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November 1, 2011

Old and Gimpy

Roy Meachum

As the community knows, I had an 83rd birthday last week. Pushkin’s came July 9. He was 13, which means the English pointer is my senior, figuring one dog year for seven human years. We are both old and gimpy, as I point out to people when we take our daily promenades on North Market Street.


Since my main purpose in life is to keep Pushki healthy, we have a standing two-week appointment with veterinarian Stacey Dimaria, who gives my best friend acupuncture along with a whole lot of love. In 30 minutes or so, she coos and caresses him, stroking his fur and rubbing the belly. On the other hand, the English pointer trembles all the way to the West Frederick Veterinary Clinic. I sometimes have to pull him up the steps.


No such trepidation when we go through our yellow door for walks, mornings and early evenings. He pauses on the stoop, casing the territory and sometimes he pees before reaching the earth around the nearest tree. As we get older, our “innards” change; I now use the mop more frequently, especially on the garden room floor, when he can’t hold before reaching the patio door. And, as I have discussed on before, on every jaunt we use the leash. Left to his own devices, he can wander into traffic seeking some real or imagined “treat.”


Pushkin has favorite spots, as I have pointed out. We first stop at Whitesell’s Pharmacy for several biscuits, where he has several buddies, especially Annemarie Merritt, a true beauty. We more often than not cross on the corner of Second Street, passing Firestone’s, which has a new and exciting chef, on the way to En masse florist. I love the rich aromas of the many herbs and flowers, especially in the cooler months. Alicia L.’s owner Pat keeps eatables in the left front corner, so the English pointer needs no urging to go in.


Before heading home, Johnny “Murdoch” Hebron beckons at his Rags to Riches tailor shop; Pushkin lies on the floor and I have a padded stool to perch on before we head home, across from the former Carmack-Jay’s supermarket that all my neighbors and I want Volt’s to move into.


At home, once inside, my best friend heads for the two water bowls in the kitchen and I sit down to the computer.


Ours is a satisfying daily routine, made better by friends, especially Dr. Dimaria. For many months, the English pointer snuggled up in the bed; in turn I hugged him when going to sleep. The pleasurable nightly habit halted abruptly; he had trouble simply walking. X-rays showed he had arthritis-like growths on his spine. He still has trouble keeping his legs on smooth floors and stairs. But acupuncture has reduced the three growths, two eliminated and one barely a nodule.


Suggestions that I buy steps to help him lie again beside me were rejected because I’m determined to maintain his dignity. For all his contributions to life, he deserves respect, most of all. Since, as I noted, health seeps away with declining years; he deserves recognition as a splendid being, canine rather than human. Meanwhile, he and I love the people we bump into, especially the many children.


True, since Bobby Fisher replaced my right knee, we are old and gimpy, but still very much enjoy life’s pleasures as they come along.


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