Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And then this afternoon, Max.

I'd noticed he hasn't been barking at the mailman recently. And he needs encouragement to get up from the slippery wood floor; his back legs don't work as well as they did even six weeks ago.

Today I found him standing in the living room with a "what the hell did I come in here for?" look on his face. The last week, he's been standing stock-still and just staring at random times.

He's wuffing at the cats more often, but also staying still and licking their backs and heads more often, which confuses them. When he rolls over for belleh-rubs now, it's an even chance that I'll get a look that says fear and confusion versus a look that says rub mah belleh.

My boy is old. He didn't *get* old; he just suddenly *is* old. One day he was fine; the next he woke up in a puddle and couldn't get up easily and started forgetting stuff. His ears still twitch reflexively when I call his name; it's just now he can't remember his name every time. About one time out of three it's just a sound, not something to respond to.

Just now he's barking at the dogs walking past the house with their humans. If I didn't look outside, I'd think he was only a couple of years old, except that the barking stops too soon.

All I want is for him to have a good Fall and maybe half the winter. I want him to be mobile and happy without all this horrible heat that forces him indoors for most of the day. If he has to go down, I'd prefer he go down all at once, like he was hit by a meteorite. God knows he lived through enough to kill most dogs in his first nine months. I remember how apologetic he looked after he got the Huge Nasty Injections in his back muscles to kill heartworms, just after we rescued him: he kept moving from couch to floor to chair to floor and finally back to chair, just trying to get comfortable.

I will never, ever be ready to say goodbye to my friend, but I at least want him to be able to enjoy one last cool season, with fog and rain and being Braveheart, before he goes.


terri c said...

I hate that this is happening. Kiss your sweet, sweet old boy for me... and hugs to you.

Bardiac said...

I'm so sorry. It's especially hard with big dogs, I think, because they seem to feel sore more often or something.

MamaDoodle said...

Tears in my eyes as I remember the last year of BigDog's life. How we love our creatures who love us so unconditionally! Wishing you and Max many more better days. And lots of belleh-rubs.

(Still crossing my fingers for some cooler weather for you, too. Now starting to see national news about our cold (in Seattle) to contrast your heat. Wish somehow the weather gods could get it together and give us some sort of comfortable average!)

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

May this play out to the best outcome for both of you, Jo. The hardest things have to do with good-byes. Thinking of you.

Rosanna said...

My heart just breaks, Jo, for your dear Max and also for you, too. I thought I'd send you this link, (Below), about some possible cool treats for him.

My husband and I don't have any pets, but we give love/care to assorted neighbors' (canine and feline) pets. Some of our neighbors' pets, frankly, almost seem like "furniture" to their owners ............ (instead of genuine, living creatures) ............ i.e., for all of the emotional attention that some of their owners give to them.

You love Max very, very much; and you'll never know how many of your readers also love him, too.

A July 11, 2011, article from


Link to full page:

SUMMARY: When a heat wave hits your hometown, easy-to-make frozen treats are one way to help your dog chill out.

marian said...

may you and max have many more good days together.

also - we got runner rugs when our first dog started to lose her footing. it helped a lot with the slip and falls.

Anonymous said...

It's so hard when they get old. You probably already know, but there are doggy nsaids for his hips. If that isn't sufficient for the pain, dogs can take tramadol along with the nsaid. Also, there is a medication for canine dementia, which might help.

Jennifer Thorson said...

I have been there more times than I can count, and it sucks every single time. Peace to you and to Max.

Penny Mitchell said...

Gentle pats from Auntie Penny, who is crying, and not gently at all.

bobbie said...

Crying for and with you ~

Please give your baby a cuddle and a belleh-rub from me ~

And please consider yourself hugged ~

messymimi said...

Hugs and sympathy from someone who has lost dogs growing up and loses at least a few bottle feed foster kittens (they only have a 50/50 chance or less to start with) every year. It never gets easy; loving them every minute you have them is worth it.

Shavahn said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Max is getting old! I'm going through the same thing with my 13 yo lab/german shepherd cross. She's having trouble standing up, especially on the slippery wood floor and going deaf - doesn't even hear the food going into her bowl half the time.

About 6 weeks ago, we put her on adequan injections which have made a HUGE difference in her quality of life. They're not as potent as NSAIDS but they don't have the side effects either, which was very important so she could maintain her quality of life. They're also able to reverse arthritic changes to some degree.

Enjoy your time with Max, every second is precious (as you well know).

Halie said...

Oh man your post just brought me to tears. I'm so sorry. I actually had a dream that my dog died last night and thus I've been giving her lots of extra kisses today. Sending you a internet hug!

Anonymous said...

I'm watching my 13 year old German Shephard as he goes through this too.No more trips to the dog park because he can barely make it home,only short walks instead of the long ones we used to enjoy.I'm hoping some of this will change with cooler weather but the confusion and accidents....I don't think that's weather related.He was 8 years old when we rescued him and he's had a good,spoiled life with us but it's so hard to see him going downhill.
Hugs to you and bellah rubs to Max from me and Bozo.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous with the German Shepherd (and Jo too, if/when she should ever need it), check out a product called the Walkabout - available on the internet. It's kind of doggy underwear with handles - and can make a huge difference for the dogs going for a walk - you support just a bit of the weight, and it's amazing how much easier it can be for them. I used one for my old dog, and it made a world of difference - I could even get him up and down stairs.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous,thanks for the info,I'll have to give it a try.He always wants to go for a walk but I can see him starting to limp on his back legs after a few blocks.If he'll wear it,it just might be what we need

TheSchaft said...

You have my sincere sympathy, I know what it feels like to have to let a loved pet go. I lost three in the past year, all cats, all well into their teens. Each one took a bit of my soul with them, and left an empty place in my heart.

A word of caution - don't try to hang on too long, watch his quality of life and keep in touch with a good vet that can tell you when it is time.

Mel said...

Aw, I'm sorry to hear about Max. I hope you get your good rainy season with him.

My older girl is ten (ish) and has health issues so I'm always worried that something simple like an infected scrape is going to do her in. Plus she sometimes lies out flat on her side to sleep, more than once I've seen her like that and panicked.

Hope you get lots more belly rubs and some more good memory days with him.

woolywoman said...

my dog was on doggie aricept, and it helped a lot. sorry. sucks.