Dr. Riggs has earned his Degree

Riggs has earned his Doctorate.  After watching tons of Doctor shows he demonstrated his compassion and apparently what he learned last night.  For days we haven’t slept because Shadow would cry and scream all night to be let out, because he was lonely, he wanted water – we were exhausted!  Riggs always has had a love of the old guys, as a puppy he would spend long hours talking to Homer as Homer’s health failed.  Apparently the old guy left a special place in Rigg’s heart and since then he’s always been kind and gentle with the old dogs (not typical malamute behavior, most would rather knock off the old guy than humor him).   Anyway, in desperation last night from lack of sleep, I put Rigg’s bed next to the old guy and hoped his company would get us some well needed sleep.  It worked!  I heard Riggs several times come and lay down by our bedroom door, then I’d hear a tiny moan from Shadow and he’d get up and leave.  By 5 am when I awoke I realized I hadn’t been up ONCE all night.  Of course, Gracie decided to pipe in and yell toward morning, but at least you can bang on the floor and she quiets down.  With Shadow that just doesn’t work – he gets louder and louder and louder. However, last night Rigg’s nursing kept Shadow content and quiet.  Shadow is now being as obnoxious as ever, now that Riggs is off eating his well-deserved huge rawhide, but at least it’s daylight and with a little sleep, I can tolerate a little demanding and whiney behavior from the old coot.  What did he do last night that accomplished what we could not?  (I mean, we tried EVERYTHING imaginable).  I think he talked “dog” to Shadow.  I think they spent the night having long conversations like Riggs used to do with Homer.  Shadow even made the effort to STAND – slowly making his back end get up so he could change position, he managed to go the whole night without drinking water like a fish, he didn’t pant uncontrollably.   They say a pet is good for your heart – maybe dogs need other dogs too?  Maybe Riggs shouldn’t get the title of Doctor as much as faith healer!  Dogs are amazing – and the power of the pack is more amazing.  Who would think 2 males would get along and like each other so much that you could trust them together all night (Riggs is double Shadow’s size), and that just being together would be comforting to an old guy on his last leg.  We’re talking Shadow here – a dog who never quite fit in and with aggression issues with other dogs and people –  getting along with a male twice his size – actually trusting and depending on him.  I’m even more convinced dogs have a language all their own, beyond words, perhaps ESP that we may never comprehend.  Obviously all the knowledge learned from E-Vets and Scrubs helped Riggs as well ;-), he could comfort Shadow when no one else could.  He didn’t scream for drinks of water every 15 minutes (and then have to pee every 20), nor did he screach as he pooped (he no longer can make it outside so screaches while he goes), nor did he moan and howl from loneliness – which was his apparent issue all along.  In his old age, Shadow’s separation anxiety seems to be returning full bloom and what a wonderful discovery that his companionship with another dog, Riggs, can help him cope. 


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