I want a dog! I’ve been hassling Renee for months, trying to get her to say yes. She is adamant. Her answer is no! She is quick to point out that I fall all by myself without the help of a dog getting under foot. She also lovingly reminds me that caring for my needs is a fulltime job and that she has no time to walk or feed a dog. Like most young men, I use “magic think” and assure her I can walk and care for a dog. She asks me to read the letter I wrote to my mom when I was sixteen.
My mom saved that letter and gave it to me years later. In the letter, I made all kinds of promises. If she would get me a dog, I would feed it, walk it, bathe it, groom it and use my allowance to feed it. Yes, it was “magic think” at its best. Of course, I did not keep my end of the contract and the work and expense fell on her shoulders.
This past weekend, Renee and I went to Atlanta to see Jeremy, Allyson, RJ, our 11 year old grand dog, Roxie, and our new grand puppy, Bishop. Bishop is a 7-week-old Doberman and he’s precious. He also proved to be way too much for me to handle. As usual, Renee was right. While dogs exude love, they take a lot of work, none of which I’m capable of doing.
Dogs are good for the heart and soul. Sitting on the couch patting Bishop and Roxie (Jeremy’s adult Doberman) was better than Xanax. At the same time, not being able to play with the dogs, feed them, and walk them broke my heart and spirit. So, it’s back to sitting out on my driveway and feeding the local dogs Milk Bones in exchange for a little love.
As always, there are downsides to loving a dog. Two of my friends just lost their dogs to old age and disease. Both dogs had become part of the family structure and the losses will be felt forever. I still miss my Ginger and Rocky.
Over my lifetime as a physician, I prescribed a lot of tranquilizers. In retrospect, I wonder if prescribing a dog would have done the same (or better) as my medication. The one thing being a patient with a chronic illness has taught me is that prescribing medications is too easy and that finding non-medicinal treatments, while more difficult, is better in the long run.
One last story. When I was in my residency, my fellow residents and I would sit at the lunch table and criticize the old docs for prescribing medicines to treat the side effects of medicines they had prescribed. I became an old doc and did the same thing I criticized the old docs for doing. Now I’m even older and I’m taking medication to treat the side effects of the other meds I’m taking. Around and around we go, where it stops we all know, the graveyard. Whenever possible work at finding a non-medicinal alternative. Buy a dog.
Here’s your joke for today. I need a good laugh!
Two dog owners are arguing about whose pet is smarter. “My dog is so smart,” says the first owner, “that every morning he goes to the store and buys me a sesame seed bagel with chive cream cheese, stops off at Starbucks and picks me up a mocha latte, and then comes home and turns on ESPN, all before I get out of bed.” “I know,” says the second owner. “How do you know?” the first demands. “My dog told me.”