Heart failure apprentice

As you know, from your Big Book of June Events, Volume 67, Edsel has congestive heart failure.

Well. That’s a broad term. Like “pit bull,” which incorporates a bunch of breeds.

Edsel, who is most notably not a pit bull, has an enlarged heart and also a leaky left valve, which apparently one day will become congestive heart failure. I think. Really the vet either didn’t describe it all the way or I was too in shock to hear.

But what I did do was go home and Google his medication and it scared the SHIT out of me with all the congestive heart failure nonsense and how did we scare ourselves before Google?

Anyway, he’s on his way to congestive heart failure. He’s a heart failure apprentice. And so what I’m supposed to do is give him his two pills each morning and night and then take him in every six months to get assessed. To see where we are on the heart failure highway.

Naturally, whilst Googling the crap out of this disease, I read up on signs of how you can tell The End Is Near, because that is what I do for fun. One thing they mentioned was that dogs with congestive heart failure get up in the night, roam around, because fluid buildup makes them uncomfortable. “Especially dogs who sleep on their sides.”

I want you to consider this a moment. How the hell else do dogs sleep? They don’t sleep on their backs with the covers up.

Anyway, Eds sleeps in his million-dollar special dog bed with foam to accommodate his hips, which are also giving out on him. He’d be welcome to sleep in my bed of action with me, but he resents any movement I make and has even on occasion showed me his TEETH when I move one inch, which makes me want to punch him right in the liver, so in order to keep the relationship going, he sleeps at the foot of my bed in his dog bed made of gold.

His dog bed might have cost more than my bed, which I got on sale during one of those mattress sales they have on Labor Day or Memorial Day. I’ve hated it ever since. We should switch beds.

Anyway, he’s woken me up lately because he gets up and paces the room. Usually I keep the doors closed to my bedroom (yes, my bedroom has two doors. My mirror only has one face, however) so I don’t also have to sleep with 90 cats, so Edsel can’t pace far. He just paces around me.

This worried me, as I have read the signs, and also I saw the sign, so I put down my Ace of Base and called the vet. Did I have to bring him back in early? We’re due to return in April.

“Here’s what you do,” the vet said. “When he’s asleep, count his breathing.”


“Watch him take one breath. In. Out. That counts as one. If he breathes more than 36 times in a minute, you need to bring him in now rather than April.”

Wow. That’s…specific.

Also, don’t you hate it when someone spells it “breath”? “I couldn’t breath; it was awful.” You wanna know what’s awful? Is an adult not knowing how to spell. That’s what’s awful.

I was dying, just dying, to get home and watch Edsel breathe, or breath, but I had my trainer first, who of course was stuck listening to me talk about Edsel and his 36 breaths a minute. She made me do a lot of planks to shut me up.

Then I screeeeeeched home, knowing full well he’d be awake and excited to see me and so on. We did all our evening things and then I settled in on the couch, hoping he’d fall asleep on his less-than-million-dollar-but-still-cute-shabby-chic-living-room bed I got him at TJ Maxx awhile back. It’s a pink paisley. He’s okay with it. Eds secure.

That rat bastard with the bad heart? Would.Not.Fall.Asleep.

Oh my god. It was like he was on a sleep strike.

Dudes. I’ve lived with this dog almost 10 years now. I know the way of his people. He falls FAST asleep ALL the time in the evening. You might say it’s his signature move. It’s what he does. It’s his trademark.

Not last night.

Oh my god. He even, at one point, got on one of the chairs, and I thought, Perfect. Now he’ll fall asleep where I can stare right at him rather than having to mince over the edge of the couch and peer at him in his little shabby chic bed.

Nope. Apparently he was going to sit in that chair with eyes wide open, and stare at me unblinkingly while I tried to pretend I was watching TV.

I even went on the YouTube and got Soothing Sounds for Dogs or what have you, which we played at work when we had all those shelter dogs in.

It only gave Eds more energy.

I JUST WANT TO COUNT YOUR BREATHING, I was screeching on my insides. Finally I gave up and went to bed. Often I’ll retire to my room for a bit before bed, and Edsel will lie on the bed


while I read or peruse the internet.

Oh my god.

No one has stayed awake longer than Edsel. He was Jerry Lewis on Labor Day weekend.

Finally—FINALLY—he started to seem drowsy. I was considering getting something swinging and trying to hypnotize him to sleep. And just to torment me further, he’d start to shut his eyes and then


them open, just to annoy me. But finally? After being aware of that damn dog’s every move for more than three hours?



Fourteen breaths a minute. He takes 14 a minute. I measured it three times. Oh my god, he’s completely fine, other than a little heart failure.

So that was my productive night last night. It was a real snoozefest. Bah.


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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

51 thoughts on “Heart failure apprentice”

  1. Hi June, sending good thoughts to you, Edsel, and kitties💕 -your writing/blogging is always appreciated and interesting.


  2. I’m so GLAD he had only 14 breaths per minute instead of say, 34 or 35. Oooof, you would have been up all night monitoring every minute! Goooood boy! I wonder how many breaths I take in 1 minute of sleep.
    Also, I must tell you that I ADORE your duvet cover there. I really love flowers on a blue background.
    Excellent post, June!


  3. Well now I counted my elderly dogs breath….. came in under 30 but it was a real nail biter. Of course I have no idea of the breath thing only applies to dogs with heart problems or all dogs but I would have been googling like crazy if he came in at over 36.


  4. LOL I really laughed out loud through this whole post! I wanted to tell you – that before Google and Web MD and all that crap – We has a lot of books, big books, full of medical information
    When my child sneezed or puked or if I had a strange twinge, out came the library. There was also a HUGE book of just medications!
    No wonder we need reading glasses!
    It is so much quicker on Google but sometimes the information is just as old!

    So happy that the Edz is doing so well! 🙂


  5. Edz thought you two were playing a game of who can stay awake the longest. Loved the post with a happy ending.


  6. ‘Ace of base’ and the possibility of switching beds with him – awesome. Also i am now trying to envision different ways dogs could sleep. I don’t even have a dog. Glad he is not breathing too many times a minute or whatever.


  7. Eds, do you know how happy you made me to know you are a controlled breather? Less than half of 36 breaths in a minute. Your moment of zen. And did you tell June that you knew she was watching you? Ize waching u waching Edz. Hooz Jeree Luis?


  8. Well, this post was scary as hell waiting for the ending. You roped us all in till the final sentence about sweet Edsel. Maybe he picked up on YOUR extra energy and worrying about him so he could’t settle down? Pets are so savvy on that stuff. So glad he’s sawin’ off well within the acceptable range of breaths per minute. Way to go, Eds!


  9. Can I “ditto” everything that Georgia said? You are a talented writer and I’m thankful you continue to share on this not blog. PS: yay Edsel!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m happy to hear that he has only 14 breaths a minute! Who knew reading about trying to count a dog’s breath could be so entertaining?
    I love your bedding by the way!


  11. I am so glad that Edz has a slow breath per minute going on. Dogs TOTALLY know when you are up to something. “Why she paying so much attention to me? I must watch her!” Whoever said you are an excellent writer was spot on.

    Lovely post, lovely June!


  12. How do they know??? Because they always do know when we need to do or observe something, and then they WILL. NOT. DO. IT.


  13. So glad to hear Edsel under performed his breathing – they know when something is up – I cannot get a photo of my dog sleeping. He sleeps all the time lift any device to take a picture and the one eye pops open. I love your writing you are very talented.


  14. “My mirror only has one face, however) so I don’t also have to sleep with 90 cats…” I can’t tell you how much I love that line. Pranams


  15. Before Google we were blissfully ignorant. The Edz KNEW you were up to something, so he was keeping his eyes right on you.


  16. And now you know how every parent feels on Christmas Eve. GO THE F*CK TO SLEEP ALREADY. THIS BARBIE DREAMHOUSE ISN’T GOING TO PUT ITSELF TOGETHER. I am so thankful my kids are older now and I don’t have to mess with that.

    Eds knew something was up, that’s why he wouldn’t fall asleep. He had FOMO.

    Glad he’s 14 beats strong!! You Go Edsel!!


    1. He totally knew. He’s so attuned to my every move and mood and so on, and he knew I was looking at him. Also, he was totally a kid on Christmas Eve.


      1. Yet, isn’t that what we all crave…a male who is attuned to our every move. Sigh.
        Jerry Lewis! Great line. Lovely post. Glad Edz be fine.


  17. WordPress, you lovable wonk, you. Now I’m two people in one. Madgirl when I make a reply, and PJ when I make a comment. Two, two, two cranks in one,


  18. “He was Jerry Lewis on Labor Day weekend” has me snort laughing at m’ desk at work. (I think I also posted this comment on a prior days’ post in error)


  19. Good boy Edsel! I’m curious, though, how many times did you count his breathing? Because I would have to count several times just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.


  20. It would be so much easier if they could talk, just a few words, I’m not picky. You stay at 14BPM, Edsel, you hear me?

    Lovely post, pretty June!


  21. I know I’ve commented how funny or heartwarming or inspirational your posts are—but I also want to tell you that I think your writing talent itself is incredible.
    You include the right amount of detail, you skillfully direct the path of the story, and you don’t write in one specific “pattern.” (I don’t know how to describe that other than to say some writers have a sort of script and all their stories follow it. You don’t)
    Sometimes the story comes full circle, sometimes it leaves a thought provoking question, and sometimes I finish with tears in my eyes.

    You are funny, and you are interesting. But you are also very talented!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Thank you, God.

    Also my shih tzu used to sleep on her back sometimes.

    Fourteen for the win, Edsel!


    1. My little Coton used to sneak into our bed on cold nights and when we woke he would be right between us, sleeping on his back with his head on the pillow and the covers over his chest. You cannot be annoyed with something that totally fluffy and adorable.


  23. Jerry Lewis on Labor Day Weekend! We just had a big discussion about how all the telethons are gone. I wonder what did them in.

    This whole story reminded of everything I’ve ever needed to have happen – like the car making a sound but it’s miraculously quiet at the mechanics. Nerve wracking. Glad Eds is taking it slow.


  24. Oh, Eds. I love him. Here’s hoping he shows his heart just who is the boss.

    My Grizzly slept like a frog all of his 13 years. Always on his belly, never on his side.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I scared myself with the Merck Manual of Medicine. I made my husband hide it from me at some point. There were also similar medical reference books for pets.


  26. I was riveted! How many breaths would Edz take?

    Thank heavens! he’s a slow breather… not learner.


  27. Dogs know when something is up. It’s like they read our minds. Mine will wake up and become alert when I start thinking about taking her out for a walk. They’re mind readers!

    A couple weeks ago my dog got up in the night and went out to the couch. She NEVER does this. I woke up and was so confused because she wasn’t beside me (she never gets up at night). I found her curled into a tight ball on the couch. She hasn’t done it again after that night.


  28. You said “14” and I was like “OH MY GOD HE’S PRACTICALLY ALREADY A GONER!” Then I realized you said LESS THAN 36. Wowzers! He’s practically a yogi with that 14! I read so fast I skipped all the funny… going back now to see what I missed!

    Good boy Edsel!


  29. Sitting here laughing at Edz refusing to fall asleep. I swear, kids and dogs know when you’re up to something. If I ever had a crazy idea in my head like wanting to catch a particular TV show when my kid was younger, she’d somehow sense it and drag out bedtime like it was her job. Good boy, Edsel. Love from the internetz.


  30. The psychopathic cat known as Miso, who I used to live with, has a weak heart, and REFUSES to show any symptoms. Me & her primary servant bawled our eyes out in the vets, and carried on like we were planning her funeral for days, while she ran up and down two flights of stairs pummelling her kid, and trying to slit the throats of any human who tried to say hello to her without a treat in their hand. Her reluctance to look ill has gone on for years. The little shit that she is. Dear Edz, please try to be like her and not get ill from bring ill.


  31. The “Jerry Lewis on Labor Day weekend” is one of those things that makes me think “aren’t the people who talk to her in real life every day so freaking lucky? This lady is hilarious!”
    I’m glad he’s a 14’er in his breathing skills. Dear Lord, bless him super hard today.


  32. What a stressful evening. I once had to collect urine from a dog in a pie tin. He was peeing excessively until that pan came out then he was dry as the desert. I swear they do it on purpose. And the dog was not in a pie tin. Glad he had a good breath count. Hope he outlasts his diagnoses.

    Liked by 2 people

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