Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Dog lover quote

We have more dog lovers in our house than dog likers. It’s 3 and 2. Zeke, Olivia and I love dogs. We believe Reggie is a card carrying member of the Smith family; he deserves all the love, rights and privileges due a member of our home. Scott and Eddie like Reggie. They show Reggie affection, but they think he is a pet.

Reggie has been having some health problems lately. The vet said Reggie’s problems are with his heart, and his problems might be serious. We don’t know yet. We’re still trying to figure out what is going on and why.

The anxiety this is causing the dog lovers in our house is pretty consuming. Zeke and I slept in the living room with Reggie the other night. I was on the couch, and Zeke was on the floor. We had tons of blankets laid out, because we wanted Reggie to have plenty of places where he could try to get comfortable. Olivia didn’t join us; she knew that kind of vigil would cause her unbearable stress. She was right. I was up almost the entire night. I felt like I did when I was hovering over one of our fragile newborns.


Eddie was not aware of the sleeping arrangements when he went to bed. He came out in the middle of the night for a drink of water; he got a good fright instead. It was quiet and dark. He walked to the sink and leaned under the faucet to drink some water. I popped my head above the couch and said, “Hi Eddie.” Eddie can jump really high.

Eddie asked us the next day why we think it’s necessary to have 12 people hovering over Reggie all night long. He exaggerates. It was only two people. And, yes, it is necessary.

Poor Olivia, Reggie is like part her little brother and part her baby boy. She’s been so anxious about Reggie’s illness, like any good mother would be. The other night she was having a hard time controlling her emotions. I told her she should just go to bed early, and try to get some rest. Then I told Scott to go say something to her to try to make her feel better. A few minutes later I heard Olivia crying and yelling, “Daaaaddddd!!!!”

Scott came into the kitchen, and had me to face. “What did you say to her?” I demanded to know.

He said, “What? I was trying to make her feel better. I told her to remember that all dogs go to heaven.”

I thanked him for taking the time to think back on all the things he ever learned from posters he’s read, and delivering that heart-warming and frightening piece of parental wisdom. Scott’s a dog liker, not a dog lover. It’s hard to explain the way it is to him.

While Olivia, Zeke and I have been evaluating Reggie’s every move and intake of oxygen, Eddie will come through the kitchen and give him a playful belly rub. Eddie will say, “Oh, he looks fine to me. He’s just tired.”

Forgive me if I seek a second opinion.

When Eddie and I were talking about Reggie’s illness and how strange he’s been acting, Eddie told me, “I think he’s fine. He just needs to get some rest. He slept all day today.” Eddie should know. He’s the one who is home with him most of the day.

I said, “Eddie, Reggie wasn’t even here today. He was at the animal hospital the entire day.”

Eddie said, “Oh.”

Dog likers, not dog lovers.



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