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).
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.
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!
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!
The symptoms that Tucker had were:
*rapid eye movement (horizontal)
*unable to hold urine
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.
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.
Some days, I feel like ALL I do is clean up dog hair. Neither Tucker or Emmit actually enjoys being brushed, so I have a small window of time to brush them before I run out of bribery or they they run out of patience with me. It is depressing to think of the number of vacuum cleaners we’ve been through over the years. We’ve managed to kill countless $100 vacuums & we’re now on our second Dyson. I Swiffer, I sweep, but it never goes away. This is glamorous life of a stay-at-home dog mom.
Both of the dogs have decided that life is more fun without all of their organs intact. It was an expensive & traumatic decision for them to make.
In 2012, Tucker had a tumor on his spleen that ruptured. It was incredibly traumatic, sending him into surgery not knowing if he would come back out alive. We were fortunate, not only that he survived the surgery, but also that the tumor ended up to be benign (non-cancerous)!
Last year, our veterinarians found a liver mass on Emmit. After going through the trauma with Tucker, we felt surgery was necessary, so we sent him to a surgeon to have a liver lobe removed. Suprise, his was ALSO benign. Prior to surgery, Emmit had some pretty awful liver values. As of right now, the tumor has not returned & his values look good.
Here’s to a LONG life with missing parts & amazing veterinarians who make it possible!
When you have two really old dogs (and it’s 90 degrees outside), long walks are out of the question. It is my responsibility to find other ways to entertain these guys. We spend lots of time outside in early morning and late evening smelling things, and hanging on our deck watching the wildlife (we live along a river).
When we are stuck inside because of the heat, it’s a good time to practice our obedience. We use dog food or treats (sometimes they have hidden pills) to perfect manners & even learn new tricks. I sometimes pull out food-dispensing toys to keep old brains active & working out a puzzle to find dinner. By the evening time, these old pups are always worn out!
We may no longer be going for jogs around the park, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t having any fun!
a running commentary of life with my senior dog(s)