Guide to Taking Care of My Dog Who Has Cancer and a Herniated Disc, But Whom I Brought to Paris Anyway

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December 22, 2020 by The Citron Review

by Katie Roseau


Here is a guide to taking care of Milou this week while I’m gone.

  1. He is FRAGILE: he must not ever walk up or down stairs. He is not capable of jumping on the bed or couch, but you can help him up if you want him there. I usually put his pillow on the couch or bed for him to lie on. He also likes the “comfy” chair at the table. Never walk away if he’s on the furniture. Always put him down first. 
  2. He can be a JERK. Pill time can be rough. He’s also sensitive about his paws. Clean gently. He sometimes pees on the floor. Sorry. He does this to be a jerk sometimes when I take a shower. Feel free to put him in the crate when you shower. Other times, I really don’t think it’s his fault. Poor little jerk.
  3. FOOD. 4 scoops (measuring cup in bag) of his dry food (under kitchen counter) per day. 2 in the morning, 2 in the evening. He can be difficult with that, too. If he doesn’t finish in the morning, put his bowl in the crate with him. If he’s not eating it, try the wet food. 2 packs per day. If he’s still not eating, try some cooked rice. Still no? Try meat. 
  4. WATER. Please check the water bowl often. He should always have some in the bowl. 
  5. CRATE. I put him in the crate when I leave. Dominique, the dog walker, does not. I haven’t decided yet if I will ask her to, because I don’t know if it’s better for him to be able to move about and get water. If you leave him out, you may have to have a mess to clean. The rug by the door is usually his “chosen spot.” This can be washed.
  6. PILLS when he’s not an asshole. Currently, he takes, in a tiny piece of cheese or bread:
    1. Tramadol for pain. 1 in the morning, 1 in the evening. IF HE SEEMS IN PAIN, you can give one more per day. But that’s a lot. So please ask me first. And you shouldn’t give him more than one at once.
    2. Piroxicam for inflammation, to slow down growth of tumors. 1 in the morning only. 
    3. Oxybutynin. ½ tablet morning, ½ tablet evening. I forget what this is for.
  7. PILLS when he is an asshole. He may not take them nicely. Offer it to him in cheese or bread. No? Set it in front of him and say in an excited voice: treat, Milou, treat, ooooooh, treat! No? Well, time to get down to business. Sit with your legs around him. Open his mouth with one hand. Insert the pill way back there with a finger and close mouth until he swallows. 
  8. TREATS (in thingy to the right of the white shelf thingy in kitchen). After going outside and whenever he isn’t being a jerk (a few a day).
  9. WALKS. Minimum 3 per day. I usually turn left out of the apartment, and then left again and turn around after the grocery store. But it’s up to you! It usually takes about 15 minutes per walk. He usually wants out straight away in the morning. But if you’re quiet, you can get ready first without waking him. Dominique will do one walk around noon except on Saturday. He’ll want to go out when you get back from work. Depending on the time, he may ask for a fourth walk before bed. I know, I know, there are six flights of stairs. You’ll work on those gluts. The harness and leash are by the door in the same thingy as his treats. Poop bags included. You’ll also see baby wipes. (Because of his back problem, he has poor aim and sometimes pees on his front legs.)
  10. SLEEP. He sleeps with me. Try the crate if you wish (good luck…sorry). He’s been whimpering a lot at night lately. If he does whine a lot and wasn’t out recently, try taking him out. And check the water. Deep breaths. At least you only have him temporarily. Does that help?
  11. I’m an asshole, too. SHOCK COLLAR. He wears this when in the crate or when you leave only. 
  12. VET. Anne-Marie Klein at Place de la Nation, about a 10-minute walk if you carry him.
  13. BELLY RUBS and lovin’. Please give him lots. Even jerks need love.


Katie Roseau is an Assistant Professor of French at Mercer University. Her scholarship focuses on life writing of the Holocaust in France. She is delighted that The Citron Review has published her first piece of creative nonfiction. She lives in Macon, Georgia with her partner. She spends her free time becoming too attached to dogs, most recently Sterling.


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