Parkinson’s Law as Applied to Dogs

Dearest Rachel –

One of the results of my working (slowly and carefully, to be sure – I’ve no intention of throwing out anything you’ve written on that’s less trivial than, say, a one-time shopping list) on clearing… stuff… from your your side of the bedroom, is that the amount of room that Chompers has to curl up and fall asleep on either his bed, his floof, or any of several blankets spread across the floor has expanded, perhaps doubled since this accident. You would think this would be a good thing, as far as he was concerned.

And you would probably be wrong.

Now, maybe this is due to his arthritis, which I suppose will simply continue to get worse as he ages. And while I continue his regimen of Carprovet in the morning and Gabapentin just before bed (well, ideally), it may not really be enough to overcome the pain he’s experiencing. I don’t know – just like we don’t really understand other people’s pain, even less are we able to fathom what those of other species – who can’t communicate intelligibly with us – are enduring, and how to mitigate it.

But for all the room he has to lay down in, as that amount of room expands, he seems more and more prone to wander around at night, trying to find a spot (and position) comfortable enough for him to fall down into and go to sleep. Even as the Gabapentin (which indicates that it’s supposed to cause ‘profound sedation,’ which I confess to considering as more of a feature rather than a bug) courses through his veins, he just. can’t. get. comfortable.

Apparently, Parkinson’s Law applies to dogs just as much as to humans.

You know the rule: in its original form, the law was that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” As an avid procrastinator (and come on, you’d never deny that, despite the fact that it would often be embarrassing to admit), you were familiar with the concept. But of course, we also fell victim to its spacial corollary, in that “stuff accumulates to fill any space available for it,” and in our case, that accumulation eventually exceeded the amount of space, and worse, since this was an open-ended task we would get to… someday… it became subject to both the original law and its corollary simultaneously.

So here I am, carefully attending to the task portion of the cleaning (since there’s a deadline on how long we can keep the dumpster on the premises, as part of the rental agreement), which affects Chompers’ spacial issue. And he responds by having an ever more difficult time being able to find suitable real estate to bed down in. So as I chip away at our tasks, his space becomes that much more problematic than before.

I will offer one additional possibility as to why this might be the case, though. When there is so much stuff lying around, the piles essentially serve as a creating a suitably narrow path through which he can walk without worrying about falling down (as his back legs more or less automatically cross with every step – I swear, he couldn’t tangle himself up worse if he tried, and it’s amazing to realize he’s not trying to do this). As I clear stuff away, though, the canyon widens, and he actually has too much room to walk in. Should he lean one way or another, he’s liable to fall, and to fall long before he’s gotten where he wants to be. And of course, at that point, he proceeds to cycle through the process of whimper to whine to yelping, which is not something one wants to deal with at around midnight.

And yet here we are, although… hmm… it’s finally gone quiet over there (oh, before you ask, no, I’m not ignoring him. I’m writing you in an effort to stay up so that I can respond if he needs me. You know that midnight and past has been difficult for me my whole life, but I’ve done what I can to line up behind his sleep schedule for now). I think I’m going to be able to wrap things up and call it a night shortly after all.

I’ll talk to you in the morning, darling.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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