It usually takes me about 30 minutes to wake him up each morning. He is frustrated and getting depressed so I wait until 10:00 AM to begin the process. I look at him and feel such love and compassion explode from inside and I tear up a bit. He is sprawled across his two beds that I pushed together, giving him plenty of room to move around as he sleeps there for more than 22 hours a day. I start by saying his name and all the pet names I have for him, I start softly then get more animated and excited,
“Quincy wake up! Mr.Q, Quince, Q-boy, Quincy-Love, Mr. Handsome, Lovey, Love of my life, goodmorning!”
I sit on the floor next to him and whisper in his cone “Good Morning Quincy, Love love, it’s time to get up.”
He barely moves. I start scratching his back, his belly, then really firm, right in between his ears with a deep scrub, scrub, scrub. It finally gets his tail wagging.
I prepare to do the cone swap. The 24 hour a day cone attire totally prevents him from being able to paw at his very sick, painful, eyes. I slowly unclip the collar that is attached to his soft, oversized protective “sleeping cone”.
“Q, Momma’s about to take off your cone, so get ready for the light.” I carefully pull it off.
Before I slide on the “walking cone”, the smaller, less comfortable plastic cone that allows for Quincy’s nose to stick out so he can smell the roses on our walk , I dive my face right into his.
“Welcome to the world Q-Man!”
We just snuggle and scratch and I whisper “I love you buddy” in his ears. I feel him take a deep breath and I begin to start breathing to the rhythm of his breath, slowly in and out, together. I massage his whole body with lots of scratching and the tail starts up again.
“Deep breathes buddy.”
I talk to Q like I used to talk to my infants when no one was around. I would go on and on all day telling them everything I was doing, “Ok sweetie, I am about to wipe you, it’s a little cold be ready…” and my sweet babies always seemed to know I was talking to them in the continual conversation we created between us in our many intimate moments, me talking and them responding in a nonverbal way letting me know they heard me.
I know he hears me.
I want my failing twelve and half year old dog to hear my love as well as feel it, so I keep talking.
“Good morning sweetness, time to wake up.”
His tail keeps wagging, but his eyes are glued shut by the sticky fluid buildup caused by the corneal ulcers on his eyes. I grab a tissue from the box that I keep next to his beds, and gently dab at the liquid outside each sealed shut eye. I then carefully separate the top lid from the bottom and dab any additional liquid or gook that comes out.
“Buddy, it’s time for your eye drops.”
He is annoyed by the drops but he is still too tired to fight me and he is on his right side so I go in for the left eye. I brace myself into his torso, using my arm closest to him to block his paws from coming at me, I quickly but carefully open his top eye with my pointer finger and thumb, loosen my blocking arm and squeeze out a drop into his top eye. I dab his eye with my left hand and use my right to block his paw from coming at his eye to wipe it himself.
“No buddy, you need these drops to make you better!” I place his paw in my hand and hold it firmly and stroke the pad of his paw. We take a break snuggling and breathing together as he calms down.
“Great job Quince! Now let’s do the other eye buddy. Time to turn over buddy!”
I grab both his front paws in one hand and then both back legs in the other, pull his entire fifty five pound body towards me and playfully flip him over.
He still seems to be sleeping.
We go through the same process to medicate his right eye.
I keep at him to wake up, petting him, and dabbing the liquid that keeps building at his eyes as he continually tries to open them.
I slide on his “walking cone” that let’s his nose pop out and stops him from walking too far into trees, bushes and branches as we zig zag through the neighborhood.
“ Q – EEE, it is time to go outside, let’s go for a walk.”
I stand up, and wrap my arms around his large labradoodle belly and try to pull him up to a sitting position. He sits, then flops back down. I pull him up again, “Good job buddy, let’s go outside.”
I walk out of the room encouraging him to follow and instead of walking towards me, he does a 180 degree turn and walks right into the coffee table with his cone. He has never been more stubborn. If I try to call him he intentionally goes in the opposite direction, he is just so frustrated, resorting back to his puppy days, just like a human resorting back to childhood stubbornness as they reach the elder years.
I have felt pretty vigilant about him keeping a cone on at all times. That is what the dog Optomologist told us. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a dog opthamologist and it is surprisingly an essential service at this time and I am thankful for that.
“Q, come this way” I place him on his leash and try to direct him into the kitchen and towards the back deck door. He stands firmly in place and will not let me lead him. I do not want to pull too hard which would pull at his neck and cause him to cough, so I gently pull and keep saying “ this way, good boy” every time he moves a step in the right direction, like we’re playing red light green light.
He turns around again and begins to walk but quickly vears in his own direction bumping his walking cone directly into a chair near the corner of the room. His agitation is very evident as he just stops and stands there for another couple minutes with my encouragement having no success.
“It’s Ok Q, come this way.”
I take a deep breath and am so very thankful I have this free time of my furlow to give to him.
We just need to get out of the house and the outside will motivate him to move so I drop the leash, head to the outside door, open it, go back over to him, whisper “Quincy, I got you.” and I place both hands under his large frame and carefully lift him, bring him outside to the deck, down the 2 steps to the patio that abutts the backyard placing him down gently on the outdoor dog bed on the grass next to his outside water bowl. I splash the water a bit so he can hear where it is saying, “have some water buddy” placing my wet fingers near his mouth. He reaches his coned head down and begins to lap voraciously at the water as he usually does after his long nighttime sleep.
After his fill of water, he lifts his nose up into the sky arching his head back. He just stands there. I go over to him, dab at his dripping eyes, and scratch his head under the walking cone. I pick up a snowball and place it under his nose, “buddy it snowed!” He starts to lick my hand, then he starts to lick the snow in my hand, and then he walks a few paces, lowers his head and starts to actively lick at the new snow on our lawn. After about a minute, he takes a few steps more, gets in position and pees for a long, long while. Finally! It has been over seventeen hours since he was last out, and without my encouragement that dog could have lasted another few hours for sure.
I take this opportunity to run back in the house, put on my coat and gloves, place a poop bag in my pocket, top off my coffee, and grab my phone, 11:00. I head back outside where Quincy is standing still, close to where I left him, with his face beaming into the sun, his eyes are still closed and tearing, but I think he is smiling. Off we go.