Emmit took an extra snooze today in honor of his favorite new holiday. This is the perfect thing for this old dog (especially after the time change). Did you take a nap today??
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.
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
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.
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!