"Poochini The Wonder Dog" Attempts One More Comeback

Hey look, it's either hear about my dog or dwell on a game so bad that if the A's give up 12 walks, 2 grand slams, and 21 runs tonight, they will have shown improvement. Plus, over the years many of you have shown an interest in Poochini, whose attempts to die date back to his first ever walk, when he jumped off a cliff in Bolinas (I'm not exaggerating; he really did), and the other 98% of you have been most patient in accepting the occasional musings about some random pet belonging to "some guy on the internet".

Now almost 16, Poochini has been slowing down, though even as of a few weeks ago he trotted through the house mimicking the crazy "figure 8" laps he has done for 15 years. However, I believe he has "Dogzheimers," a condition that has caused him to spend a fair amount of time lately pacing randomly around the house and then standing in the middle of a room staring out into space. Were he human and without a caretaker, I believe he would be oft found in downtown Berkeley, walking nowhere in particular and unable to identify who he is or where he lives. However, because he is a dog we can get less information about what is going on and can only assume that he has spent the last few months growing increasingly senile except in the area of meat. To this day he knows what meat is and that he wants it. Now almost completely deaf and with cataracts that could sink a battle ship, he is largely a "two sense" dog: Smell and taste. But he has been, from the moment we got him to last Saturday morning, a very very happy dog. Now jump and I'll tell you why I hate raccoons.

Remember that I had a hernia operation Thursday and did not sleep all night that evening. So come midnight on Saturday morning my life was largely composed of avoiding lying down and taking 10 minutes to figure out how to get up. At about 12:30am on Saturday morning, I heard a recurring thump against a door and realized Poochini was in some sort of crisis. He had been sleeping locked in the kitchen, because of puddles and piles that had been appearing with frequency around the house.

Hearing repeated thumping sounds coming from the kitchen, I sprang out of bed. Now "sprang out of bed" means I moved my right leg 3 inches, turned 5 degrees, carefully rotated my left arm behind the small of my back, scooted my body to the right 6 inches, moved my left leg 3 inches...You get the idea. But eventually I got up, came downstairs, opened the kitchen door, and found a panicked Poochini bleeding from the face. A raccoon had come in through the doggie door and had evidently attacked Poochini, either biting and/or swiping at his snout and left ear. The thumping sound was Poochini banging his head against the kitchen door trying to get it to open. That image, of a frantic and bewildered old dog, trying to escape and get to his master but unable to, haunts me.

The actual injuries inflicted by the raccoon were only moderate. Ears bleed a lot and the wounds on Poochini's face were not life threatening. The worst of it, as far as I can tell, is that Poochini was traumatized by the encounter, and also I believe he probably suffered a concussion or other head injury banging his head repeatedly against the kitchen door. You've heard about how something is "like banging your head against the wall" and now you have an actual resource if you want to learn more about what that's like.

Now, as if the story isn't depressing enough already, is the heart-wrenching part. Since that incident, Poochini has not seemed to especially recognize me, or my mom whom he also has adored for 15 years. He has spent most of the last week trying to walk into cramped spaces, nestling himself under chairs or between a piece of furniture and a wall, pacing around the house walking in and out of cramped spaces. If I pet him, he tolerates it but doesn't appear to know who I am or care. The tail that used to go "thumpa thumpa thumpa" when I gave him "top of the head kisses" lays limp between his hind legs, and the "lickies" used to thank me for feeding, walking, and loving him have turned to "And you are...?"

However, just as you can give up 22 runs one day and still win the next, life is a story of "tomorrow is another day" and I write to you with this story today because this morning Poochini appeared to be walking better than he has been and appeared just a little more alert than in days past. When I got down on the kitchen floor to greet him from his morning pee (consummated in the backyard, thanks!), he approached me with his tail swishing gently from side to side. That's the first time since Raccoongate. And after the last of my 50 or so "top of the head kisses" (I'm trying to get in as many as possible), when he realized he had received the last one, he cocked his head ever so slightly upward and licked my cheek. It's the best kiss I've ever had (sorry, ladies). Does my suicidal, near 16-year old, "Dogsheimers with a  PTSD chaser" wonder-dog have one more comeback left in him?

I do love that dog. ;-)

A's at Boston at 4:05pm. Talk about anything you like till then!

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