This Certainly Hasn’t Been the Year of the Dog

According to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the rooster.

I didn’t know that until just a few minutes ago, but based on what I’ve seen this year, I surely knew we weren’t in the year of the dog.

Ginger is our geriatric beagle; and Ginger has had a tough run of luck this year.

Last winter, she lost her littermate and soulmate of 15 years, MaryAnn. During that decade and a half they were rarely more than a paw’s distance from each other. Their food bowls touched. They slept in the same crate every night.

We were all heartbroken when MaryAnn died, but it was Ginger who lost the most.

It wasn’t long after that we realized Ginger couldn’t hear. MaryAnn had been her ears, for years maybe. We’ll never know.

I’m sure being a deaf dog is complicated. But having a deaf dog is complicated as well. It requires lots of arm waving to get her attention. Sometimes she can hear me whistle, but that seems to come and go.

We think her inability to hear is what caused the rift between her and our cat, MacGyver, which I wrote about back in the summer.

We think MacGyver hissed at Ginger, and Ginger didn’t respond appropriately because she didn’t hear her. That probably intimidated MacGyver and made her aggressive.

So, here we have a mourning dog that can’t hear and now has to deal with a mad cat.

How could it get worse for the old girl?

Here’s how. 

Saturday morning, I let Ginger out of her crate to go out. She started walking sideways, stumbled and fell. She immediately got up and it happened again. 

She looked the way Otis Campbell looks when he incarcerates himself into the Mayberry jail on Saturday night.

Always the optimist, I figured it was the end of the line for her.

On the way to the vet, Ginger sat limp in Kim’s lap with her head down flat. Normally, she would’ve been bouncing off the walls of her crate.

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad,

If it’s not someone showing off their rash, it’s two people sitting across the room trying to outdo each other at the top of their lungs bragging about their maladies.

Animals can be just as annoying.

On Saturday, we had to endure two gargantuan dogs trying desperately to break their leashes to get at us.

The poor vet employee was trying her best to restrain them while their owner nonchalantly filled out paperwork and assured us they wouldn’t hurt us.

The vet diagnosed Ginger with vestibular disease, which basically means she cannot keep her balance. The vet told us she would probably get used to it. I can relate to that. I have to get used to age-related things all the time.

She’s getting around a little better, and we don’t have any reason to think she won’t continue to improve. The vet said her head might be permanently tilted to the side, and she will be a little bit slower.

I don’t know what’s going on in her brain, but I have a hunch she is ready to leave 2017 behind.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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