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Anyone who is self-employed will tell you that there are days, nay, weeks on end when you ask yourself,

“Why the eff am I doing this to myself again?”

Because of course the month that one of your major clients needs to pay you a few weeks late is also the month another major client is inexplicably dragging their heels, and of course that is also the month when your tax estimates are due and unexpected expenses pop up. This is the kind of month that makes one fully realize the meaning of the phrase “steady employment,” and that it does not in the slightest bit describe one’s own condition.

Ain't nobody happy when Baby ain't happy. This is actually two years ago when he cut his ear, but it is a really adorable example of a sick puppy.

Careful readers and keepers of time will note that it has been about a month since my last post. Well, all of the above does have something to do with is, but it has more to do with my recent preoccupation with Gunshy’s health. You see, I was away on a glamorous trip to Des Moines last month, and when I returned, my baby was feeling under the weather. In fact, he didn’t eat his dinner the very night I came home.

Do note that for seven straight years, Gunshy the ever-loving and always happy boxer has eaten ever single meal. Through sickness and in health, through losing Bonnie and moving 14 times, this kid has never missed a meal. So we were concerned. I won’t tell the lengthy details of the days to follow, but they involved much poo examining, driving him to a local vet, taking him along to business meetings, driving him to Tawas to see my dad – his regular vet – and more. Dad diagnosed him with a kidney infection, but was pretty concerned about some odd things in his bloodwork.

Gunshy is one classy guy.

Now, here’s where my employment status suddenly became essential to Gunshy’s health: he started getting notably better with the antibiotics for his infection. If I’d had the kind of job where I saw him in the morning and then for a few hours in the evening, I would definitely have believed he was totally recovering. He was eating, his gross green eye boogers were gone, and when people come into the room, he was getting really excited. But. Something very subtle was still wrong.

When he got back from walks, he panted too long. When he was not busy being excited to see us and just chilling on the floor, he was breathing too hard. When I watched him sleep, I could see his heart pumping in his chest. All of these things were very, very minor. If I hadn’t been watching him all day, if coming and going marked most of my interactions with him, I never would have noticed.

The rest of the story is long, and begins with an ECG reading that suggested he had cardiomyopathy, which is a horrible and fatal condition, and ends with an entire day spent at a dog cardiologist (yes, there such thing. And I paid for one) who found that he in fact has a bacterial infection inside his heart and pneumonia in his lungs.

Yes, Gunshy has put up with some crap in his day.

To be clear: this would have killed him. All it would have taken is us not getting him to the cardiologist soon enough. My baby was dying. Gunshy is the only part of my life that has been nothing but pure joy and wonderfulness for seven years. He has survived chaos, more moves than any dog should have had to make, and an owner (that’s me!) who made nearly a decade of successive poor decisions, all of which made his life harder. But he was never naughty, never sad and always quickly adjusted to whatever batshit decision I made as long as it meant we were together. Those who know me know that rock bottom is a place I’ve managed to hit on more than one occasion. Each time, Gunshy was the soft, fuzzy moss covering the rocks, cushioning my fall.

Now that we have finally and officially gotten our lives in order, just as we have found a loving, steady home, he got sick. I owe this puppy big time. I’m finally in a position to spoil the stripes off him for the rest of his life, and I will allow nothing to stop me. We have no way of knowing how much time we have left, but I do know we’re going to kick the crap out of this infection, and that his life will be longer because of my working from home.

Get used to it, Buddy. Baby gets what Baby wants.

High stakes, stress, long days, late checks: this is the best job I could ask for.

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