Doggie Daily Self-Cure

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When Craig comes home from work, he opens the door, and before greeting me, he first gives attention to our beloved companion dog, Golda, who awaits him every day. After setting down his shoulder bag he puts on a rubber dog-grooming glove, and with all the care of a skilled masseuse he gives her a vigorous skin brushing. The glove is dimpled, similar to those old-style doormats that are emblazoned with the word “welcome. Should Craig be distracted momentarily from this duty when he arrives home, Golda follows him around the house, nudging him with her nose as a gentle reminder that he has a job to do. When he gets down on the floor with her, he makes sure to brush not just her torso but each armpit and leg too.

It’s this act of doggie daily self-cure (and her daily raw chicken liver with kibble) that I believe has kept our arthritic Golda on her paws.  It’s also an act of daily self-cure I personally  partake in because in both humans and animals alike, skin brushing stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation. For an old dog like Golda who is no longer active, and cannot scratch or self-groom, this kind of friction massage is very therapeutic.

In all the seventeen years she has lived with us, veterinarian visits have been very few and far between. Now, besides diminished hearing and vision, her back legs sometimes fail her when she mounts steps and she often struggles when both getting down and rising from the oak floors so we occassionally give her a lift.  Our old gal has had a few fast growing growths that were removed from her paws and larger undiagnosed tumors remain in her abdomen.  She sleeps for most of the day, but still looks forward to her daily walks, two bowel movements, supper, and of course, skin brushing.

A few months ago, after Craig built a ramp so she could still get in and out of the dog door on her own, we knew we were entering into doggie end-of-life care. Our Golda, even in her old age, is still a beautiful and serene creature.  Through the years, we have covered a lot of ground, and gone the distance – together.  Her comfort is our comfort.