Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The street of old dogs.

I live on a very short street. There are only about 30 houses on it.

For such a short street, there are many dogs and cats who live here. And for all I know, there may be mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and fish as well that live inside the houses. There are also some possums that live in the trees.

I think I'm the youngest dog on the street. I'll be 2 in another month or so.

Mr Thumper turned 10 last month and is old for A Dog the Size of A Bear. I'm told he's been sickly all his life, so everyone is amazed to see him still around. He's a big sook but very determined. My stay-at-home human says he might just outlive me. What does that mean, I wonder?

John, who lives a few doors down, is years older than Mr Thumper.

So is Annie With Her Long Lashes, who lives across the street.

And then, there's Little Josie With Her Sturdy Legs, who went away last Saturday and who was 15.

I didn't know Josie well because she was a littlie and too old to play with me. I hear she and Mr Thumper used to stare each other down at the annual Christmas street party, when they were both still young, able to stand and had good eyesight.

Every time my stay-at-home human saw Josie, she would say, "What a little toughie she is!" You wouldn't have known Josie was old, just by looking at her. Especially compared to Mr Thumper, who wobbles down the street like a large drunk looking for a pavement to faint on.

Josie's humans gave me some of the bikkies she left behind, and Mr Thumper got some of her powder for a.r.t.h.r.i.t.i.s. It's sad.

The Christmas street party is going to be a little quieter this year.

For The Oldies on our street - John, Annie and Rufus B Thumper.

And in memory of Josie.

UPDATE 2nd July: John was put to sleep last Saturday, 26th June 2010.

My stay-at-home human is worried that my silly dogblog is beginning to sound more like a sappy sadblog. However, she's decided she must put a few words down about Mr Thumper's ongoing health problems since many people have asked after him and because she finds it c.a.t.h.a.r.t.i.c.

A FEW words, HUH!

If you'd rather be entertained, NEVER read beyond this title!

How is Rufus B Thumper?

Rufus has been sick for more than a month now. He's being treated for pancreatitis and has responded well to both his meds and his new no-fat diet. He'll have to be on this diet till the end of June, and on a restricted one after that.

Ever wondered how much fat you're paying for in your chicken?

To treat his pancreatitis effectively, he had to be taken off his ongoing medication for hypothyrodism, and natural supplements for arthritis. As a result, he's gone back to being a sleepy dog who stumbles about and can hardly walk or stand.

Since Rufus is allergic to every anti-inflammatory that various vets have tried on him over the years, there's nothing we can do but be patient as we re-introduce his natural supplements, one every 3 to 4 days. We can't go any faster because we have to be sure that none of them affect his stomach badly.

For the past few weeks, he's had to have assistance to empty his bowels. Twice, it was with the vet's help. Yesterday, on our very short walk round the block, he did it while lying on the pavement because he couldn't do it standing up - his back legs were too weak. It was very hard to see him that way. Today, for the first time in a month, he did it on his own. It was the world's most wobbly squat, but he did it!

Nothing like a cat under the car to cheer an old dog up!

Over the weekend, Rufus also suddenly developed severe incontinence. We had to make another trip to the vet's and he is now on meds which seem to be helping. With no way to control his constant puddling and dribbling, he has been living outdoors the last few days. Thank goodness he likes sleeping in the cold. And thank goodness for the sunny days we've been having [though they say it will rain tomorrow].

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. There is now a tarp and market umbrella covering most of our little backyard. Rufus's beds have been fully water-proofed with garbage bags [!] and big cotton liners that the vet gave us. We're already thinking of how we can cordon off a tiled area for him in the house if it really should start raining before he gets well.

Tomorrow, I get to collect a wee sample for more tests [and I don't mean 'small'].

The Cat Lady down the street asked me if we were going to put Rufus down. I was upset to hear her ask the question even though CK and I have talked about it. How could we not? It's been very difficult to see his deterioration, to see him falling down the 3 steps he has to climb to get into the yard, and to hear him crying.

The vet has given him all sorts of tests in the last month and has told us that his heart, lungs, liver and kidneys are in good shape. He's still feisty and stubborn. And he loves his new food and slurps everything down.

I don't think Rufus is ready to let go. But I hope we will be when the time comes.

1 comment:

Chapeuzinho said...

Oh poor Rufus, old age is not kind. Poor you too, it's horrible to see someone you love suffer. I hope he improves soon and can get back to being the grumpiest pooch with the longest tongue we know and love.