We are going on three weeks since the news came of Gus’ health issues. We have fallen into a new routine to accommodate his needs and keep home clean.
The medication I brought home to help with his incontinence did nothing. Not a thing. While there may be another one out there, I am happy with how things are going. We can manage.
I made Gus two belly bands. They are a kind of male doggie diaper that wraps around in front of the hips. Pads are placed inside to soak things up. I found pads at my local dollar store. I can get 10 for a dollar. I did check at the other stores, but this is the cheaper way to go.
At this point our days are pretty much the same.
I get up and pull on a robe and slippers. I let both dogs out and as Gus goes by on his way out, I pull the belly band off so he can go pee. In the mornings, the pads are and band are soaked. I use double pads at night since I am not taking him out every couple of hours.
While Gus and Arty are out doing their morning business, I put the used pads in the outdoor trash and put dry pads on a dry belly band. I washed the wet one out with soap and water and hang it on the fence to dry. Gus and Arty come back up the steps and Gus gets the dry band put on before we go in the house.
Breakfast is served all the way around, and Gus gets his pain pill. I watch to make sure he eats as much food as he wants before Arty The Piglet offers to clean his dish as well as hers. Most days his appetite is good and he eats all of his food. Some days, he gets a few bites down and that’s it.
I have found that Gus is good for about an hour after he eats, then he needs to go out again. If I wait too long, his pads and band will get soaked again.
Because his kidneys are failing, he has trouble staying hydrated. This means he drinks a lot of water. I fill the water bowl several times a day.
I take them both out about every 2 – 3 hours. If I miss that window, I risk wet pads and a wet belly band. Often when Gus gets outside and I pull the band off, he is just standing there leaking all over the porch. So while he is out peeing even more, I am rinsing the porch off. At least in the summer heat, the bands and the porch dry fast.
I made other adjustments for Gus as well. He likes to sleep on the bed. Rather than take that away from him, I bought a cheap plastic drop cloth (the dollar store is my friend). I put that on the bed, then put an old throw over top of it. It keeps my bed dry and lets Gus sleep where he is happy. I can then wash the throw. Gus has also decided that sleeping in the bedroom doorway at night is the perfect spot. So I made a little bed of towels for him. Again, I can wash the towels and keep the floor dry. Thank goodness for Frebreeze.
We haven’t been to the dog park lately. It has been very hot here, and Gus has never done well in the heat. But I also noticed that after we have been at the park, Gus walks funny. He kind of walks with long stride or two, then short, little stuttery strides. After watching him walk, I noticed he is so tired his back feet get ‘stuck’ and that makes him stutter step. I am not sure about taking him to the park so often now. He enjoys it, but it wears him out so much I worry.
Gus is not a dog who wants help. I get stinky eye if I baby him too much, or make a big deal about helping him up the steps. So I just stand near by and let him do his thing and catch him if he needs caught. He misses the jump into the car more often now. I am always there to catch him and help him in.
I know a lot of people wouldn’t do this for a dog. Once it was work, they would be done. And that’s okay. Everyone has a limit to what they can do. I am lucky, in a way, to be unemployed right now. It gives me the time to do these things for Gus. It gives me time to be with him. For me, it is a small way to give back to this once thrown away dog who has given so much to me.
The Rainbow Bridge can wait a little longer.