A Special Trip

Today Mr. Os. went on a special trip. It was just him, and our still healthy, 18-year old husky, Crash. It happened in the middle of our living room.

I rescued Crash when he was about three, which later was pinpointed to “close to four…or so.” He’s the oldest dog at our vet clinic. He almost didn’t make it past 14, but Dr. Teisch helped guide us through rehabbing a slipped disc. Four years later, he’s only now…over the past few months…begun to show his age.

Suddenly, people on the street comment, “he’s older, isn’t he?” They never used to. Everyone was so surprised. “Seventeen! Really? I’d have thought seven.”

But now, his age is just something that impresses. It no longer surprises.

And, DC summers being what they are, Mr. Os. is right. For him, winter probably is not coming.

That’s why, at the moment, I’m about to flip my noodle. You see, I recently started my own business. And it’s been going great. But, I mostly work from home. As does Mr. Os. That part is great.

But never leaving a dachshund or husky is a lot of work. I had no idea. It never ends. Think, two of the neediest kids you know, now make them old. Now make one a bully (dachshund), and the other a pushover softy (husky).

The "Dynamic Duo" on guard to greet anyone bold enough to come over.
The “Dynamic Duo” on guard to greet anyone bold enough to come over.

Add one enabler who’s completely spoiled the pushover (husky), and indulged him, that he and the dog have daily conversations. These are distinct, and unique. I’ve heard it enough times. “Pay attention.” “Treat?” “…Treat!”

Then there’s my favorite. “She’s picking on me, she’s picking on me.” And with the dachshund, she’s always doing that. It’s what dachshunds do. They assert.

And so my work environment is not dissimilar to being in the middle of an oil drilling operation. Constant motion. Perpetual noise.

Lately, it’s gotten worse. It’s because our dachshund, Sophie, has also seen it. Seen our husky (Crash) begin to show his age. His frailty. And she’s become more dominant. It’s been difficult. Crash is my baby, and she’s such a bully.

How Mr. Os. sees Sophie.
How Mr. Os. sees Sophie.

That’s just nature doing its thing. We try to offset it, and stop it as quickly as it starts. But the dachshund is a stubborn breed, and Sophie’s listed in the dictionary under “stubborn.”

How Sophie really is.
How Sophie really is.

But, back to the trip. Mr. Os. decided today that as DC hit summer, and summer hit DC—always harsh, but even more so for huskies, because of the humidity—Crash would more than likely not make it to fall.

It’s a harsh truth. Now, let me just say that this dog still looks “amazing for his age.” And he’s still mostly all there. Aside from the occasional faux pas, he’s been great. There were a few times, once almost peeing on the palm, another time being zonked on Xanax (first and last attempt to help him sleep through the night) and peeing across the living room and into the dining room, but aside from those few memorable moments he’s been healthy.

We’ve already had our “worst time,” event. It was the day we were off to Spain. That morning, Mr. Os. and Crash peeled off to go to our vet, for Crash’s daily treat. I was wrapping up a client hand-off and heading back.

I didn’t expect to hear “Crash was walking and he just…he had a stroke.” An hour later, I met them at the vet. Long story short, that was last October. Since then, he’s happy and healthy, knock on wood. He’s been with it.

He’s only on one prescription that helps his back. He can do the stairs on his own still. These days he can only make it to the first floor, and needs to be carried up the second flight. We’ve started to keep his harness on, and helping him walk up the dreaded second set of stairs.

He used to hate it. Holding Crash by his harness was similar to wiggly luggage. But now he knows, and let’s us lift him, and help him. He enjoys the attention.

Crash, waiting to be helped up the stairs.
Crash, waiting to be helped up the stairs.

But all this goes back to the trip. And I will not digress again. The trip, was Mr. Os. holding Crash’s head, both of them lying on the floor. One hand under Crash’s neck, close enough to softly speak to Crash in a reassuring tone. Repeating a chant that he and Crash seem to have worked out. Sometimes, it kinda freaks me out, I’m not gonna lie.

But it works with Crash. He melts like butter. This time, Mr. Os. did it for about a solid hour. He wants to make sure Crash has as many happy, and special memories as possible. Every day, every night, every morning, every afternoon.

And that kind of attention…it’s just not healthy. That’s how you get those Idi Amin types. Which is the constant balancing we’re doing, walking a tightrope. I call it indulging. Mr. Os. calls it “making it special,” and at times it makes me crazy.

But, I can’t argue Crash is happy. And so, today, Mr. Os. used an hour to formally say “just in case, I wanted you to know….”

Of course, the dachshund broke it up before the hour was up. Because, Sophie. But, I’m sure he’ll do it again. And, I might have an extra 15 minutes I could spare.


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Author: Judi Kennedy

Wanderlust. A professional aunt, fitness enthusiast, dog owner and avid reader the rest of the time.

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