It’s a Dog’s Life

My Henry is very high maintenance. Even more so than me. He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which means he sees his groomer precisely every four weeks, whereas I’m lucky if I can see my hairstylist every eight weeks. During Henry’s last visit, his groomer informed me that she can feel some tension in the back of his neck and that it might be from stress. That I should try to massage his neck and shoulders, on a weekly basis, to help Henry alleviate this stress.

My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel takes a much-needed nap to alleviate his stress.

Stress? What is my dog stressed about? I’m the one working day in, day out. I’m the one blogging and trying to figure out what I’m going to write about next. All Henry has to do is decide if he wants to nap on the sofa, the comfy chair that I sit in when I’m watching TV, or simply lounge on one of three dog beds scattered around the home. There’s even a fourth dog bed in the garage that he sometimes likes to use. And there’s always my bed. So, is that the real problem? Have I given him too many choices for napping, that it has turned him into a basket case, simply because he can’t decide?

Then there’s Henry’s veterinarian, who has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of his own. Which makes him an expert when it comes to treating my dog. He’s given me a laundry list, which could fill a novella, if you ask me, that contains specific instructions on what I need to do for the care and comfort of Henry. Here’s a sampling:

  • Ear cleaning fluid: I’m supposed to squirt this in his ears twice a week and then rub them. Henry hates this and furiously shakes his head when I apply the solution, causing the liquid to spray all over me.
  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth: I have to brush his teeth at least once a week. Then, Henry’s supposed to rinse with a medicinal solution, but try as I might, I still can’t get him to gargle and not swallow.
  • Oral gel: This removes plaque from his teeth and freshens his breath (I guess he needs this for when he goes out on dates, thus proving even a dog can get more action than his owner). Problem is, Henry refuses to sit calmly with his mouth wide open so I can apply gel on his canines to my heart’s content.
  • Medicated shampoo for washing his face, to help reduce bacteria from getting into his mouth, which seems pointless, if you ask me. Apparently, Henry’s vet has never seen what this dog puts in his mouth when he’s out for a walk. Bacteria? Henry’s response to that is, bring it on!

Well, I guess I have to do all this because Henry is, after all, descended from royalty. His ancestors romped in some of the best palaces of England—Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, you name it. While my cavalier is confined to living in my tiny abode. Trust me, my place is no palace.

Did I rob Henry of his royal birthright?

Maybe Henry is stressed because he feels he’s been robbed of his birthright. Kind of like “The Prince and the Pauper.” I’m sure Henry’s thinking someone forced him to switch places with a pauper dog. My little “prince” probably takes stock of my place and says to himself, “I could do better.”

I told a saleswoman at the local pet supply store about my dog’s plight. She suggested I have his aura checked. Aura? How about his horoscope while I’m at it? Which, if I am to believe his, it’s time for Henry to put his nose to the grindstone and set long-term goals. I imagine Henry’s long-term goals consist of making sure he squeezes in enough nap times between meals, avoids having to take long walks with me, and collects as many tennis balls from the tennis court as he can muster. At last count, Henry had 34 tennis balls in his possession. (Best not to look under the sofa.)

So, there you have it. I’m living with royalty and all I can say is, who ever said it was a dog’s life?