Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Medicine

No my breathing issues are not completely resolved, though better with the build up of the new meds in my system. Time to go back for another round of something else. Will it ever end? Still not sure what is causing this flair up, oh well, this too shall pass.

Remember when it was a battle to get the kids to take anything? The flavor was awful and listing it as cherry flavored didn't help at all. Alec to this day can't swallow a pill. I gag on cough syrup but Meredith has it easy. Little rat lives in the age of flavoring. The pharmacist will add a flavor enhancer to the liquid meds now so that's it's easier to get down the hatch. Wish adults had it that easy.

Sugar coating it, anyway you look at it, takes the pain out of getting better. My best medicine in the house is fourlegged. Remember back in January when I was on my death bed with the flu? A couple dogs were concerned, one just worried about why I was still in bed and a couple more were just happy to have someone to let them out in the middle of the day. Medicine comes in so many forms but the warm fuzzy ones are my favorite. Over the years I've participated in therapy dog programs with one dog or another. Clairee is retired from active therapy dog work, Fred too. Hope at one time loved going but is so crippled up now that just walking to the front door is all she can muster. My latest prescriptions for health are Moose and Eddie. Suck ups, starving for attention and total people dogs. Good medicine.

I am a member of a couple of therapy groups. One visits nursing homes, but unfortunately it's during the week when I work. So I only am able to attend a couple times a year, mostly during the winter. The other is not so much a therapy group but it's an outreach program with the kennel club. We go to schools, daycares, scout groups, etc, and talk about dogs. Safety around dogs, how to care for dogs, responsible dog ownership, etc. It's actually one of my favorite things to do-talk to kids. Moose has his Therapy Dogs International certification, Eddie will be tested in a couple of weeks. So we go, do some demonstrations - jumps, retrieves, how to greet a strange dog, that sort of thing. Then Moosie gets all excited, so much so that he collapses into a pile of goo on the floor and can't get up. Not really, but then the kids get a chance to practice the skills we taught them about how to meet a dog or to just ask questions, Moose is in heaven. He's flat on his back, feet in the air, getting tons of belly scratches and kissing lots of faces. Eddie of course has watched and learned the technique but he adds in the bat the eyes and wriggle on the floor. Clairee is above that and sits quietly beside me, offering a paw up for a shake or two.

Nothing like the perfect prescription for a nasty problem. So many kids are scared of dogs because they aren't taught how to meet dogs, how to act around them and the best one, owners who don't spend the time training the kids and the dogs so that they can get along. The number of dog bites and attacks just keeps going up and up, cities want a quick fix and do breed bans or BSL's. Quick fix only works on the symptoms, not the heart of the problem. When we bring an animal into our home, we then take on the responsibility of caring for their every need-physical and mental. Hoping that our K9 Ambassador program helps the future generation realize what a responsibility dog ownership is. The sad state of our society these days, with disposabilitiy and instant gratification, means that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. I also hate to see the lack of owning up to a problem being ourselves and passing it off to an animal who has no ability to remove itself from a situation that we created. So many times it's get rid of the dog, it's causing too much trouble when some time and effort into being a responsible owner-training, altering the dog, or heck, even training the kids, would solve the problem.

I'm also in the middle of starting a school age kid therapy dog program. Ran across a great program called Pet Pals and working with a wonderful group of kids in 4-H who are learning that it's not just walking their dog into a nursing home and letting people pet it. It's about knowing your dog, understanding what obstacles the people they meet might be dealing with and how to deal with death and dying. Hoping that these kids stick it out, I've already got things in place to work with a local hospice and a couple other facilities. The aim of the program is to bridge the gap between youth and seniors but I see it going so much further.

Good medicine sometimes means that you can't solve the problem, but make the time spent dealing with it, easier. Several years ago when I first got started doing nursing home visits, Hope was the dog we usually took. On one trip we were introduced to an older farmer who had had a severe stroke. Nurses commented that they hadn't been able to get much response out of him but thought the visit with Hope might help as he had pictures of his dog-a lab mix, in his room. Hope gimped along the hallway and into his room. Gingerly she put her feet up on his bedside and for the first time, the gentleman showed a little emotion then lifted his hand to pet her head. We are all in tears, it was a wonderful visit. The next time we came, Hope knew right where to go and down the hall she drug me to get to his room. He was doing better and was very happy to see her. On our next visit, once again, Hope was excited(as excited as the slug can get) to go down to his room, but stopped in the doorway and just sat down. Our friend had passed away and Hope knew he wasn't there anymore. It still amazes me to this day and I hope it always will. The insight that animals have, we will never be able to fathom.

Good medicine-tasty, hard to swallow, solves the problem or just alleviates the symptoms. Right now I have a house full of various meds-stuff to help my breathing, knock out the migraines or keep the arthritis at bay. But my favorite ones I get to wrap myself in each and every day. Be them 5lbs of energy, 60 lbs of sludge, tall, short, long hair, no hair, my fourlegged medicine cabinet is by far the best medicine, something no doctor can prescribe but just what I need.

Later gators....

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