Periodically over the years during one dog crisis or another I found myself wishing that things would just get back to normal.  But what is normal?

It wasn’t until the morning after I let Maggie go that I realized how involved and time consuming our normal had become.  That morning it took me just 10 min to give Tani her pill and eye meds and feed her breakfast. Over the past three months Maggie’s breakfast routine had evolved into 30 min or more.  Getting pills in her, figuring out what she might eat on her own, syringe feeding her and cleaning her up.  And that was just breakfast, dinner was the same routine, and there were the sub-Q fluids every other day also.

Normal is really relative.  I had gotten so used to the marathon of meds and feeding that it became our norm.  I even had the alarm set 15 min earlier so I wouldn’t be too late for work.

When I think about it the state of normal is constantly changing for us. I have, after all, been owned by pugs for eleven years.  Here are some random thoughts about our ever evolving definition of normal.

When you have a pug it is normal if:

Your dogs go to the eye doctor more often than you do.

You have more business cards in your wallet for vets than your own doctors.

When you have a cancer or otherwise sick dog it is normal if:

There are more than 10 kinds of dog food, baby food, meat, and cheese in your refrigerator- all for the dog.

There are more meds and supplements for your dog than for you.

You do a load of wash per day when you are single and have no kids.

You cook more for your dog than you do for yourself.

You have to wear an apron when you feed your dog.

When you call the vets office you don’t have to give your name, they recognize your voice.

You track the amount of food you get into your dog by the teaspoon.

Part of the back room decor is a pole rigged to hang the bag of lactated ringers.

You shop in the incontinence aisle of the drug store before you turn 50.

All of your furniture makes crinkle sounds when you sit on it because it is lined with incontinence pads.

When you have a Tripawd it is normal if:

You don’t have just one throw rug as an accent piece on your hard floors; they are covered with a mish mash of rugs.

You have a stroller in the garage.

You ask for a discount at the groomer because there are only 12 nails to trim.

You can discuss the pros and cons of the Ruff Wear harness vs. the Help ‘em Up Harness vs. the AST Get A Grip Harness.

You consider ice cream the answer to all good news.

Author: krun15

Maggie was a little black pug born in 1999. On September 7, 2006 she lost her left rear leg to a mast cell tumor. Because of lymph node involvement Maggie went through a 6 month chemo regimen. She was given 6 to 9 months after her amp, but she beat mast cell cancer! In the winter of 2010 things started to slide; in the course of about 2 months she had 2 MCTs removed, was diagnosed with incontinence and kidney failure, and then the big blow- oral melanoma. She lived her carefree tri-pug life until she crossed over on June 2, 2010.

13 thoughts on “Normal”

  1. I know exactly what you’re talking about (well minus the pug-specific stuff, but I get it). It was actually more stressful not to have all those things to do for Yoda, getting all the timing of the different meds and the eating right and such. Not doing all that was nearly as tough as walking in the door after work, coming home to the Yoda-less house. Both force you to face the fact that they’re gone and there’s nothing more you can do about the cancer and that’s just SO unacceptable, isn’t it?

    When I got Gerry, about a month before he had his amputation, and even though it had been a couple of months since I lost Yoda and I felt I had adjusted to the new normal, there was a sort of a glimmer of relief in the extra work of taking care of Gerry’s needs. It was stressful too of course, especially during his amputation recovery, but I did feel that glimmer of “Oh thank dog I can do something to help again.” And because it did feel like Yoda had brought Gerry to me, it felt like I was helping Yoda too.

    I am to the point now though where I would be just fine with not having to give Gerry any meds (other than his supplement) – so it does come. Really! (St. Francis, you hear that? Please? I’m good now. Gerry can stop having his GI problems anytime. Haha!)

    More thoughts and prayers coming your way Karen!

  2. Bwahahahahaha! That was funny.
    (It’s not too soon to laugh, is it?)
    My mommy could have gotten rich if she had a nickle for every time she says, “Are you okay?”.


  3. As I started reading this I was not really sure what to think. Bout half way through I started grinning, then smiling and finally a good giggle.

    You told so many truths but saved the best for last, ice cream is the answer to all good news!

    You and Tani are in our thoughts and prayers. Hope to see the both of you Saturday.

    The chauffeur.

  4. Karen, this is fabulous and so true. I know that all of us who love our pups more than anything in the world can relate. With your permission, can we re-post it in the Forums? I love it.

  5. Oh Karen,

    That was great. I was with Jack on this…about halfway thru I started smiling and laughing…I had hoped that was OK…and I see it is in your reply to Comet 🙂

    It reminded me of Doug’s book I just finished….Beezer and Boomer… have you read his book? If you haven’t, I recommend it…(I can’t remember Doug’s last name…Koktavy I think).

    Hugs to you and Tani in your venture of your ‘new’ normal.

    Tracy & the “other” Maggie

  6. Karen that was priceless and oh so true! Thanks for starting my day off with a smile!

    Hugs to you!
    Darlene (Angel Tehya’s Mom)

  7. Karen,
    Like everyone else, this rings so true! My husband often comments how we have more food in the fridge for the dogs than for us. I’m forever cooking for them and have to leave special instructions for everyone who takes care of them if I go out of town. It’s a very time-consuming process….forever making sure they’re eating, taking their supplements, have enough food on hand to feed an army etc. , etc. Now I’m not sure what normal is either….actually all of this does feel normal. If it changes, that might not feel so normal :). Thanks for making us all smile!

    You and Tani are in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. You ask for a discount at the groomer …

    Too funny! 🙂 Thanks for the laugh … who wants to be normal!?

  9. Karen, this was charming. And as the chauffer said, you did indeed save the best for last – ice cream is indeed the answer to all good news and it helps with the bad too.

    I’ve never figured out what was “normal” either – my sister-in-law maintains “normal” is simply a setting on the washing machine.

    I’m sure you’re missing Maggie a lot. Thank you for the smiles.


  10. Oh, this is so true, so very true. Thanks for the smiles.

    Karen, you (and Tani!) remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Have you ever gotten the nail discount? I always ask for 25% off, but I’ve never actually gotten it!

    (I did have a patient get half off a pedicure though for missing a foot)

  12. I loved this, Karen! You hit the nail on the head… even if there are only 12 of them. Gee – I hadn’t thought of asking for a discount – great idea!

    Thanks for giving me a smile. We’re keeping you and Tani and Angel Maggie in our hearts.
    Holly and Zuzu and Susan

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