Life with an Addison’s dog is already different. Since the adrenal glands of our standard poodle Max no longer produce cortisone, Max has no natural defense against stress. So, in the short-term, my husband and I are on a mission to offer Max as stress-free of an environment as possible.
It’s a matter of factoring Max’s needs into the equation of everyday life. Like when Cosmo goes on her normal play rampage and charges Max, we scoop Cosmo up in our arms to keep Max safe from Scottie attacks. Then once Cosmo is safely constrained, we encourage Max to seek higher ground, safe from sneak and not-so-sneeky Scottie attacks. I don’t know why our normally 45 pound dog is fearful of this small 16 pound Scottish Terrier, but fears just are. They don’t have to make sense.
In the short week since his Addison crisis, Max has lost 7 pounds. Max is down to 39 pounds, which makes Max a weak walking poodle skeleton. So for now, we’ve curtailed Max’s daily poodle walks. Even good stress is not good. So as I write, our poodle girl Maddie is going solo with my husband on their weekly walk downtown.
It was quite a trick for my husband to sneek Maddie out of the house to offer her this secret treat. Because Maddie’s poodle excitement gets the best of her, had Maddie a clue of her impending walk, she would have let the black cat out of the bag, and Max would have gotten stressed from the excitement associated with taking a walk. So my husband pushed our much resistant Maddie girl out into the back yard, while my husband made his escape out the front door, leaving two confused black dogs in the house with me. Back door or front door? These left-behind dogs didn’t know which way to turn, until I enticed them into the kitchen with a treat. Meanwhile, to Maddie’s delight, while her black companions were getting treats in the kitchen, she met my husband at the back gate for their weekly rendezvous. With two black dogs none the wiser, Maddie and her dad are off to faraway places.
Mealtime seems to offer the biggest challenge, maybe because it’s never ending. Max eats like a baby, which means small amounts frequently. Since Max can’t stomach a normal quantity in one sitting, I factor in many meals, trying to get meat back on his bones. For the girls, this translates into way too many treats.
I believe life with our Addison’s dog will eventually settle down into a new normal, once Max is stabilized. But in the meantime, Addison’s is requiring my husband and I to learn new tricks…. and giving our bitches way too many treats. But Addison’s itself is a tricky disease — often misdiagnosed — and a challenge to medically compensate for the life essential missing hormones. But life with our Addison’s dog is better than life without him. And I know the rest of my pack agree that a few new tricks and treats due to our Max Factor is good for all of us.