Sparky Speaks about Immunizations and Pets

Right after ParkinsonsDisease.net published my COVID vaccine article, I came home from work to find the canine love of my life, Sparky (our shorkie poo), running to the door to greet me.

All 7 pounds, 2 ounces of him, sprinted across the floor like he was trying to outpace Usain Bolt. He then ran to the human love of my life, Heather, and then back to me (repeat).

With vert like Dr. J (and matching big hair), he was back to leaping on me after he received his rabies and Lyme shots.

Pets can be wonderful for Parkinson's

I’m glad we added Sparky to our family in late September. Slowly, we’ve been making adjustments, getting him medically up to date, and seeing a 3-pound pup more than double in size to go beast mode.

It’s the little things in my life that make Sparky and me happy. He forces me to run through my exhaustion and gait issues. I extol his virtues. Walks with him are as fun as waterfall walks used to be – even if he always wants to stop and sniff the bushes.

That said, Sparky doesn’t understand English, though I speak full sentences to him. Thus, he’ll just stare at me. Fortunately, I do know his lingo to help communicate his concerns.

Shots for dogs

Translating Sparky's dog-ese message:

"Today was not a good day for me, but these shots prevent me from getting a virus that attacks my brain and spinal cord. Yep, we’re good, Fur Mommy and Fur Daddy. I don’t want anything to happen to you, since rabies could spread to you, too. You would not like that."

As for me, I like life. I like licking your feet, playing Chase, eating leaves, running under tables, intercepting kisses for mom, scarfing down snacks, and being the coolest, most attractive dog on the block. I also like that you got your COVID shots to stay healthy for me."

"You are a kind and handsome dude, Sparky."

"Yes, yes, I am. You should see the pet shop people swoon."

Preventing illness

"But what about you being sick and feeling cruddy today?"

"Fur Mommy told me about your experience with Lyme disease, which imitates Parkinson's. I see how your neurological issues affect us all. I took my jab like a pro because I don’t want Lyme or rabies."

"You’re the dog!"

"Someone here needs to keep you in line when Fur Mommy is busy."

"That’s a full-time job."

"You’re lucky I have such emotional eyes to make you feel loved, Fur Daddy! There’s a certain bridge crossing I don’t want to think about. Only fun walks allowed. That goes for you, too."1

"I’m glad you understand.”

"At about 3 months old and 1.5 months in the house, I know more than you do. And you call yourself a teacher."

"Well actually I’m an academic advisor, but we teach, too."

Avoiding risk

"Semantics, shmantics, Fur Daddy. Let me tell you something. I like making your species smile. All of you, especially the ones who just ate rotisserie chicken bare-handed. I like cuddles, and I love when people play with my ears and rub my neck, but I don’t like how newscasters who are made to be vaccinated for COVID tell other people not to get vaccinated.

Pets need their humans healthy. Don’t even get me started on those hospital protests that have been going on since last year. They better not make their pets protest at the vet."

"But what about people who already have some immunity from being sick before? Isn’t that enough?"

"Why risk it? Would you risk my snuggly tail-chasing self to a 'what if' possibility?"

"You are wise, oh great Sparky."

"(smiling as he sticks out his tongue) The pundits doth protest too much, methinks."

"I love the word 'methinks.'"

"You’re rambling when you should be feeding me pepperoni or letting me attack your socks!"

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