Monday, March 14, 2011

Aging Pets

It is easy to see our pets as ageless. They are forever our ”babies” even as their eyes become cloudy and they move more stiffly. I find myself disappointed that my 12 year old German Shepherd, Guinness, can no longer retrieve her favorite basketball or jog with me even 1 mile! When did it happen?! They are still so darn cute it is hard to understand that they are seniors. I mean I actually think it is sweet when Sheeba, almost 15, wets her bed!

Our walks should be called ‘bumbling strolls’. Imagine a one-eyed dog with a lung tumor and a partially paralyzed larynx (makes breathing difficult), hip dysplasia, back arthritis and a gimpy right front leg along with Sheeba who has a head tilt and is dizzy, a back end that does not seem to communicate with the front hind, and if you pet her too firmly she will fall over. Fun times. But we keep walking because I firmly believe when you stop moving you die.

The girls no longer can be left outside for fear of the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” scenario. Therefore they need to be let out at least 3 times a day or we find poop surprises. I am always amazed to see they make it to the kitchen and save my rugs, how sweet!

Meal times are fun too! Each dog gets about 10 pills/capsules of herbs and pain medications and supplements. Sheeba takes coaxing and tricking and 3 different flavors of cat food to get the pills down.

The 20 linear feet of home-made dog ramp has been a beautiful addition to the house, not!

Having two large breed dogs, over 12 years old who have health problems and need lots of care taking has made it quite clear to me: I am engaged in caring for the elderly.  Many of you may be doing the same. We owe it to our loyal companions. I realize how important this job is, that this caretaking of the elderly is a part of life. At times it makes me sad to know they will be gone, but I continue to be there for them with love and compassion. For our pets and elderly people it is one of the more important things we can do.

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