Kristin and I are facing the sad realization that our beloved dogs are aging. They're not old per se but our male dog, Kimo, is about ready to turn 8 and after lengthy hikes and runs he's definitely showing some mild aches and pains. He limps around, he sits down favoring his left hip, and it takes a day or so before he's anxious to go for a walk again. Our female, one year younger than her "big brother" (oddly enough, she's actually his aunt according to our understanding of the family tree) isn't gimping around just yet, but she's starting to slow down a little.
The issue of my dogs' mortality is one that I try never to think of, as I can't and don't want to think of a day without them. And, if all goes well, I shouldn't have to for quite some time, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to let them start getting old either. We called our friend whose also a vet and she recommended some glucosamine-chondroitin tablets for Kimo. She said it's pretty common for dogs his age and size to start getting a little arthritic and that this could help. Just like it's known to help humans.
The catch was that the stuff costs $140 for roughly 3 months worth. We have some catastrophic health insurance for our dogs to help off-set the costs of surgery or cancer treatment on down the road, but nearly $50 a month for doggie-vitamins is kind of steep -- try about Annapurna steep.
Fortunately, Kristin's running partner has been going through the same thing with her dog and recommended one of those special brands of kibble that is fortified with tons of the glucosamine and the chondroitin. She says it worked wonders for her dog and costs about $35 for 35 lbs of food. Expensive for dog food, but not much more than we pay already. So we go to the pet store and we find the bag and we're trying to pay, but this woman suddenly starts chasing after me.
Me, not really being anybody's "sir" ignores her assuming she can't possibly be talking to me. But she doesn't give up her pursuit and finally tracks me down somewhere between the guinea pig cages and gourmet dog snack buffet tables. She's the sales rep for that particular brand of dog food. And she has coupons so I listen. I tell her about my dogs and mention that they're both Siberian Huskies.
"I'm so glad you told me that. You need to get this variety over here. It's the senior formula for large breed dogs and it has way more of the glucosamine than that one. The one you have is for average dogs."
My dogs are totally average size -- they each weigh about 50 pounds. "Does it have the chondroitin too?" I ask, ignoring the fact that I have no idea what chondroitin is.
She leans in close. She's got a secret.
"It has a tons of both glucosamine and chondroitin and (she leans in and lowers her voice) you're gonna get 43% less poop."
My first thought was what a great title for a blog post that would make (I didn't use it because it would have made the actual telling of the story pointless and even more boring than it already is) but my second thought was more practical.
What will I do with all of those newspaper baggies if I don't have as much poop to pick up?