My husband wanted to name our son Chester. “It sounds like a dog’s name,” I said. So we named our son Lewis. Of course there’s a dachshund down the street named Lewis, so what do I know?
Then, seven years ago, we went to the pound and fell in love with a fuzzy little mutt. Again, Harris immediately offered up the name Chester. This time I had no argument. Chester it was.
I love the dog. I do. I have bought the requisite chew toys, a fleecy bed and an assortment of collars. He is registered with the town, vaccinated against rabies, medicated to prevent heart worm and trained to sit and stay. I feed him high-priced dog food, dose him with glucosamine for his joints, bathe him, brush him and scoop his poop. But now he has developed arthritis and the veterinary professionals at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston are asking me to do more. Way more.
Now, – in addition to glucosamine – Chester has fish oil chews, a syringe of Metacam and gabapentin mixed in with his dinner. But that’s not all. Once a week, Chester goes for acupuncture. The lights are low, there is soft music and a mattress on the floor. It’s very relaxing – for me. For Chester, the vet offers up an array of tempting chicken balls and liver cookies to keep him distracted while the needles are going in. After four treatments, there has been no discernible difference in his condition. But a very discernible difference in my checking account. Results, says the doctor, are not immediate. For me, she prescribes patience.
Chester also has a Physical Therapist who comes to the house and leaves me with sheets of exercises to do with the dog. These involve stretching, massaging and applying heat and cold. I bought a pad that heats up in the microwave and gets cold in the freezer. Chester flees to the basement whenever he sees it. This is a problem because he is not supposed to be climbing stairs. That’s because has recently injured his ACL. Until he can go for surgery, next week, I am supposed to carry him. Which I do – even though he weighs 40 pounds and is as stiff as a sheep.
Now, Chester’s team of healthcare professionals are recommending AquaDog. AquaDog is not a canine superhero, it’s a water therapy facility just for dogs.
I am wondering when the madness will end. But I am packing Chester’s Speedo and his goggles and heading to AquaDog to test the waters.