In the last couple of weeks, he's started to randomly drop, falling onto his side. Like a plank, as The Other Half describes it. Sometimes he flails about trying to get up. When he can't, he just gives up, lies still and starts to cry.
Last week, he collapsed in the middle of a road. How lucky were we, that there were no cars about. He lay there for almost 5 minutes. There was a moment when I thought he was dying. I tried to move him to the side of the road, but he was such a deadweight, I couldn't budge him. It was dark and there was no one in sight who might have helped. Fortunately, it wasn't too far from the house, so I called The Other Half who turned up with some liver treats. One sniff, and Rufus made a miraculous recovery.
So there are 3 things I never leave home without now, when walking Rufus. A mobile phone, a bag of treats and great trepidation.
I also make sure I stay on the sidewalk, and minimise walking across roads.
The last few days, Rufus's back legs have become too weak for him to do a proper toilet. Maybe that's why he often voids himself in his sleep. His bladder incontinence has become a non-stop drip. I've given up putting his bed down because it becomes soggy within the hour. He prefers to sleep outdoors anyway, on the pavers. Still a cold-loving malamute, despite his arthritis. I've started to put a mat and old T-shirt down on the pavers, so they can help soak up some of the urine. His belly and leg fur are always damp. He seems to like the mat. He doesn't move much from the spot and often eats his meals there, lying down.
His appetite for anything other than treats is pretty much gone now. Rice? Yuk! Poached chicken. Nah. Grilled steak and raw beef? Okay. Maybe. Given his recent colitis flare-ups and pancreatitis, we don't dare to offer him anything else. If we're lucky, he eats 2 of his 3 little meals in the day.
I've spoken to the vet and there's nothing more really, that we can do or give him.
The Easter-Anzac break starts tomorrow. A 5-day long, long weekend. I called the clinic this morning to check if it might be open. Only on Saturday. And for 3 hours on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Rufus's vet, who has so ably seen him through his years of ailments, will be away. So there'll be no chance of a house call if there's any night time emergency.
Murphy's law looms again.
To say I'm terrified and can't wait for the weekend to be over, would be an understatement.
Will there be a resurrection for this old dog? Who knows. He's already beaten the odds to have come this far.
The Other Half and I are finally in agreement that the end is near. Rufus will be 11 in early May.
2 bad tummy upsets. The second, very bloody. It happened at about 5pm. Luckily, the veterinary clinic was still open, so we were able to pick up some meds. No appetite. Didn't eat all day.
Good Friday Had a good morning walk! Came home famished. Ate 4 little meals throughout the day, cleaning the bowl out every time.
Couldn't wait to go out for his evening walk.
Perked up even more when he saw a cat!
Went round the corner
and collapsed on the sidewalk. Wouldn't get up for treats. Took about 10 minutes to get him back on his feet. Went to sleep when he got home.
No interest in having dinner.
After the evening walk, I decided to do some cleaning. I turned the vacuum cleaner on, there was a smell of burning plastic and, just like that, it died.
The clip on Rufus's leash, which he's had almost all his life, broke this week.
My drama queen mind is full of omens.
Sunday night A peaceful weekend. 2 more days to the end of the holidays. Thank goodness :)
Tuesday night We made it! The holidays are over. Rufus's vet is back tomorrow. Normal clinic hours again. I'm horribly relieved to have made it through the 5 days with no major incident.