Friday, January 11, 2013

the magic portal. . . .

Poor Luther.

He's allergic to something, and it makes his skin go itchy. These days, he's getting baths once a week (down from one every 2 or 3 days) and taking 3 gigantic pills every morning and every evening.

I should say I'm wrestling him to shove 3 pills down his throat each morning and each evening. . . . "taking them" is a definite misnomer for this process. He does not "take" them. In fact, he's getting great practice evading them. Even the cottage cheese trick doesn't work, as this medicine apparently tastes so vile, he simply refuses to eat his dinner. And that's vile, because Luther isn't one to skip a meal these days.

Poor guy.

Then, the final insult.

"OK. I think you should put him in a T-shirt." Dr. B, his vet, said, at his last follow-up appointment.

"A T-shirt?" we asked.

"Yes. You know, just slit the T-shirt up the back a bit and then tie it around his waist after you put his legs through the arm holes and his head through the neck. This is looking like contact dermatitis, so let's see what putting him in a T-shirt will do." Dr. B is unvaryingly enthusiastic. She had merely smiled and shrugged when we incredulously repeated her initial instructions that we were to bathe Luther 2 - or 3! - times a week with some very expensive shampoo she was going to prescribe. Bathing Luther is not exactly easy.

Right, then. A T-shirt it is. It turned out that his chest is way too large for even an XL T-shirt. I slit the shirt all the way from hem to neck and attached ties. He fought it in hand-to-hand combat for the first hour, but he's gotten used to it now. He only wears it outside, so I put it on first thing in the morning, and take it off after his last outting at night. I have to be careful here, as Luther has begun to see going outside as a magic portal for food. He goes out, and when he comes back, sometimes he finds food in his bowl! Magic! When he then empties his bowl, inevitably it occurs to him that he should try the magic portal again to see if it won't fill up the bowl upon his return . . .

Poor Luther.

He tipped the scale at 160 not too long ago, and altho Dr. B didn't say it, I said it for her: "He's overweight."

She did not disagree.

We put Luther on a diet, and he's lost 20 pounds. He's looking SO much better. He's much more energetic and runs now, instead of stopping after only a couple of half-hearted lopes. Hmmm. But could he be allergic to being on a diet? That's just about when he started having skin problems. . . .

This has not been fun for any of us, let me tell you. Luther is not over-the-top food-driven - he won't eat if he's upset or nervous, for example, or if there is another dog around to play with - but he does like his chow. I don't like the fact that he finishes his dinner and it's obvious he's still hungry. I hate it that he goes to the magic portal, goes outside and comes right back in with such eager anticipation. I hate the sight of him standing in front of his bowl, waiting. Disappointed.

[sigh] Poor Luther.

He doesn't see the work of the magic portal transforming him from overweight itchy-skinned mess back to the lithe and sweet-smelling hound of old. All he sees is the empty bowl, the terror of the bath, and a T-shirt instead of his usual hair shirt.

Ah. . . . hair shirts. That's for us these days, for the keepers of the magic portal.

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