Having three dogs is like having three kids.
No matter how wonderful their worlds appear to be, one of them is always out of sorts.
This week, it's the junior pug, Sophie, who has developed a kind of honking sound, like the noise emanating from a flock of Canada Geese as they bid farewell to the North in the fall in search ways to irritate our Southern neighbors.
Like all pugs, Sophie has her peccadilloes.
She has been itchy for a year and has developed a rather unsightly sore on her right ear. Itchiness is a permanent condition for some pugs; Ming had it her whole life and had to be on steroids in her latter years to prevent her from self-harm.
Sophie is going the same way, I'm afraid, but we've managed to keep her off the medication by holding her, calming her, using the tried and true Temple Grandin squeeze box technique.
Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.
The itchiness is bad, but the honking makes the whole thing worse.
The new affliction is unnerving in the middle of the night, the honking, now combined with the scratching has resulted in our bed shaking like one of those twenty-five cent massage affairs you see in bed bug-riddled motels in Niagara Falls.
As a result, everyone is awake, except for the mighty Finnigan who has taken to the Lazy Boy for relief.
This would be a good thing except, when we finally manage to get Sophie calm and asleep, Finnigan bounces onto the bed and wakes us all up again and causes Gordie, the Jurassic incontinent pug, to poop on the bed.
Let's be clear.
There is no room on the bed for Finnigan, considering that his parents have a combined weight and girth of more than four hundred pounds, but he will not be deterred. Like some kind of lugubrious eel, he manages to insinuate himself between Scott and me, somehow, just somehow, managing to avoid the decapitation of Sophie who is under the covers and Gordie who has somehow crawled up beside my snout.
Finnigan is a swarthy fellow, generally adept at good landings.
But like any sleek stallion navigating the steeplechase, his jump can be ill timed, like last week, when he landed on my right ear, the bad ear, the one the pillow had managed to munch down to the cartilage -- don't ask -- leaving me writhing in pain for much of the rest of the day. Serves me right, I guess, for sleeping upside down.
In my own defence, some nights I need to sleep with my feet at Scott's head, because Gordie can become disoriented and agitated, a symptom of his advanced age. He, too, can only be calmed by the Temple Grandin squeeze box method. I am the box.
This is the third summer that Gordie has managed to escape euthanasia.
He is a miracle of science.
Every time we think it's time for him to hobble down the Green Mile, he fools us. One minute, he can be languishing or uncomfortable, the next, he can be snoring with nary a care in the world.
He has some bad days, but a lot of good ones, so we continue to play the waiting game.
The vet gives us pats on the back for being the kind of pug parents that never give up on the 14-year-old blind, incontinent, toothless, hypo-thyroid paralyzed little fellar. I still carry him from pillar to post, Scott still squeezes him to pee, and well, he smells really, really bad most of the time. Other than that, there's nothing really wrong with him and he isn't much of a bother, though I do have to write my blog watching the sunrise as he insists on sitting with me every minute of the day.
I love him, and obey him, what can I say?
Last night we figured out what the honking was.
Apparently, certain pugs develop a problem with the trachea, which causes the honking.
"It sounds worse than it is," says the online vet, who instructed us to give her some cough syrup, which we did last night.
For the first time in a week, Sophie slept through, as did Gordie, without pooping, as did Finnigan who was sandwiched between us, paws up, bicycling his dreams away. Not even one Lab Death Roll.
Finally, there was peace in my bed.
It's like Rosanne Rosanna Danna once said: "You know, it's always something."
As a dog owner, you have to accept the bad with the good.
It's what you sign on for, as a card-carrying member of the Puppy Pile.