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Old dogs are wonderful
20/09

I saw an old friend this week, a standard poodle. (And his mum!) It was a regular checkup and time to give him a repeat of his medications. The drive there was a treat- bell-clear sky, the Camphor Laurels all bursting with life, their new leaves glowing lime green and red in the sun. Always time to ponder, as the van’s wheels hum along the tarmac. I’d been seeing this wonderful old dog for a long time now – he has congestive heart failure, and we thought he was on the way out more than a year ago – the pharmaceutical medicine just wasn’t helping, he was slowly declining. Then I went off and did an acupressure workshop. When I came back we decided to give him some acupressure sessions, and he made a miraculous recovery.

I was greeted by a lot of excited barking, and three standard poodles jumping up and down in joy at the gate. I had to wade through them, to get settled in a comfy chair, and an extended doggy greeting was required before I could get down to work.

“How’s he going?” I asked.

“He’s still going really well, keen to have a big play every afternoon, active and happy,” she told me. “I have had to increase the dose of his diuretics a bit though – he started to cough again about a week ago- so now he’s having two in the morning, and one in the afternoon. That seems to have helped.”

I asked him to hop up on the couch, and sat with him for a moment, watching carefully. I could see that his breathing was more laboured than it had been for the last few visits, he was having to work harder to get the air in. I listened to his heart – still a heart murmur like a tired old washing machine, but his heart wasn’t pounding in his chest like it used to do when he was at his worst. I gave him an acupressure session, then went back to my seat.

“I’m a bit concerned about his breathing,” I explained. “Though he’s outlived my expectations so many times I’m not game to say anything! Here are all the medications fo him, and keep an eye on him, call me up if you need me.”

“I will,” she assured me, with a smile. “Look at him though, he still looks happy. And there’s something really special about an old dogs eyes, isn’t there?”

“There is,” I replied. “He’s an awesome old fellow, and it’s a pleasure to come out and see him.”

We chatted for a few minutes, then I made my way out to the van, surrounded by a sea of happy poodles, waiting to bark at me as I drove off.

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