WINE CHATS: Pet ownership can fill the heart with joy… until anal glands get involved

Billi Milovanovic and Lyndsey Kirkwood
The Nightly
WINE CHATS: Welcome to this week’s edition of Wine Chats Podcast on The Nightly, where we open a bottle of The Hidden Sea Sauv Blanc and chat about caring for elderly pets and dogs that resemble stuffed toys.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Wine Chats Podcast on The Nightly, where we crack open a bottle of The Hidden Sea Sauv Blanc and chat about caring for elderly pets and dogs that resemble stuffed toys.

Stuffed toys and elderly Staffies

Lyndsey: Today we’re going to be chatting about, only because it’s so relevant to me right now, caring for your pets.

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Billi: And your elderly pets, especially.

Lyndsey: Well, yes, that’s even worse. Um, and now that you’re a pet owner for the last, I mean, you’ve had her for a year?

Billi: I’ve had her for a year. She’s still alive. I’m still happy that I have a dog. I have not been a pet person traditionally, so this is very new to me. I just can’t wait to go home and cuddle my dog. That’s actually really just like a cat in a dog’s body.

Lyndsey: It’s like a rat. It’s so small. I have an American Staffy, which is a real dog. Billi has a stuffed animal.

Billi: I have a Cavoodle. And she does look like a stuffed animal!

Lyndsey: So my dog, he’s geriatric, he’s 11 and a half really. His name is Frank.

And I have a geriatric cat that you love to bits, Bruce, who’s 15.

Billi: He’s okay. I picked him up the other day for the first time ever. And I don’t know if he was going to claw my eyes out or if I was going to claw his out. He would not have been very impressed that I was even touching him.

Lyndsey: It wouldn’t be that he wasn’t impressed. He would have been like, why did she touch me. What is she going to do to me? Like he would have been fearing for his life.

Billi: I wouldn’t have thrown him anywhere weird, not now that I have a pet. Now I’m more understanding that other people like their pets too.

Caring for elderly pets has its challenges.
Caring for elderly pets has its challenges. Credit: Mikkel Bigandt/Mikkel Bigandt -

Lyndsey: Well, I, I feel like my world has been all about my pets lately because they’re older, they’re having issues with themselves and I get really frustrated at them. It’s a lot. It’s constant. They do things that annoy me, but I love them to bits. It’s just a lot when they get older and there’s stuff going on.

Billi: Like anal gland juice. That’s a real thing. I’m not even making that up.

Lyndsey: So my dog has had anal gland issues for the last three months. Probably longer. Because it’s not just like, Oh, they need to express… there’s issues.

Billi: I don’t know if you understand what we’re talking about here when she says express. Like, they have to get the anal gland juice out.

Lyndsey: People know that.

Billi: I don’t think people do. I didn’t realise that they would go up in there and milk them.

Lyndsey: It’s more than just having them expressed. He has issues with them. Anyway, it’s been a very long process. We try and keep him on the couch on his blanket.

Billi: Until that one time he leaks annual gland juice on the couch and I put my finger in it, rub it around and then sniff it to see what it is.

Lyndsey: Billi has this habit when she sees something, she’ll put it in her mouth, so she’ll pick it up and put it in her mouth.

Billi: It’s a real problem.

Lyndsey: So gross, and I’m not exaggerating, she does this. So she sees this mark on my couch, and he had just done it, and she goes, Oh, what’s this?

And I was like, Oh my gosh, she’s going to put her finger in the mouth, so I was like, oh, shoot, that’s Frank’s butt juice! And as she’s walking, your reaction….

Billi: I just got a whiff of it. Anyway, the point is it’s gross and it leaves stains on the couch. So I’m glad that he has a blanket.

Lyndsey: He does, but I clean it with a very good product. Anywho, it’s been a very long process. He finally went to the vets yesterday, had his procedure done, had his nails done.

Billi: So this is under general anesthetic? Like you need to explain to the people.

Lyndsey: Yes, he had to be put under. Which I was very worried about, right?

Billi: Of course. He’s an old man going under general anesthetic. It’s never a good idea.

Lyndsey: And every time they rang me to give me an update, I’m like, is he dead? But he had his teeth done, he had x-rays done, he had to have a tooth extracted because it was cracked, his nails… so he’s hopefully all fixed, got a very big bill, we’ll see what happens with the pet insurance. If you don’t have pet insurance you’re a fool.

Billi: Oh my god, if you do not have pet insurance don’t get a pet. If you cannot afford it, seriously, don’t, because it’s like, I haven’t had a lot of care to do for my young, sprightly, lovely, cavoodle puppy, but in the year that I’ve had her, I’ve already taken it to the vet four or five times. And if I didn’t have pet insurance, I would have to pay the same amount I paid for her.

Caring for elderly pets can have its challenges.
Caring for elderly pets can have its challenges. Credit: Halfpoint -

Annoying pet habits

Lyndsey: Does she do anything annoying on a constant day that you have to care for her where you’re like, Oh my God. Bruce does this thing when he’s hungry, he’s got this horrible meow.

Billi: Why don’t you just always have food there for him?

Lyndsey: I do. Cats are so routine though. He’s so picky, he has dry food and wet food. And his dry food is always in his bowl. But he does this meow, well all of his meows are loud and obnoxious. It’s not a cute little feed me, meow. I won’t even do it in the mic because it’s so loud.

Billi: Did we talk about how you had to - when you went for a checkup for Bruce? What did you tell me you had to do for Bruce?

Lyndsey: So Bruce is obviously old. He’s 15. He had his yearly checkup and the vet wanted a urine sample from him.

Billi: A urine sample from a cat.

Lyndsey: And I looked at her. So we get a home vet to come in. So I’m sitting here and I look at her, I’m like, what? She’s like, I’m going to leave you a urine sample bottle and simple enough when he goes down to squat to pee, because for those that don’t know, boy cats squat to pee, you just put the cup underneath his bottom and catch the pee.

Billi: Just put the cup under. Easy. Cause that’s what a cat wants when he’s weeing like a thing under his thing.

Lyndsey: So Dr. James said to get into his routine because cats are routine. So I go downstairs to check the laundry one night and he’s in there, in the litter box. And I freaked out. I see the pee bottle on the counter. I see him peeing. I’m like, I can’t do this.

This is ridiculous. I was laughing on the inside going, Billi’s going to think this is crazy.

Billi: Yes, I do.

Lyndsey: So I grabbed the bottle. I go up to him, but I’m like, where am I going to put this bottle? And he then turns around like, what are you doing back there, go away.

It was very unsuccessful. Anyway, I guess we’ll just have to hope that he’s got nothing bad in his pee because we will never know. We will never know. I’m not doing it.

Billi: Honestly, like if you have ever collected pee from a cat, I would love to hear from you. I would literally just love to hear if you have ever had to get pee from a cat. Just curious.

Woof, woof, meow, meow

That’s it from us for another great week here at The Nightly. We didn’t think there would be so much talk about glands and wee, but these things happen. Please do let us know any of your elderly pet care stories, and if you’ve also made the mistake of accidentally licking anal gland juice. Surely someone else has had that nearly happen to them?

Have a great week and we’ll meet you back here on the couch next Friday!

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