I have been worrying about Lytton lately because of his more or less chronic diarrhea (pardon me for bringing it up again). Cleaning up after him is bad enough, but that inconvenience is overshadowed by my fear that there is something seriously wrong with him. Last night I looked up his sympton on the internet and was terrified. Since he is happy and active, I shouldn't be unduly upset, so I was told. However, the frequency and duration of the episodes mean that it could be a systemic problem involving his liver, kidneys, pancreas, or intestines. He could have tumors. Of course I panicked, but continued to read various web sites until I was able to convince myself that perhaps the picture wasn't totally bleak.
The biggest comfort I was able to glean out of all my research was that I haven't actually treated him correctly. Though I fed him a bland diet, it wasn't really as bland as it should have been, and I did give him some treats. Also I did not preceed the bland diet with a fast. Nor did I give him small portions, not wanting him to be hungry. Maybe if I am more conscientious, the treatment will work. One of the sites suggested oatmeal instead of rice, so today I cooked him a serving of Quaker Oats to mix with his boiled chicken (which I skinned first to remove the fat). I gave him a small portion for his second meal of the day. He gobbled it up, but he raced into the studio immediately and lost it all. I am sick about it, but hopeful that it was just that he wasn't used to the oatmeal. I will go back to rice tonight, though I will have to cook more since what I have was cooked in chicken broth made from my innocently boiling wings (full of fat).
Lytton is almost eleven years old. I have worried about losing him ever since he was a puppy and I realized that I would love him beyond any reasonable limits. I got him the day after Ben Joe died. Ben Joe, the first dog I ever loved, the dog I thought could never be replaced in my heart. He was eleven. Since then, I've lost Happy, age thirteen, and then Pebbles, age seventeen. I loved them and mourned them. I still mourn them. I have lost countless beloved cats and had to give up several horses. I loved them all. I cried buckets of tears over every one of them. Now I have Benny and Patrick, whom I love. But there has never been such an attachment as I have for Lytton. I have no idea where this comes from unless it stems from the time in my life when he came into it. My daughter gone, my son ready to leave. My divorce final, my baby dog dead. I was moved out of the house where I had lived for eighteen years. Life as I had known it had collapsed. In a flurry of activity on a Sunday afternoon my wonderful friend Elizabeth coaxed me out to comfort me. Over coffee at Border's, she suggested we look for a new puppy.
What a silly afternoon we had, borrowing a copy of Uncle Henry's Buy and Sell from the magazine counter at the Shop 'n Save and using her cell phone to call about the dogs listed for sale. We visited the local pet shops. We found nothing. Then I spotted an ad for Lhasa Apso puppies that was relatively old. I imagined they would all be gone, but decided to try anyway. There was one puppy left. Somebody had left a deposit but failed to come to pick him up. If I had $200., he was mine. We jumped in the car and drove to Prospect. I turned over all the money I had, supplemented by a $75. gift from Elizabeth, to Lytton's owner and off we went. What a fortuitous day.
I fell in love with Lytton the minute I saw him, but that love grew and grew in the days and weeks that followed. I took him to bed with me every night, woke up when he did, played with him until he fell into a deep puppy sleep, then slept again myself. When I left the apartment, I missed him fiercely and hurried back. The first time I left him for any length of time was to go to the movies with Elizabeth, and I remember telling her on the way home, "I think I have been away from my little Lytton just about long enough." That intense love affair has not diminished at all over the years. Perhaps it has even grown, if that is possible. I can't imagine life without him.