All posts by seniordogmom

Trying to appreciate every day with my senior dogs

Standing With Belgium

#lifewitholddogs
Standing With Belgium

I am going off topic a bit today, but I am deeply saddened to hear about the terrorist attacks in Brussels (and I felt like I wanted to somehow express myself).  I wish we could live in a world where people who hope to spread ideas of fear and hate don’t win. Let’s hope that peace and understand can overcome.
I hope that DAESH can be stopped.  In the meantime,  I will live my life as always. I would rather have a short life full of adventure than a long life controlled by fear.  I just hope my adventures will broaden my horizons and give me a better understanding of my fellow man.

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On The Loss Of A Dog: Saying Goodbye to Tucker

Dogs can’t live forever & we have to say goodbye to them at some point.  Having worked for a number of years in Veterinary clinics, I have seen lots of pet parents say goodbye to their beloved animals.  Because of this, I have given a lot of thought over the years to what would be the ‘best goodbye’ for each my dogs.  What would provide them comfort at the end of their lives & what would give myself (and my husband) quality last moments with each of them.

It’s hard when your pet is dying to know exactly when to say goodbye.  Some articles on the subject will tell you to make a list of the things that bring your dog joy & evaluate how many of those things they can still do.  By the end, Tucker had no real joy left.  Additionally, he had horrible nasal discharge (caused by the tumor in his nose) & was vomiting up his food.

For Tucker’s best goodbye, my husband & I tried to give him all of his favorite things.  This included smelling stuff outside, eating EVERYTHING that he couldn’t have on his diet, and him on my lap for his final moments.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done & it completely broke my heart.  I felt it was important to be there for Tucker as he left this world. Before even having a dog, I read the Dog’s Ten Commandments, and the tenth one reads “Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch it” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember that I love you.” When I adopted Tucker, I promised myself that I would be with him until the end no matter how hard.

The first month after losing Tucker was really hard.  There wasn’t a day without tears & Emmit struggled to find his footing as an only dog.  There are still days, where the grief hits like a ton of bricks—I suddenly remember the feeling of Tucker’s fur beneath my fingers & his weight in my lap.  I give myself a little time to wallow in the grief, but then I move on.  He brought so much laughter & fun into my life & that it what I will choose to focus on.  Tucker was an AMAZING dog & I vow to remember him with joy.

Back to Blogging

The last few months have been tough at our house and I’ve had to step away from the blog for a while.  Shortly after my last post here, we found out that Tucker had a tumor in his nasal cavity & we ended up having to euthanize him on October 13th.  I will share some more details about saying goodbye to him in another blog post (coming soon).  The last few months have been tough without him, but I’m choosing to remember him with joy instead of sorrow.  Tucker was the light of my life & I was truly blessed to have so many years with him.

I never really thought that Emmit was particularly attached to Tucker & he didn’t particularly mourn Tucker’s death.  I am actually glad that Emmit’s doing well, because I don’t think my heart could have taken seeing Emmit sad.  I would actually say that Emmit’s thriving as an only dog.  His Dad & I are seeing new aspects of personality coming out & he’s better on walks (most likely because his humans are more relaxed).

It’s definitely taking a few months, but we’re finding our new normal.  I guess now we’re just life with one old dog (but we’ll keep the blog name the same).

Old Dog, New Trick

11-year old Emmit loves to learn.  He eagerly learns the name of each toy that come in our house & he will find that toy in the toy box any time you are willing to play.  Once I became a ‘stay-at-home dog mom’, I was determined to teach him a few new things.  Unfortunately, my plans were quickly derailed because he had some health problems.

About a month ago, I was hiding his pills in a treat & I realized that I was wasting a good opportunity.  Here I was giving him a treat three times a day for doing nothing.  He didn’t seem to notice that the treats have pills inside, so why not use do some training?  I will mention that he LOVES these treats.  I do sometimes mix things up & give the treats without the pills.

Why waste a training opportunity?
Why waste a training opportunity?

We’ve decided to teach Emmit a command that we call “Go to mat”.  It’s having him go stay on his dog bed until he is released.  Not only does he run to his mat, every time we give the command, but it’s been amazing to have him out from underfoot when we’ve had deliveries.

I won’t go into the step-by-step details on how we’re teaching him, but it was no different than teaching a younger dog.  Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks never met Emmit!

An Optimistic Update

vIf you saw my last post, you know that Tucker wasn’t doing well on Friday.  We even ended up taking him to the local emergency clinic Friday afternoon because we were so worried.  It turns out that he didn’t have a stroke, he had Vestibular Disease!

tilting my head with Tucker
tilting my head with Tucker

The symptoms that Tucker had were:
*unsteady/falling over
*rapid eye movement (horizontal)
*nauseous/vomiting
*unable to hold urine
*lethargic
*head tilt

 We were having to carry Tucker down the stairs until yesterday & we’ve been using a homemade sling to help steady him.  All weekend we kept him confined to the living room/kitchen area & I slept on the couch to be with him.  We are giving him motion sickness medicine every day, that is the only medication he seems to be on/need. 
He’s showing great improvement & is getting back to normal.  According to his vet, the head tilt is usually the last symptom to go, & some dogs have it forever.
We don’t know why Tucker got Vestibular Disease, but it is apparently quite common in older dogs.  It may happen again in six months, or it may never happen again.
I just know that despite the ups and downs of this past few days, I am grateful for some extra time with my best friend!
For more information on Vestibular Disease, I found both of these two articles helpful.

A Bath and a Series of Bad Days

This has been a really tough week.

It all started on Sunday when we left the dogs for an hour to go out for breakfast.  We came home to find out that Tucker had urinated on his bed & the floor (which is not normal for him).  He had also apparently laid in his bed after urinating on it.  I had to wash his bed & give him a bath.  Tucker seemed fine the rest of the day on Sunday– he even ran around a little after his bath time.

On Monday morning, Tucker lost his balance & fell over when going out in the morning.  He was unsteady on his feet for the next few days.  We were a little concerned & kept a close eyed on him, but he kept improving.  By Thursday, Tucker seemed back to his normal self.

This morning, he fell down the last few stairs coming from our bedroom down to the living room.  It seems that he also urinated upstairs.  Now he seems to be stiff in the hind end & slightly out of it.  I’m concerned that he had a stroke.  We are headed off to the vet today to find out what they say.

No matter how old your dog is, or how long you’ve had them, it is never enough time.  I’m not ready to go from ‘life with old dogs’ to life with old dog’.  I just know that I need to do what’s best for my best friend.  Fingers crossed.