Bracken became seriously ill suddenly. What I thought was an age-related limp and then maybe an injury turned out to be rapidly growing cancer with an excruciating autoimmune component.
Our relationship with our dog is often one of the longest and most steady relationships we have in our modern lives. They see us through love and hate, hiring and firing, weight gain and weight loss without ever wavering in their devotion.
Losing such a friend is devastating. The fact that the friend is an animal, and therefore supposedly less important to some than a person, is irrelevant.
One sweet couple called me in because their beloved older dog was going to the bathroom all over the house. I told them the truth: she was old, she was having a hard time controlling herself, she was getting forgetful. It happens.
Here's what you can do:
Most dogs get a bit sore and arthritic as they age. How much and how much it bothers them varies dog-to-dog. Some of the common signs of soreness to watch for include:
Your aging friend is no longer up for the hikes and the active games you always enjoyed together. Now a short walk in the neighborhood is about all she can manage. What can you do to keep her life interesting, both for her sake and yours? Here are some of the ways we’ve enriched our aging companions’ lives without taxing their strength.
Those first gray hairs on that beloved muzzle always seem impossible. Not so soon. Now “puppy” is said with a rueful smile as the fur is lovingly ruffled. You notice that your dog is sleeping more and more deeply. He races around a bit less, barking is less intense and stops sooner. Sunny spots become sought after and you may now hear soft snoring as you go about your day.