If you do, please share. I'm gonna need a therapist soon if I don't get some reinforcement here.

Aren't you glad I'm back? Ha!