Challenging times

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Alfie became incontinent. It started with peeing uncontrollably; he had always been very regulated in doing No. 1s, but now it was anytime. The vet diagnosed him with a kidney disease.

Alf went on a special hard food diet and medication. We tried all kinds of food until he could tolerate one. I mixed this new hard food with some special senior dog soft food and his pills.

That worked for a while.

Since he could not get around without assistance, I placed a painter's drop cloth over an area rug in the family room with towels on top of it. When he wasn’t outside, he stayed in the family room.

Alfie got better for a couple weeks, but then more issues began and lasted, so I learned to change a diaper for the first time in my 67 years. Then, he had no control of his bowel movements. 

I tried to establish a schedule to help "loosen things up" by supporting his back legs as we circled the yard. That worked pretty well. If he did have an accident in the house, the drop cloth and towels handled the situation. 

The "doggie do" was buried in the landscaped area of my condo. As fertilizer, yes, but also an everlasting reminder to me that a part of Alfie is in all my plants.

But, I was frustrated. Alfie loved the outdoors and exercise and he wasn't getting those. On a computer search, I came across dog wheelchairs.

Although it took a bit of trial and error, and extreme patience from Alf, he became proficient in the wheelchair. I started by urging him on with treats and then when he got comfortable with

lugging around this extra weight he needed no food encouragement.

He knew the wheelchair was his lifeline to the outside world. So much so that when I brought the wheelchair in from the garage to the family room, as hard and painful as it may have been for him, he got up on his front legs so we could get him into the wheelchair and out we went.

Then, we met Alice.

Doug Cook is a Friends of the Jeanette Hunt Blair Animal Shelter Board member living in Slippery Rock, Pa.



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