Let’s Stay Together

Tina Turner was one the of best cover artists of all time. I think the best example of this is her cover of the Al Green’s song, “Let’s Stay Together.” This is a dog blog, you say. What’s a cover got to do with it? Because it’s the song I catch myself signing when I’m helping Half Moon and giving him a clean belly band. Stay with me for a minute here….

Half Moon and I like to listen to music while he poops. Halfie ruptured a disc in his back many years ago and has very little control of the lower half of his body. He is urinary and fecal incontinent, so he needs assistance to void his bladder and bowels multiple times each day. That’s where I come in — bathroom duties are a team sport. Sometimes we listen to classical (we both like Bach), sometimes it’s pop (80s and 90s are our favs). Whatever the tune, I think he enjoys being escorted to his chux-lined pedestal with a processional piece — like a baseball hitter’s walk up music.

Today’s musical accompaniment couldn’t be more appropriate — Tina’s cover of “Let’s Stay Together”. The sentiment and the rhythm are perfect. We groove over to the changing table, where I deposit him for his daily ablutions. He prefers to get himself into position — lying on his left side, facing the wall with his head on the supportive pillow on the baby changing pad. It’s hard to believe, but these are some of my favorite and most loving moments with him. He’s quiet and endearing and soft.

I’m so in love with you.

Halfie and I have been sharing poop time for nearly seven years now and it’s still precious time. You’re probably wondering how stimulating his anus to encourage him to poop into my (gloved) hand could be anything to look forward to. For me, the rest of the world disappears when he’s on that table. He only has eyes for me, and I for him. He rolls the top half of his body toward me and reaches back with his right arm, asking me to rub his cool belly and strong chest. He nuzzles his nose under my hand as I scratch his forehead and slide my finger down that slope between his eyes that slides to the tip of his cold, wet nose. I massage the velvety tips of his pointy ears between my thumb and forefinger, soft and silky.

Let me, be the one you come running to.

As I start the process to help him poop, he rolls to face the wall again, focusing on the task at hand. He lays peacefully, his body helping when he can. He passes the first portion, always the most difficult for him, and relaxes a bit more. I deposit that into the poop bag and grab another baby wipe, warming it briefly in my hand before starting again. The final movement takes patience as our prize hasn’t moved as far along the rectal channel, so I stimulate him gently and wait for his body to deliver the package on its own time. While we wait, I caress his noggin and talk or sing to him quietly. Just Half Moon and me, sharing a halcyon moment.

Lovin’ you whether, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.

Once his body finishes expelling the waste, I wipe him gently and check him for any irritations or redness. If he looks good, I scritch him on neck and shoulder to let him know we’re done. He then pops up on his front limbs, looks back with expectant eyes, and leans into me for a lift down. I gather him up like a football under my right arm and carry him to the rug where he’ll scuttle away in search of mischief and opportunities to bark at any little noise. (Did I mention he’s a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix?)

Having an incontinent dog isn’t the most convenient or the easiest situation but with the right mindset, it does present the most wonderful opportunities to share quiet moments together (if you don’t mind a little poop).

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