Life as an older dog

I’m only 11 years old but my multiple health issues mean I seem quite old. Mind you, I can still fling my toys round and chase stray cats when I want to!

Most of the time I am happy to lie around in the sun, or face first into the heater, and nap my way through the day. Although I am very much Dad’s girl, I light up briefly when Mum comes home and haul all my toys out of their container so we can play with the ball.

Auntie Ailsa says Mum and Dad have to think of it like a retirement home and not worry on the days I’m a bit slow and uninterested. Some days the residents go out on a bus trip, other days they sit in the lounge and watch TV; same for old dogs. Auntie Ailsa knows stuff…

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What did you say?

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I’ve been doing quite well lately – and then things went weird. I had sore ears and kept scratching them, so Mum was putting stuff in them – and suddenly I was stone deaf. My wee ears didn’t even twitch when Mum and Dad shouted, and I wasn’t barking at the courier, cars next door, flies going past…

We live a very routine life so it’s been kind of ok – I know when Mum cleans her teeth etc at night it’s time for me to go toilet then head for the bedroom so they can put me on the bed. And in the morning I know when Dad puts Mum’s car out I have to stay inside. But I missed being told “what a good girl” all the time, and Mum waffling on to me about what she’s doing.

The vet wasn’t sure if my ears were just super sore or if I was deaf because I’m getting old (I’m 11 and a half…).

Anyway, in the last couple of days I have started to hear some things again and today I reacted when Mum said I’m a good girl. So my ears were just sore and all blocked up after all. Thank goodness for that. Mum said a deaf dog with a heart condition, Cushing’s Disease, Luxating Patella in both back legs and one bung eye didn’t bear thinking about!

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I’m doing well

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Mum’s almost scared to write this, but I’m doing well. I have settled on my arthritis, heart & Cushing’s meds to the point where I don’t even need blood tests for a couple more months. (Mum says my vet bill doesn’t look as healthy as I do … whatever!).

I am enjoying the sunshine, playing with my toys, and cuddling with Mum and Dad. Life’s good. Thank you all for caring about me. Happy woofs!

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Groomed, and presents

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I was groomed on Friday, just in time for Christmas and the hot weather. The nice groomer at The Dog Box in Hawera tried to get me to wear a bow but I wasn’t having it, and kept shaking it out. She did get a photo of me for their FB page with it in though.

We celebrated Christmas yesterday – I still have one present under the tree, from Aunty Ailsa. Yesterday Uncle Roger gave me some new balls to play with, but it takes me a few days sometimes to decide if I like them!

I had a great day for a dog, and hope you did too. Happy silly season everyone.

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A story just for me

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Mum’s friend Kylie Parry (@parrykylie on Twitter) is, among other things, a writer. Recently she sent me a wonderful story about Faith, based on my tweets and this blog. I think it’s just lovely; she has really captured their personalities. Thank you so much Kylie, your timing was perfect…

It was gone. Disappeared. Faith shook the blonde hair out of her eyes. Cath couldn’t help. She’d gone to the library, again. Faith figured the library must have the best toys in the world because Cath kept going there. Or treats, maybe it was full of treats.

Faith scratched behind one ear and then shook herself. Focus. The toy was gone. Not just a toy. The Toy. The best one. The one that was chewed soft in just the right places and smelt like happiness. Well she was on her own now, she’d just have to track it.

Nose bent to the floor Faith sniffed carefully around. Humpf, the worst smell in the world was here… Goldie. She stiffened. Goldie was big, mean and scary. People thought Goldie was cute,

“Who’s a lovely cat, do you want a pat.”

People were stupid. Faith knew the truth, Goldie was a no good toy thief. It was clearly the only answer. Goldie must have stolen The Toy while she was sleeping. Gathering up her courage, Faith stood tall, tallish, oh OK just stood straight and prepared to track.

Goldie had left stink everywhere. Under the chair, in the kitchen, up on the bed. Everywhere cat stink, no-where The Toy.

Faith wasn’t giving up that easily. Behind the curtain. AHA, a clue. A small piece of stuffing. She picked it up carefully in her mouth. Following the scent.

In the corner of the lounge, more stuffing. Near the door, an ear. Faith whimpered, an ear. What kind of monster was this cat! Dedicated sniffing tracked down another ear and a small piece of fabric.

Faith sat in the lounge and yapped loudly,

“Goldie, what did you do? What did you do?”

Goldie wandered slowly into the lounge yawning. The weird fluffy dog was yapping again. Goodness knows what about. Frankly Goldie didn’t care. Goldie leapt up on a chair, curled up in a ball and went back to sleep.

Faith sat on the stuffing yapping and planning her revenge.

“Cath!!! Cath!!! Cath!!!”

Cath was home, she was home, Faith spun in happiness. Cath reached down and patted her, then pulled a toy out of her bag.

“Here you go Faith, a new toy. Try not to destroy this one OK?”

Oh. Faith looked at the fluff and back at the new toy. Oh. Had she? She remembered playing… some shaking…. Then there had been fluff…

“New toy!” Faith grabbed the toy and ran around the lounge. There was a toy and Cath. Everything was wonderful.

Goldie opened one eye.

“Stupid dog”

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We have Mynah company

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I’ve always got Dad for company, and Mum (but she’s 2nd best) and Goldie the cat. Now I have more company. A pair of Mynah birds have moved into the neighbourhood and seem to have decided our section’s the place to be, maybe because we have quite a lot of trees.

They sit on the power lines and shriek with rage every time they see Goldie, and they’re not thrilled about me either. They even shout if Dad’s in the garden.

Yesterday the little dog from across the road was wandering and tried to come into our place. The Mynah screamed and dive-bombed it until it went away. Mum thought it was funny – until it had a go at her when she tried to sit on the back steps and talk to Uncle Roger. Bad birdie…

Image from http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/common-myna

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Goldie turned 12

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My fursister Goldie turned 12 three days ago, which means I am 11. For her birthday Mum and Dad got her a big checkup at the vets. I don’t think she liked her present because she scratched Brendan and had to be sedated before he could do anything with her. Brendan said she was purring and looking cute in her cage … and he fell for it … she really isn’t trustworthy.

She has a cracked tooth that needs removing, and arthritis in her back hips which is why she doesn’t always want to jump onto the bench to get her food. Mind you, if they put her food on the floor, I try to eat it and it makes my tummy hurt. Other than that, she’s in great shape. And in fine voice; she has done nothng but yell and eat since she got home. Oh, and I’m still scared of her!

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Pain relief and decisions

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Faith’s not doing well and it doesn’t seem to be any one thing. The harsh reality is she has eye problems, luxating patella, pancreas & liver issues, heart disease and Cushing’s Disease. Some days she feels unwell. We met with Brendan a week ago and agreed to start her on Glucosamine for the knees, which takes 4-6 weeks to have a decent impact, but also give her codeine as needed. This is the third day in a row she has looked miserable and ended up having codeine with her breakfast; she even had some after dinner last night. I’m not sure how sustainable this is because our decisions have to be about her quality of life. As we approach her 11th birthday this just feels so sad.

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Back to the vets

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Last week Mum was away for 5 days at a conference for her work, so it was just Dad and me. I was a bit miserable, and Dad was worried about me – why was I in pain, was my tummy sore, my knees, what? I made awful coughing/choking noises when Mum got home after I ran really fast, so perhaps my heart medication wasn’t working properly.  He made an appointment for me to see our new vet, Brendan, yesterday.

Brendan checked me out pretty thoroughly. The coughing is just small dog tracheal problems, which we already knew about. My heart congestion is about the same as it was. We agree surgery on my knees is not an option because of my heart, so I am going to start on Glucosamine but it takes 4-6 weeks to have an impact. We came to the conclusion that, with my multiple health issues, I just feel yuk some days.  When I’m having a bad day Mum or Dad will give me a teensy dose of codeine so I feel better.

In the meantime, the heater is on, and life is good.

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It’s the eyes again

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Over the years Faith has had a lot of eye issues. When she was a pup we were nursing Mum so she grew up keeping out of the way – she always walked slightly behind and to the side of Mum to avoid getting trodden on. She walks closer to Tony, but is cautious of me because of my walking stick. She never ever gets under our feet. Until now…

About a week ago I walked into her in the evening, and thought nothing of it. It happened again, and I still didn’t connect the dots. Then Tony walked into her in broad daylight and I suddenly clicked that we have a problem.

I hopped on Google and looked up her illnesses and medications and found a potential link between Cushing’s Disease and SARDS (sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome). I rang the vet and asked for an urgent appointment, and got in the same day.

Brendan checked her over thoroughly and agreed there’s a problem, additional to her existing eye problem which we saw Craig Irving about a couple of years ago. He referred us to Anna at their Hawera branch, as she specialises in eyes. Faith has three appointments in a row on Tuesday so Anna can really spend some time checking her out.

Now we are paying more attention, we can see other signs all is not right with her vison, so it’ll be interesting to see what Anna finds. Poor wee Faith, it’s all a bit endless, but most of the time she is her normal perky self so I guess we’re ok for now.

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