We have hired a dog-walker.
Debbie moved in four doors down last fall, immediately threw a huge housewarming party, invited the entire neighborhood, and now knows way more neighbors than I do and I've lived here for fourteen years. That's the kind of warm and gregarious person she is. (Or perhaps that's the kind of hermitty and curmudgeonly person that I am.)
She walks dogs for a living. She also tends cats and other animals, stays overnight in your home when you're out of town (I don't think she'd stay if you were home, but you could always ask) and is otherwise helpful and friendly and pro-active.
And, get this--she knows how to administer insulin to animals. Yay! So on Sunday night, Doug and I had our first prime-time date since Boscoe got sick last May. (Remember, Boscoe became diabetic while we were in Ireland. That was pretty much the last time we went anywhere together in the evening, which we have come to think of as "insulin time.")
On Sunday night we went to see the Timberwolves play the New York Knickerbockers, and then we went out to dinner at a little pub near the Target Center and watched a woman in carefully ripped black stockings and a leather bikini bottom get drunker and drunker and drunker. Finally she tried to climb onto the bar, and the bartender came around and said to her, firmly, like a dad, "Here's what I need you to do. I need you to sit down." And she sat down.
Debbie comes to our house twice a week and walks the boys in the afternoon. This is heaven for all of us. Boscoe does much better when he gets his walk at 4 or 5 p.m. rather than at 7 or 7:30 p.m., as is the case when he has to wait for one of us to get home from work.
Debbie bakes homemade dog treats shaped like stars, and sometimes she hangs out and gives them both scratches and rubs, and she always leaves a note for us, letting us know how things went.
Sometimes she takes their picture and emails it to me, like below:
So Boscoe is in heaven. Riley, too. (And can you stand how cute Riley is, with his nice sit and his toes together and his face all eager and wistful at the same time?)
But Boscoe is also in a little bit of hell, because his elbow problem is back. A few years ago, when we were in Paris (and why does he always get sick when we're abroad? Can we never travel again?) his elbow pads swelled and became inflamed, and we fought it with hot compresses and a velcro padding contraption that straps over the back and under the belly (which he immediately learned to escape from), and, finally, herbal medications, which did the trick--for a few years. (Cataplex A-C-P and horsetail grass.)
But in the last few weeks the problem has returned in his left elbow. The pad, while not infected, is soft and swollen. He licks it constantly.
He's miserable with itching, and he keeps me awake half the night with his noisy licking, and I am miserable too. Poor old boy.
Any suggestions? Know of any secrets, any remedies that might bring down the swelling and calm the irritation? In the meantime, I shall wrestle his velcro suit back on him and head to work. He shall wait till the door closes behind me, and then wriggle it off. And commence licking.