Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Old Dogs

As I looked through my camera to see if I had any good recent pictures of Coral or Watson to add to this blog, I realized that I had not taken many pictures of them lately.  Why?  I think it's because I want to remember them the way they were, not the way they are.  But they are still the same dogs, just older models.  I need to take more pictures of them now, while there's still time, and time is growing short for Coral.  I have a picture of my beloved Rob, taken the day I took him in for the final journey.  I shed tears when I even think of that picture, but I'm glad I have it.

I once read a wonderful article by a gentleman who had recently lost a dearly loved companion, an elderly Labrador.  He had come to the conclusion that old age was not a problem for dogs, only for their owners.  Dogs don't reminisce about their past lives, all the things they used to be able to do, all the things they miss now.  They just live for the moment, and old age is now.  Given good care, pain management if needed, and an owner who loves them, they age gracefully and with no regrets, and when the end comes they go peacefully.

Watson is doing well at 12 1/2.  He's a bit grayer and a bit slower and a lot more stubborn, but he's fine.  Still sees and hears very well and still wants to chase squirrels and rabbits and fence fight with the dog next door.  He goes for his daily walks, can still sit up and beg, and is not in the least senile.  He had a bout of arthritis or some type of joint issue, but two acupuncture treatments and a couple of supplements took care of that, for the time being at least.  He sleeps a lot more now but has always been a laid back, easy-going guy.  Hopefully he has a couple of good years left.

Coral at 14 1/2 is running out of time, I'm afraid.  She still sees and hears well, and is not at all senile, but her poor old body is wearing out.  Because Ron is retired and can stay at home with her, he can get Coral outdoors as often as needed to pee, but she is losing control of her bowels.  She still gets her daily walk around the block, but in slow time now.  She sometimes needs help getting up on the sofa, and falls a lot as her legs grow feebler and her joints grow stiffer.  It hurts to watch her walk.  The mammary tumors are growing very slowly, and we made the decision not to do surgery, as she would not be a good surgical risk.  Coral's days are spent watching Ron.  Watching for him when he is gone, gazing at him when he is home and laying beside him on the sofa when he sits down.  She appears to be content with her life and we will cherish her and try to remind ourselves that this really is only a problem for us.

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