Pettigrew’s Reducing Regime

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that our elderly dog has lately been off his food. This is complicated by the fact that he has an Incredibly delicate constitution so tempting him with substitutions from his typical diet is fraught.

We’ve been warming his food to heighten its aromas. We’ve been hand feeding him. And, when desperate, offering alternatives. All with mixed results. He’s been eating enough to get by, but losing weight.

He has not been upset by this. The concern has all been on our part.

Now I know why.

He’s been on a reducing regime to improve his aerodynamic abilities.

As he aged, he was unable to launch himself on to his prized surfaces. Gone were the days when I would find him peering out the kitchen windows from his perch on the window seat. It also seemed that he was no longer able to make the leap to our beds.

For while I had reconciled myself to Pettigrew’s claiming all upholstered perches, I drew the line at the beds. I love him, but I like my own space. I believe he feels the same way. He tolerates being petted if he’s on the sofa, that is, after all, a communal space, but the dog beds are his private domain.

However, in recent weeks he has been on the kitchen window seat again. I’ve watched him jump and he’s making the transition with no scrabbling. It’s like he has a new lease on life.

But the proof came earlier this week. Lulled by his seeming frailty, I had, during the pandemic, removed the gate that barred the stairs to the second floor. We lived in happy symbiosis for the past few years: him having free rein of the house and even a dog bed at the foot of our bed.

Until a few nights ago when I found him ensconced on my son’s bed. No fool he, the previous night he had slept on the floor of my son’s empty bedroom. When I heard him go into that room again the next night, I thought he was settling down on the floor and was not alarmed. Only in the morning, when I peeked in, did I realize my mistake.

Suddenly the diet, the ease with which he mounts the window seat, and now the bed all made sense.

I am leaning in to my happy illusions. Perhaps I am denial, but I believe that is the only time he slept on the bed. I also don’t think he’s slept on the other beds in our home, but truly, what do I know? Perhaps that night he just fell into a deeper slumber, didn’t hear me in time to jump down and innocently arrange himself on the floor.

The gate is back up. Pettigrew is back to eating his food. And I have increased respect for his planning and commitment to the incremental steps it takes to achieve long-term goals.

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