Thanks, Dr. Wen: Lexi Stepped on Me This Morning

This morning Lexi stepped on me.

I lie there watching the early light sneak in through spaces in the curtains, listening to my breath inhale and exhale as I stretch my body before rising. Lexi senses I am awake. She moves to my waist and puts one front paw, then the other on my chest. She pushes up her hind legs and sits. She looks me right in the eyes, bends down and kisses my lips. I am in awe. My girl is back? I try to process this. She greets me, saying, “Good morning, mommy, I’m feeling better today.”

This has always been our morning ritual. For her eight and a half years of life, Lexi has greeted me and the new day this way, every morning, until three weeks ago when I noticed lethargy in my usually athletic girl. Nothing kept Lexi down, not even getting spayed. After that procedure, we were told she would come home and sleep—that’s what we were to expect. No, not our Lexington. She came home full of energy, as if she hadn’t just gone through major surgery.

Then I looked out the bedroom window and there she was in the backyard with Gregg, keeping him company as he gardened. I told Gregg to bring her inside. She was supposed to rest.

He said, “But she seems fine. She’ll be miserable if she can’t be out here helping me.”

That’s Lexi, our working girl, from the moment she opened her eyes to greet the dawn until she closed her eyes for the night. She was a worker, a protector. She had lots of jobs. But three weeks ago, she let her jobs go. She stopped greeting me in her special way each morning. In fact, I had to carry her outside to go. She trembled uncontrollably, she panted heavily, and Lexi was never a panter.

My greatest fear with my doxies is disk problems, especially after the tragedy of losing our dachshund Madison way too soon.

Dr. Wen, the vet [at Hampton Veterinary Hospitalwe began using after losing Madison, looked at Lexi’s x-rays and pointed to her compressed disks. I was living the nightmare over again. Lexi stopped running, playing and working. She hid in her dog bed in Gregg’s study. And the trembling never ceased, not for three weeks.

To treat Lexi, Dr. Wen gave her acupuncture and prescribed spinal herbs, and our girl had a turn for the better in his capable hands. Lexi seemed to breathe easier, she regained her former energy and then—the conclusive proof she was improving—Lexi stepped on me.

I love being greeted this way each morning, and I missed it so when she couldn’t gather the strength to climb on me.

Lexi, please keep stepping on mommy. Let’s celebrate the start of each new day together.

All is well in the world every morning that Lexi steps on me.

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