Sometimes love hurts. When I was young, the pain associated with love came in adolescent dramas mostly created by massive fluctuations in hormones. These days, it comes with loving a creature who depends on me for protection. When he hurts, I hurt.
This, of course, is my dog, Tisen.
I like to think we provide the perfect home for him. We buy him special food. We feed him more vitamins than we feed ourselves. We walk him at least 2 miles every day. I work from home–he is rarely left home alone more than a few hours a week. We take him to doggie daycare twice a week just so he gets to socialize with other dogs.
We take him to dinner with us when weather and patios permit. We socialize with friends who invite him to come along. We drive him places. Sometimes, we put him in our van and drive about 100 feet away to our favorite breakfast joint and let him hang out in the van while we eat just so he doesn’t feel like he was left behind.
We also provide gentle training and positively reinforce that he is not at the top of the hierarchy in our house. He does not seem confused on this point.
Although, he does still get quite upset when I leave, he’s handling it much better. When we go out without him, we put his portable bed by the door so he has a comfy place to lay and when we come back, he’s still laying there, right next to the door.
We take him hiking and backpacking too, when we go.
I can’t imagine life for a dog gets a whole lot better than life with us. I guess he could long for a fenced yard to run in. But, I recently learned that when I drop him off at doggy daycare so he can run free and play with other dogs, he finds a hiding place where he can curl up and take a nap.
Yet, in spite of all these things, Tisen is chewing on himself. It starts with licking. Then, the hair starts to dissolve. Next, the skin becomes a bright red, raw sore against his white fur. That’s when he starts chewing.
I cannot help but get upset when I see pink irritation in his skin or when he wakes me up scratching in the middle of the night. I don’t know what more to do about his allergies. We’re waiting for his latest test to come back. This one will hopefully tell us what he’s allergic to.
In the meantime, I decide to make a video. Ever since I made the jump to my 5D Mark III, I’ve been spent my time on still images. I literally forget sometimes that it even has the capability to shoot videos. Tisen is perplexed by me constantly pointing the camera at him, but at least it distracts him from the itching for a while.