vestibular disease

Idiopathic or “Old Dog” Vestibular Disease

9 days out, Henry still wobbles, still tilts his head, and still doesn’t eat much

I dreamed of Henry the other night…

Almost a year since we lost Bubba, and I’m not ready to lose this one–my baby, my pokey little puppy. Last night he whined and whined because Maggie and I were downstairs. I remembered as a puppy how he would whine in his pen upstairs. Unable to bear his crying I’d lift him out, hold him on my chest, and sleep with him here…upstairs, on the couch, again. He is the same; I am the same. In the summer of 2004, I felt a hole emerging in my life. Maggie was 4, Jake was 6, Carlos was 9. Carlos would live another 2–almost 3–years. Parenthood, marriage, teaching, scholarship, and service were taking their toll. When I saw Henry in a bin full of puppies at the Farmer’s Market downtown I couldn’t resist. A farmer and his son from Hooper said he was 8 weeks old. He was probably closer to 6. Still needing his momma.

People said, “What will your husband say? Have you talked about getting another dog?” No, we hadn’t. If anything, we’d discussed staying “animal free” when Carlos died. But I needed this puppy. I needed him to be the one creature in my life that I wouldn’t have to say “no” to. I needed him to love me in ways that my husband and children and colleagues and students couldn’t. Unconditionally. Someone said, “Your husband is so forgiving. Getting a new dog could be grounds for divorce.” They were trying to be funny. But I knew my husband wouldn’t and couldn’t deny me this. The seeds had been sown long ago…before we moved to Ogden, before we had children, before we married. Perhaps the puppy was another gesture toward marital dissatisfaction. He was mine. All mine.

And so we named him “Henry.” Jake came up with the name–well we sort of happened upon it together. Maggie wanted “Pajama Sam.” He’s always been Henry. Not Hank, as my neighbor refers to him. Henry. My Henry. Sweet Henry.

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
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