What We Will — and Won’t — Do for Our Dogs
Always “on call,” in more ways than one
Cathy Park of Worcester, Massachusetts, is more than a trooper. She’s a lifesaver. If she weren’t willing to inject her beloved dog Bunson with a needle every single day, he wouldn’t be alive. The beautiful white Labrador Retriever has chronic kidney failure, and without the extra fluid she gets into him by way of a daily shot, he would have long ago succumbed to his disease. But here he is still, perkier than he had been for some time, enjoying car rides and lolling around the house.
It took all the fortitude Ms. Park could muster to commit herself to giving Bunson an injection each day. A self-described needle-phobic person who can’t even watch a needle piercing her own skin, she had to steel herself for the nursing duties she was going to be taking on. All of a sudden her life was going to be filled with IV bags, syringes, and special fluids, not to mention the needles themselves. But, as she puts it, what choice did she have? “They’re your baby,” she says.
You can read about Ms. Park’s ordeal on page 11, in “Giving Injections At Home.” We suggest you do, as this could be you someday. By some estimates, almost one in 100 dogs ends up with chronic kidney failure, and one in 400 develops diabetes, which also requires daily injections given by the pet owner. Fortunately, as you’ll learn, giving the shots is much worse in the anticipation than in the doing.
Me, I’m not the trooper Cathy Park is. It’s not that I couldn’t give my dogs regular injections if they needed them; I could. But that’s no big deal because shots don’t bother me.
I’m not that great about going out of my comfort zone when it comes to training,
however. A case in point: I let my cream colored Shiba Inu, Rosie, jump on me and everybody else, even though, by the book, a dog is not supposed to be doing that. A lot of people don’t enjoy dogs jumping on them. But Rosie jumps so adorably. She kisses people as she does so, clearly just wanting to say hello and be friends. She even smiles in the process. Who could mind such a cute, playful — sorry, lost my train of thought. Anyway, Rosie weighs 25 pounds. What if your playful dog is a 75-pound Golden Retriever, or bigger — with muddy paws? And the person she’s jumping on is wearing light-colored pants? Or walks with a cane? That makes it a lot harder to convince people how adorable your pet is. Which is why we offer the article starting on page 1. With help from the director of our behavior clinic and some willpower on your part, jumping on people can become a thing of your dog’s past.