I live in the desert so having plenty of water on hand at all times for people and pets is very important. Visitors to Las Vegas routinely end up in the emergency room because they didn’t stay hydrated. Making sure Sophie drank enough water became a central theme in taking care of our paralyzed dog because she couldn’t walk herself to the water bowl. It was up to my husband and me to “keep the water coming.”
Early in Sophie’s care we realized the importance of providing enough water for her. Water not only quenched her thirst, it also kept urinary tract infections to a minimum.
You would think leaving a bowl of water near her side would have been a simple thing to do, but like most of the tasks we did for Sophie it was met with unexpected challenges.
Because Sophie spent most of her time in a bed that we slid from room to room, the water bowl was always in the room we had just left. It meant making two trips every time we moved her from the bedroom to the living room to the office or the kitchen. For a dog that couldn’t walk, Sophie moved around the house all day long.
We tried placing the bowl inside the bed next to Sophie and moving them all together, but inevitably the water would splash out and soak my dog or her bed. We tried keeping water bowls in each room, but if she had finished drinking from the secondary bowl the last time we had been there, it meant refilling the bowl as we entered the room and that didn’t save any steps at all.
Ultimately we came up with the idea of emptying any unused water from Sophie’s bowl, carrying it with us as we slid her bed along the tile floor and then refilling it when we got to our destination.
During the early stages of her illness the bowl of water would sit in the bed and she could wiggle over to get a drink. She would signal the need for a refill with a short bark. Later in the game when Sophie lost her voice or when she couldn’t sit up by herself, Ken or I had to be more vigilant. Throughout the day would ask, “Do you need water?” And our brave little girl would answer with her very own version of sign language. She would lick her lips to let us know to “keep the water coming.”
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Photo: Shane Baker