My Life’s Journey With The Diva Poodle Henrietta

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This post is sponsored by True Chews® Dog Treats and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about the True Chews line of all-natural dog treats , but Positively Woof only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. All statements made reflect my true opinion of the product. True Chews is not responsible for the content of this article.

By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder 

Henrietta Madison Hess came into my life when I made the decision to work from home more than a decade ago. Along with that decision came an even bigger one — getting a puppy to share my life’s journey. I knew I wanted a tiny dog who didn’t shed and with whom I could easily travel. Enter Henrietta Madison. She was a puppy mill puppy (although I wasn’t educated enough to know that at the time) She was tiny — barely the size of a large-ish guinea pig. Our cats looked at her as though she were a snack even though they were extremely gentle with her.

Henrietta, because she was so tiny, got carried around. A LOT! She fit in the palm of my hand and because she was taken away from her mom too young (my vet said there was no way she was eight weeks old but there was no way I was going to let her go back) so I hand fed her, wore her in a sling to keep her close and that really forged our bond.

Of all of the dogs I have shared my life with, I have never had one who was so in tune with my moods. Our daughter says, “Henrietta is the most empathetic dog I have ever known.” It’s true. She picks up on my moods. If I am stressed or anxious, she will pace and whine and lean against my legs. If I am sad, she snuggles into my chest and neck and moves her head under my hand until I stroke her. When I am happy and upbeat, she is more exuberant than any pet I have ever interacted with.

The past five years have, honestly kicked my butt. I have dealt with the loss of both of my parents and my father-in-law. I faced the most frightening event I can imagine when I heard the words, “You have breast cancer.” I had radical surgery and treatments and that meant months of recovery. There have been times when I simply wanted to give up. I was convinced I just wasn’t strong enough to take any more loss or any more fear of living with cancer. Unfortunately, once you have cancer it hovers around the edges of your life and your consciousness like a ghost.

My Life’s Journey With The Diva Poodle Henrietta

Sharing Life's Journey My family was my strength and in that word, “family” I include Henrietta.

When I lost my parents, within one year of one another, I had a hard time getting up and getting dressed. I would spend hours on the couch crying. Henrietta was right there with me. I’d snuggle myself into her fur and fall asleep.

The breast cancer pronouncement had me in a whirlwind of highs and lows, fear and anger. I cycled through the five stages of grief so frequently it made me dizzy. No matter how high my anxiety was, once I noticed Henrietta getting stressed out over my emotions, I would force myself to calm down so I could calm her. Following my surgeries I didn’t have much mobility and would lie in a recliner to relax. Rather than launch herself onto my lap like she normally would, she would carefully climb up and wriggle herself into my side, under my blanket and place her head on my hand.

Now it’s my turn to give back to Henrietta on her life’s journey. About a month ago she was barrelled over by our bouncy, crazy Goldendoodle, Murray. That lead to her having a dislocated hip for which she underwent a couple of surgical procedures — within three days of one another. I was terrified. She was terrified. I knew my vet was the best around so I trusted her, but worried about my eleven-year-old Poodle going under anesthetic, not once, but twice.

She came through it like a champ, but now our lives have been and will likely forever remain, changed. I can no longer leave her with the run of the house when I leave. Why? Because her greatest joy in life is to lie on the back of the couch in the sunshine BUT she will also launch herself off the back of the couch and halfway across the living room if she perceives a “threat” outside. Said “threat” can be a dog barking in the neighborhood, leaves blowing through the yard or the deer in the woods.

Lifestyle Changes

I admit Henrietta is what I would affectionately call a “garbage gut.” That girl will eat anything and everything without even seeming to taste it. Thankfully she loves fruits and veggies and will inhale them; because of her limited mobility I like to feed her low cal, no cal snacks. There are times when I want to give her a different, more delicious treat than fruits and veggies. Because of her mobility issues I need to make certain any treats I feed her are 100% natural, delicious, wholesome and made with simple ingredients. Her continued good health is crucial to me and she doesn’t get any treats that aren’t made in the USA from premium cuts of meat.

True Chews® Dog Treats are made using only natural ingredients. No artificial flavors. No artificial preservatives. No meat by-products. Just 100% natural ingredients with premium cuts of meat always #1 on the list. My breast cancer journey has made me a fanatical label reader for myself, my family and my furry family as well. Murray enjoys True Chews as a snack for a “job well done” whether that’s walking on a leash at heel, sitting when he receives the hand signal or waiting quietly for  snack. I always like to find treats that are ideal for both dogs.

Henrietta’s life restrictions include no jumping, no running, extremely limited walking and no stairs. She is not crate trained so putting her in a crate isn’t an option — I tried. She lost her mind and I swear she was on the verge of snapping her leg off by trying to reach through the bars.

This all means I need to have one of my children or husband babysit her if I want to go somewhere. I can lock her in my office with a baby gate because there is nothing in there she can jump onto or off of, but she gets so stressed out that she works herself into a frenzy and when I get home she barfs from the stress and her heart is pounding so fast and she is so panicked that it hurts my heart. My dog is my “baby” and it’s my job as a pet parent to do what’s necessary to protect her and keep her happy. I did the same thing with my human children and now as an empty nester Baby Boomer, my attention is focused on Hen.

Because Henrietta loves the outdoors and because I need to walk to keep my weight in check, I knew I needed to find a way that we could both benefit. I invested in a doggie stroller, trained her to be comfortable in it in the house before we hit the sidewalks and she enjoys it. We both get fresh air and I get my steps in. I will take her out often so she can sniff and pee and stretch her legs, but she can no longer take 10,000 step walks.

Thankfully she only weighs ten pounds and that makes it easy for me to carry her up and down stairs and around the house when it looks like she is starting to limp because she’s been more active than she should have been.

Our life’s journey is one with many years ahead of us — facing it together. If that means I carry my diva Poodle or put her in a stroller, then so be it — such is the life of a pet parent!

If you want to treat your dog to a delicious, nutritious and healthy treat, you can find True Chews at these pet stores. 

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Photos: Shopping with Henrietta (note how she’s licking her lips when we are by the True Chews display!); at a 1,000 Islands getaway in Clayton and Cape Vincent on a recent weekend.)

Decorating at our daughter’s house for Halloween and Henrietta being all adorable in her witchy hat and getting a True Chews treat for being such a good helper!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of True Chews. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.