Words of Advice from Sparky Dog

Recently, I found myself sitting on the couch when my puppy Sparky jumped up on my lap to discuss the state of his residency in my house. Since you don’t speak dog-ese, I will translate for you.

Looking out

"You think you’re really amusing with that move you made last night."

"You mean when I tricked you into thinking I was going upstairs, but then I put the gate up when I’m taking out the recycling to keep you from running out the front door?"

"That’s the one."

"Well, Sparks McBarks, I gotta look out for your best interests."

"Is that what you call it? I’m not impressed."

"That’s what it is, Sir Charles Sparkley. You get outside and you don’t listen. I don’t want you to face off with traffic."

With that, he stares at me, quickly nods his head, and makes a pfft that signals his profane lack of appreciation with me.

"Don’t give me that, Spark-man-du," I respond with a sense of pshaw behind my words.

The need for caretaking

"I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself, unlike you, who mommy is really worried about when it comes to falls, anxiety, and declining abilities."

With this, his look moves to one of puppy dog eyes. Like most dogs, he also does this when he knows he did something wrong, but he isn’t sure what it is. Unlike his loud barks while guard dogging, his caretaking works on me every single time.

"You’re my little buddy, Sparklesteen. I don’t want anything to happen to you," I respond with my own set of puppy dog eyes. Instantly, Sparky starts smiling and sticking his tongue out.

"How’s my little buddy?" I ask, rubbing under his chin. He really likes that.

"What’s with you and all the nicknames?"

"If I’m not coming up with a new one every couple of days, I feel like I’m slipping. We wouldn't want that."

Observing lost ability

"You’re slipping all right. You’re not even a challenge at chase anymore. I can get behind you and you never see me. When you turn around, I’m already out of your view."

"I know. Unfortunately, like my exhaustion that leaves me crashed out on the sofa immediately after receiving your zoomie-driven hellos, my lack of physical ability to exert myself is a product of Parkinson’s."

"That again?"

"That again."

Dogs smell Parkinson's

“I can smell that stuff on you. It reeks."1

"That’s the problem with having a sense of smell 40 times greater than mine."

"I really do experience the world through my nose. Hopefully, someday my canine friends will be employed to find Parkinson’s in more people and find it earlier."

"That would be awesome, Sparkles!"

"Do you know there’s already 25 dogs in one program alone?"

"Another thing I’ve learned from you. Keep the knowledge flowing, Sparkston."

Rejoicing in life

"I definitely have taught you to be kinder, less selfish, and more forgiving, Fur Daddy. You don't even gripe about picking up my Tootsie Rolls."

"You’re right. It might have bothered me that you ate my baseball cards, but I can’t be angry at you when life is so short, and you’re just so cool, Gene!"

"Why do you call me 'Gene' anyway?"

"Gene Simmons from Kiss. Your tongue is longer and more efficient than his. You’re always giving kisses with it!"

"Every time I enter the room!"

"That’s a very kind thing to do, as is methodically and intensely cleaning off my Parkinson’s stank."

Best friends

"Dang skippy. Now can get you get with the extrinsic rewards and get me some treats?"

"Extrinsic is a big word for a small puppy."

"So is pepperoni, but you know I can make short work of it."

"You’re definitely right. What would I do without you and your garbage gut, Big Guy?"

"Let’s not find out. Instead, we can focus on those walkies the doctor says you should be taking more often, but aren't."

"I know. I know."

"Get with the program, man. Fur Mommy and I have a lot of plans for you!"

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