Each year for the past several years, my home is filled with furry little four-legged visitors. Most of them, have been Christmas Dogs in my home since they were brand new puppies.Now they are three and four years old and old hands at hanging out at Auntchristine’s while their human families are off on Christmas vacations that take them to all corners of the earth.
It is unfortunate that this Christmas visit has been marred by the sudden heart failure and passing of my dear Gilbert Kitty. That event has put me off my game a bit. I’ve only just got the feeding table set up and organized properly in the bedroom where the dogs mainly reside during their stay. I find it safer that way than letting them run free around the entire apartment. Especially so since they are all tiny dogs.
And this year, I seem to be running a Christmas Infirmary of sorts. There’s my own dear Maltese, Giorgio, who was only recently diagnosed with left valvular heart disease. He’s on daily medication and he also eats a prescription vegetarian food because of severe food sensitivities that cost him both his inner ears (total ablations). Trust me. I am in daily panic knowing that one day–I hope not one day any time soon–I am going to find my dear Giorgio in heart failure, just as I found Gilbert this weekend.
But back to the visitors. Poor dear Lola, the red Toy Poodle who is a constant companion of mine and Giorgio’s on weekday dog-walks, was hospitalized last week with a nasty bout of hemoragic gastroenteritis (bloody stool). She had been home for several days before arriving late last night, but, she is still not out of the woods. Lola is on medication twice daily and is being fed numerous small bland meals of soft cooked rice (the 20 minute kind, no Minute Rice here) and lightly boiled fresh skinless chicken breast. I’m waiting patiently for her to have a normal BM. Maybe that will be my first Christmas Present. She doesn’t seem at all ill except for the signs that are too disgusting to dwell on. But I know and you should know too, in small dogs, bloody stool/diarhea, are not to be taken lightly. A small dog can easily and quickly become dehydrated and go into shock. So we are watching her carefully and following the doctor’s directions for small bland meals, even though Lola is her same funny adorable self, running and jumping and having run.
Another visiting Poodle, Coco, also red, is spending her first Christmas with us. Poor dear Coco has macular degeneration and her eyesight is failing. She is a good eater, and her treatment consists of adding fresh cooked diced carrots to her meals as well as 5 drops of Vitamin E Oil. She’s timid around the other dogs and I have to be careful to keep her separate, hold her on the bed carefully so that she won’t jump off by accident. Coco is as sweet as they come. She has a most full and fuzzy coat and when I pick her up, she turns to hug herself close to my body, with her front paws wrapped tightly around my neck. Coco is not paper trained and has to go out on walks to relieve herself and the poor thing thinks that every shadowy figure approaching her to say hello is her family come to take her home.
A little Yorkie we’ve known for a good number of years, a sweet little thing named Madison, recently had her knee replaced. She take medication once a day and is milking this little poor leg of hers for all it is worth. No one does sympathetic looks quite like Madison. She too has to be kept separate, away from any accidental bumps by other dogs. Madison loves her food. She has had bouts of gastroenteritis too, so, we are careful to feed her only her regular dog food and the treats her family provided. She has never had any flareups while staying at Auntchristine’s (knock wood).
This Christmas, Madison has a companion. Her family recently aquired a miniscule Teacup Poodle, parti-colored. I mean eensie weensie, perhaps weighing only a pound and truly no larger than a Gerbil. Now this in itself would be a challenge, caring for a teeny-weeny puppy such as Parker, but, it turns out, poor Parker is hard of hearing (he may not have any ability to hear whatsoever).Being unable to hear, and the size of a Gerbil, there’s not much one can do to help him learn about being quite, to give him an “eh eh!” as needed if he wanders too close to something he shouldn’t get into. He also cannot hear the other dogs give a small growl warning him away. He and Madison get along beautifully, however, and they are great company for each other.
The other dogs are NOT huge, they are all small: Toy Poodles, Yorkies, Maltese, Miniature Dachshunds. And yet, they are all weigh too large for interactions with teeny weeny Parker, especially since he cannot hear.
The Miniature Dachshunds are our dear Dino and Lola. Dino is looking mah-vahlous and has trimmed down beautifully since last Christmas when he was truly morbidly obese. His owners deserve a lot of credit for getting his weight under control. An over-weight Dachshund can find himself in serious physical trouble.
Lola, who is smaller (usually) than Dino, however, has porked up! It turns out, someone accidently picked up puppy food instead of her regular small bite kibble and she’s been getting fat. She is now back on her normal food and I’m sure in no time she too will be a trim little dog.
Dachshunds are a handful and then some! It’s something about their size, shape, being close to the ground, having those faces that are all nose and mouth, that makes them a challenge to watch. Curious about everything and very athletic they get into everything. They “go to earth” under the bed, into the mattress, behind the bureau. That is, they would do if they weren’t watched like a hawk by me.
I’m almost afraid to round out this group by saying my own Toy Poodle, Cybil, and my female Maltese, Cherry, are both completely healthy and not on any special food or any medication. Please grant me a Christmas Miracle and keep it that way.
At the moment, everyone is asleep with visions of sugar bones dancing in their heads. That won’t last long. I know they’re going to be awake and racing around by the stroke of midnight. I don’t mind as long as that means I can sleep in Christmas Morning.
Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas, just like ours. Photographs to be posted tomorrow.
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