I enjoyed this article about lessons the author learned from his disabled (he might argue against the use of this term) dogs.

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The Spore

There’s something I should have told you. I can’t believe I haven’t said anything. I was just so… embarrassed. But you should know. You’ve been exposed. You need to know the truth.
 
Ace has herpes. Or rather, she had a herpe.
 
Well, really, she has CPV, or canine papilloma virus, or doggie HPV. But herpes just rolls off the tongue more congruently, which is to say, it leaves a creepy sensation behind its pronunciation.
 
Jefe and I, once we came to terms with its existence, began to refer to it as The Spore. I think you will find this term aptly captures the vaguely sci-fi creepiness of this horrorshow blemish.
 
Here is the first known photographic evidence of The Spore, taken in early April. If you look carefully (sorry about that), you can see a small bump on her adorable chin.

 
You can understand why we first thought it was simply puppy acne. Oh, if only that were true. We had no idea what we were up against.
 
The Spore continued to grow. Here it is in late April during a typical frolic at the beach:


 
It was about this time that I began to suspect something wasn’t quite right with her face. Given how we’re on a first-name basis at two veterinary clinics, I began to get that panicky feeling that either I’m overreacting (and a spaz) or I’m observant (and pretty much fucked).
 
Now here is where things take a graphic turn for the worse; May was a cruel, cruel month. Prepare yourselves!

 
Yes, that is for real. We had to live with that thing every day. I could barely see Ace’s face with The Spore swinging its weight around her jawline. Other people of course noticed, too — they’d approach Her Majesty in supplication and come lip to lip with that thing before recoiling in horror and disbelief that the universe could be so hateful.

 
We tried — you guessed it — antibiotics. We tried ritualistic sacrifices. We tried ignoring it. Then it started to smell like rotting flesh. I wish I were making this up.
 
It would bleed, it would shed bits of itself, blackened by decay. During Memorial Day weekend, while I was petting what was left of Ace’s sweet face, a huge chunk of The Spore sloughed off on my hand, leaving a bloody, putrid trail in its wake. I was ecstatic; The Spore was on its last scaly leg.
 
Right now, Ace is leaning against my side as I type, making grunts and gestures that signal to me she is about to settle in for a pre-sleep nap. All that remains to remind us of The Spore’s Reign of Terror is an almost imperceptible spot. Since The Spore’s death, we can hold our heads high when we walk about our neighborhood, without fear of frightening any of the many children, hipsters, or alcoholics who regularly cross our path.
 
As will every critter and condition that has afflicted Ace thus far, CPV is a typical infection in dogs that wreaks havoc on immature puppy immune systems. As Ace enters her twelfth month, I hope I never again have to tolerate the ill effects of these bugs, who have fouled our hero from stem to stern. However, if such a fate should befall us, you an rest assured I will take graphic photos of the malady and share them with you here.

I love this video of Ace playing fetch at Ft. Cronkhite this past Sunday. It really shows what it’s like to hang out with Ace and her little spirit.

(You might want to turn down the volume a bit before you watch it, because the feedback from the wind is pretty loud and I have no idea how to fix that in my shitty video editing software.)