Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dealing with elderly dogs

Tilly is currently our oldest Labrador. She is really in great health and doing well. Occasionally, she will get a urinary tract infection that causes some accidents. We dose her with amoxycillin and the infection will clear up.

Tilly is really a one of a kind girl. She was my first Best in Specialty show winner and has been an outstanding producer. She is funny, possessive of her toys, rules the roost, and in general is our "heart" dog. She hasn't slowed down much at all and I look forward to spending several more years with her in our lives. There is that bit of sadness though to see the ones that you hold so dear get old. Anna, Tilly's daughter, is nearly grey. Stella, another Tilly, daughter is getting on to be nearly 7 years old. Hard to believe that these were the babies that we birthed and cared for.

I've found that one of the hardest things about dog ownership is having them age and become infirm. The loss of a beloved animal friend is so difficult that there are times that I think I can't bear to lose another.


trixie said...

This is an e-mail I received in the past year or two.

Why Dogs Don't Live As Long As People

"Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very much attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four-year-old ontinued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long." Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply, Speak kindly.

Pam said...

What a sweet story! I have a beagle that is just over 17 years old. Living with elderly dogs is sure a unique experience - but I'm honored to do it.