Sunday, October 26, 2008

Million-dollar dog strikes again

Linus has contracted kennel cough, a common disease among dogs that is essentially canine bronchitis. It is noisy, unpleasant, and inconvenient for the both of us (phlegmy coughs = no sleep and frequent cleanup). He's responded very well to antibiotics and doggie Sudafed, however-- even though the latter made him so dopey that he often seemed to lose track of simple things, like where he was and what he meant to do next.

This is the first real health problem Linus has had in a year, so I should count myself lucky. Though his immune system may always be weak, his recent second birthday marked the close of a happy and mostly healthy year. He has attained his final weight (45 pounds) and established an ever-widening fan club in the DC area.

Linus's birthday will always be special to me. After the first year, my family and I held a party to celebrate the achievement of his simply surviving for that difficult twelve months. This year, I am reminded how precarious his puppy days were, and how grateful I should be for the cheerful, sturdy dog he's become.

This year's birthday present was a new dog bed, as Tony firmly nixed the bringing of any of Linus's old, scavenged, ratty beds into our new apartment (new apartment! Soon! Hooray!). After a good deal of searching, I found a bed that was well-built, washable, and stuffed with recycled soda bottles to satisfy Linus's desire to be an environmentally friendly dog (not that I'm projecting or anything). Here it is, with the center cushion, arranged just the way he likes it:

A far cry from this sad specimen, no?

One reason I've never wanted to work for an animal shelter is my certain knowledge that I would want to save every animal that entered the doors, and fail, and continually be breaking my heart. It is that knowledge that makes me so grateful for the chance to have saved one unfortunate creature, even if I can't save them all.