I don’t know how to start this post, so here it goes. I am going to make a list of the things I like and dislike about Winter so this way maybe someone out there will say, “Me too.” Misery does love company.
Things I like about Winter:
- Shoveling snow, but only if I do it within 5 hours after it has stopped snowing. I actually enjoy it.
- Clothing – I like to wear a coat, scarf, gloves, etc.
Things I dislike about Winter:
- I cannot go for a walk with Alex for too long specially when the roads/sidewalks are icy
- I have to wear layer after layer of clothing to keep myself warm. Alex doesn’t like to wear sweaters except for one, so I think is safe to say that Alex shares this dislike with me
- My hands hurt the colder the weather gets and I hate it
- I cannot take a shower and then go out. Why? Every time I do that I get a cold. No, really. I really do get a cold
- In cold weather, there are more accidents due to icy roads
Do you know what is the best part about having a canine companion? In my case, Alex makes me see things in a different way. Look at her. Asleep, close to the vent of course, with no care in the world. Alex makes the best out of any situation and time of the year. What a great teacher she is, don’t you think? Well, I will stop my complaining and follow Alex’s lead and enjoy the day even though as I look out my window I see nothing but more snow. I know, I know. I was still able to complain one more time. What can I say? I am human after all.
In November 2013, Alex injured her ACL and I was beyond scared. So scared that I was ready to put her through surgery, but my better half, Cynthia, talked me out of it, and even today I am glad we made the right decision for Alex. Please, bear in mind that neither Cynthia nor I are vets nor pretend to be one, but we made the best choice for our furry kid Alex, taking into consideration her age, recovery period, chances of getting full recovery, and expenses.
At the beginning, Alex wore the brace featured in the above picture all the time, except for bed time, of course. She had tons of bed rest and this was easy to do because at the time of her injury she was already 11 years old so she loved to sleep. This is not an easy task to accomplish if you have a young dog.
Nowadays, Alex does not use her brace when she is at home anymore. She wears it only when we go out and when we visit family. Because of her ACL injury I changed a few things in order to help her heal and keep her free of pain. Here are a few of the changes I made for her:
- Walks – I try to get her out 2 to 3 times a day, when the weather is not too cold, for about 15-25
- Diet – Alex eats 75% human food, 25% kibble
- Bed – I got her an orthopedic bed
- Sun bathing – Sunbathing, in moderation, is excellent for her injury
- Heating pad – I put a heating pad on her during the evening. This accomplishes two things: it keeps her warm; and it helps improve her mobility
- Supplements – Omega 3 and Osteo-Pet total joint care
I cannot complain. Alex is doing great and she is about to turn 13 years old in May 5th. I still cannot believe it. My girl is a tough little cookie.
While in Boston, I had the opportunity to visit the New England Holocaust Memorial, and to say that I was touched by what I read would be an understatement. What resonated with me most was this:
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
I am a firm believer that if we do not learn from History, then we are bound to repeat it. It is terrible to know that we, human beings, are capable of such atrocities. And then, I take a look at my Alex, and say to myself, “Yes, but there are also amazing people along with amazing dogs.” I don’t know, for me, a canine companion such like Alex, is essential in my life. Alex makes me do something I have a hard time doing and that is to live in the moment. So, with that in mind, I would say carpe the heck out of the diem, and if along the way you are able to make a difference in the life of a person or a dog, then in my book you are an angel.
After reading about what goes in the making of kibble, I decided that it’d be best to feed Alex a combination of human food and kibble with the former making up most of her diet. In Ecuador, where I am originally from, when I was a kid our pets were fed scraps and I don’t ever remember anybody saying, “My dog has allergies,” but that is a topic for another post.
Anyway, tonight I cooked some chicken in the oven for us. I did season my portion, 1 chicken leg with Adobo, while leaving Alex’s portion unseasoned.
I mixed 1/4 cup of kibble, white rice, mashed potatoes, and chicken with no bones. The mashed potatoes did have a little bit of salt. When she saw me putting this together she was in the kitchen with me as if asking, “Is that for me?” Yes, this is for you Alex.
Once all the ingredients were mixed, I served it to Alex. She, to my delight, inhaled the food. I love when she eats. Once she finished, she did what she does every single night.
She waited for me to finish doing dishes so I can brush her teeth, which is followed by Alex getting a dental treat. Between you and me, I think she hangs around the kitchen just so she can get that treat. The good thing about this routine of hers is that it reminds me that I have to brush her teeth. Smart girl.