Those of you familiar with this column probably realize by now that you haven’t heard from me in a while. Months, (years, if you look at if from my perspective), and nothing. Silence. As though maybe I died, or did what the Doc is always muttering about, ‘retired’. I’m not sure what that means, exactly. Listening to him it seems to have something to do with his job. Specifically, not doing it anymore.

I don’t really have a job. Neither do most of my pals. We non-humans work, to be sure. Just ask the farm horses, circus elephants, and Milo, that bossy Australian shepherd pal of mine who doesn’t really have a job either, but thinks he does and tries to organize the rest of us. He tried to organize me once. I organized him right back and he got the message.

Anyway, the non-humans I spend time with either live outdoors and do what they want, or live with humans, and do pretty much what they want in exchange for room and board. It’s not what I would call work, and quitting wouldn’t be what I think the Doc is talking about when he gets into his ‘retirement’ rant. It would just be dumb.

I mean, what would I do all day if I retired? Would I stop going for walks? Stop chasing squirrels? No more rides in the car or shopping with Mom in those fancy clothes stores she likes that smell like the best dog treats? The ones with the fancy shoes and jackets? Maybe I’d just sleep all day. I do plenty of that now. I don’t need to retire to get a little more nap time.

And I guess if I retired I’d stop writing my blog. Which is how we got on the subject in the first place. So let’s be clear: I haven’t retired because I have nothing I need to retire from. As far as I can tell the Doc hasn’t retired either, but that’s his problem. I’ll ask him about it later and let you know what he has to say.

So the reason you haven’t heard from me is because I can’t do this by myself. If you recall, I admitted a long time ago that I can’t type. Not built for it. That hasn’t changed. So I can write all I want but I can’t get it on the web site without a little human assistance which generally comes in the form of the Doc transcribing my stuff and ‘up-loading’ it, which is human lingo for typing it out and putting it on the blog. I don’t know why they call it ‘up-loading’. There doesn’t seem to be any ‘up’ about it but it’s not worth the trouble asking. Whatever.

Anyway, we were on a roll, me and the Doc, and we were getting things ‘up-loaded’ on a pretty regular basis until he woke up one morning with a cough. I’ve heard lots of people cough over the years, even the Doc once and a while. But this was different. He’d cough, then cough some more, and then cough until he had a hard time catching his breath and had just enough to say something profane. Then he’d clear his throat for about ten minutes and start coughing again. It was pretty annoying. I’m trying to get some shut-eye and he’s coughing up a storm and making all these gross noises.

I figured this wouldn’t last long, so I let it go. After all, aside from the coughing and the noises it was pretty much life as usual. Some days he got up really early and put on the pajama outfit, which I assume he wears to go to work, and he’d be gone until late in the afternoon. Other days he’d get up a little later, take me out, then hang around the house doing things on the computer, playing the guitar, and making dinner. The normal routine.

After a few days of this I’d had enough and asked if he would give me a hand with some ‘up-loading’.

“Sorry, Ky, (cough, gross noise), “not feeling good. Maybe tomorrow, (hack, cough).”

This went on for days. Lots of them. I got worried.

“So yeah, you’re the doctor and all that, but maybe you should be taking some medicines, get an x-ray or something.” Not sure what an x-ray is, exactly, but I’ve heard him talk about them a lot and thought it couldn’t hurt.

“Thanks for your concern, but I have been taking medicines, antibiotics, just in case, and I got a chest x-ray yesterday. Normal. It’s just some stupid virus. Nothing to do but wait it out.”

I understand about waiting things out. I can sit under a tree for an hour, not moving, waiting for some dumb squirrel to make a mistake. But ‘waiting it out’ didn’t seem like the right approach to being sick. If all you have to do is ‘wait it out’ why would they keep dragging me to the vet? I’m the one who’s always suggested we should ignore the little stuff, which is pretty much the same as ‘wait it out’. Maybe I should be a doctor, except that would mean I’d have a job, and we’ve already covered why that’s not such a great idea.

Eventually the coughing became less frequent and the Doc started doing more than going to work and lying on the sofa. Then he stopped coughing altogether. I’ll admit I was relieved. Things around here are pretty good for me and I’m not sure they’d stay that way if something bad happened to one of the folks. I’d prefer not to find out. Plus, when I asked him about getting some help with the computer he seemed happy to pitch in.

“We’re a team,” is how he described it.

I’m about half husky, so the notion of teamwork is a little different for me than it is for him. I don’t think I’d want him helping me pull a sled. But we do spend a lot of time together, so if teamwork means ‘up-loading’ and it makes him happy, then fine. I’m happy, too.


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