Letter From an Old Friend (cont’d)

I woke up from nap with a couple more things on my mind that I’d like to share. I know you still think of of me as a youngster, but we have to face the facts here; I’m getting pretty old. It would be a lot easier for me, physically, if we could modify some of our routines. For example, I’m just not as limber as I used to be. I’d be so grateful if you would invest some extra time brushing my fur and caring for my skin. When I was younger, I could easily show you where I had itches, sore spots, and minor discomforts, but I just can’t reach all that stuff anymore. Make sure to have the doctor check my ears when we’re at the clinic, because it’s hard for me to show you when they’re bothering me.

It’s pretty common for dogs my age to be a little incontinent, so the idea of diapers might have crossed your mind. They might seem like the perfect solution, but walking around in wet pants is extremely hazardous for my skin. All of my parts need to be kept meticulously clean and dry, because skin that stays damp gets painful and infected. Please, please be careful, and check with the vet first to see if there is any medicine that might help me stay dry.

I hear the doc’s started asking for some lab tests on me. You know why, right? My major organs are getting a bit weaker too. One of them, eventually, is going to trip me up. I don’t want us to be in the dark about my kidneys until it’s too late to do anything with them, so please say “yes” to these tests. Okay, this issue was going to come up sooner or later: my visits at the vet are going to be more costly as I get older and older. I know you’re accustomed to sort of a flat fee at each of my doctor visits, but physical problems are more likely to develop as I get older; you shouldn’t expect my maintenance costs to remain the same. If you take a moment to consider all the years I spent working hard at being healthy, I think you will conclude that this is only right.

I suppose it’s obvious that, at some point, you’ll hear some frightening or dismal news about me from the vet. Do your best not to panic. You know I won’t—that’s not my way. Listen carefully to whatever Doc has to say, give it some time to settle, and then just do your best. This will be a challenging time, but I trust you to do what’s right for our family. I hope you know that I will never doubt you for a moment, and that I could never be disappointed in you. Because that’s not my way.

Thank you for listening, master. This stuff is important to me. Let's talk more, if you want. You'll find me at my afternoon nap spot.

Dr. M.S. Regan