I adore my puppy.
He was with me before Mr Accident and I were married. He started out as "Archie", when he was a wee little fluffy pup, but as he grew longer (and wider!) and started to snore like an old man, "Archibald" became a more fitting title.
He is my shadow during the day. He trails me from the laundry to the kitchen to the backyard and back again. Every time I turn around and look at him he appears to be napping, but he must sleep with one eye open, because if I try to sneak past him out of the room he's on to me, and tags along too.
He is incredibly patient with the kids, and is generally happy to play along with their crazy schemes. He loves to be included.
He knows the house routine better than I do. When I give the girls their bath, the second I lift Peanut out of the tub he shuffles next door and settles into the bedroom beanbag, ready for a story. And he expects me to make room on my lap for not just Bug, and Peanut, but Archibald too! I think he likes to look at the pictures, but he's yet to successfully achieve what he believes to be his rightful position of front and center. That doesn't stop him trying to squeeze in there every night.
Bug is his Best Friend. They have formed a relationship based almost entirely on food. Bug is the supplier, Archibald the eager customer. Bug has been known to search the house for a sleeping Archibald, with the sole aim of waking him up to feed him a corn cracker.
But my pup is sick. He had become increasingly listless. I thought something might be wrong when he would still follow me round, but would hide in the room instead of sitting thoroughly underfoot. Have you ever seen a dog try to hide behind a toilet? It was a challenge for him, I will say that.
And then he stopped shadowing me entirely, and retired instead to his rarely used kennel in the backyard. He stopped eating (even corn crackers!) and stopped drinking. He was physically ill every hour or so. We rushed him to the vet.
My Archibald has pancreatitis. We think it was set off by a peanut butter sandwich. He spent a full two days on a drip under observation at the vet, trying to regain his fluids and reduce his inflamation.
But good news! Bug, Peanut and I were able to pick him up this afternoon and bring him home. The medication has worked amazingly well, he looks and acts like his old self, apart from the horrible shaved patches on his legs and chest. The bad news is he can't eat anything but dog food for the rest of his (hopefully very long) life. The fattiness of many human foods could cause a relapse. Even a small cube of cheese could be the end. So, poor Archibald, no more sausages snuck off the highchair by the baby. No more stealing vegemite toast from the kids morning tea table when they forget to clear their plates. And no more bacon!
It's a dog's life.