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Den's Journal

Stories by a short, fat bastard

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Snowy's failure to dog.
Poor Snowy is really feeling the cold weather - nights here have been subzero for a few weeks now. Snowy has gone from elderly dog to old dog to geriatric dog rather quickly, and he spends a lot of time doddering around. He is a little thin and has all the joint problems old dogs have, plus he has Cushing's Disease - an endocrine problem that causes diabetes and fatty lumps. He's not in pain but he does spend a lot of time sleeping, drinking, and peeing. He sometimes pees in the house, which he knows is BADDOG! but the lazy human was in bed and I did ask to be let out but he didn't get up and BURSTING.

He has started to do some extreme doddering which is noticeable when it's time to do a car trip. He used to CAR TRIP! dash out the front door to the car and wait. Now he CAR TRIP dash out the front door and gets distracted by the trees, the smell of the cat next door, grass, peeing, the sky, and after five minutes he remembers CAR TRIP! and potters over to me and waits for me to lift him into the car.

I almost lost Snowy to hypothermia yesterday. The night had been -4C and there was a very heavy frost when I let Snowy out. The sun was shining into the room so I left the back door open for him, and hit the shower. Afterwards I could hear Snowy crying and thought the back door had closed and he couldn't get in. I took my time getting dry and dressed. Then I walked to the back room and saw the door was open, and I could hear Snowy was in distress. I walked out back...

Snowy was standing belly-deep in the fish pond, surrounded by thin sheets of ice and shivering violently, and struggling feebly to climb up the steep sides. I dragged him out of the water, dropped him onto the towel for a quick dry-off, then dropped him into the laundry tub for a 10 minute warm water soaking. Even after 10 minutes he was still shivering and breathing in short puffs. I used up two more towels to dry him, then wrapped him up like a mummy in a fluffy towel and placed him in the sun to warm up. An hour later he was largely recovered, but he was still very shaky on his legs and looked exhausted.

Today he is back to his normal old self and does not appear to be affected by the swim. I really have to keep an eye on him now.

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Poor old dog! (How old is he, anyway?) I know that you're going to make whatever time he's got left as comfortable as you can, surrounding him with caring and love. Old age comes to all living things... although science is working on preventing that, or at least reducing its impact!

Give him a pat from a crazy old lady...

Snowy and Polly are both 15, but age has hit Snowy hard.

He has been patted!

Individuals within a species, or even a breed, will age at different rates for all sorts of reasons. Snowy just got a slightly different set of DNA than Polly did.

It even happens with people. More and more, I'm seeing people in various public settings, and feeling sorry for "that poor old doddering geezer" who shuffles along slowly, drives well below the speed limit, and can't figure out how to use a mobile phone. Then I realize that he's probably about my age! (Not that age hasn't affected me physically - I've got a denture, bifocals, and far too much loose skin on my neck. But I refuse to let it affect my attitude!)

I'm far more a cat (and/or rabbit) person than a dog person, but I know how strong the bonds between two-footed and four-footed creatures can be.

I'm sorry your going through this. I went through this with my Daisy last year; it's like one day they suddently get old and your left wondering what happened.

Is there a particular place in the house that Snowy pees when he can't hold it any longer? If so, you might try putting one of the diaper pads they use for incontinent adults' beds on the floor there. I have a friend who trained her dog to go on such a pad while she was gone during the day, but from the sound of this it's too late to actually teach Snowy a new thing.

Time is a harsh mistress.

I wish for you to still have many WAG WAG WAG and MY ALPHA IS THE BESTES moments and few, if any, OMYGOSHOMYGOSH moments.

Happy Belated Birthday! :-) I was terribly busy yesterday. Sorry :-(

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