The dog has been incontinent since Wednesday – without warning he just stands up and goes — and since he does not move at all it is doubtful he got into anything. After an awful, disgusting incident Sunday morning, we are keeping him outside until we can gt him to the vet after the holiday weekend… That aside, he rarely seems happy anymore – he hates going outside to go to the bathroom, has his ears down all the time, and really only shows excitement at meal time and occassionally when someone appears. He hasn’t been able to get up the stairs to lay next to us in the TV room for months (he loved laying next to us in the TV room before his hips go out). Sometimes, he doesn’t get up when someone is at the door or even wag his tale and left his head when he gets pets. And Wife M and Daughter L are starting to think of him as less than enjoyable, what with eating his own poop if he is left unattended and incontinence and overall dementia… I think he is happy 5-10% of the time and pretty miserable over 90% of his waking hours… In short, I think it is time to strongly think about putting him down… I’ve never enjoyed owning dogs — they are a lot of work (and I do most of it) and don’t bring me a lot of joy although I love them and consider them part of the family. I don’t feel badly about this – I can’t help how I feel, and I take care of them (I give them pets, I feed them, I pick up their poop and often am the only one to take them for a walk) and the family more than covers for me in the dog love departmentent. But I don’t like the slobber and the panting and the mess and the smell. Luckily, I am not mean to them, and as I said the rest of the family truly adores them, so it is all good. But that said, it is emotional to think of putting the dog down. As I said before, he is part of the family. But is it fair to let him be miserable? I don’t think so. And I truly hope that in the decades to come that if/when I am in a state of dementia my family has the courage — and the legal right — to let me go.
I am pretty certain that if our 12 year old yellow lab were human right now, he’d be wandering around the neighborhood in his pajamas and slippers, he is that confused. Which reminds me of the time my elderly great uncle was playing cards with us when I was 19 or 20 – he was slightly confused during game play, so to tease him I turned my cards around so he could see them, knowing he’d still give me the cards I needed (we were playing gin or 31 or something where one player can benefit from an opponent’s discards). Sure enough, my uncle discarded a card that I needed to win and the table erupted with laughter as I won. I feel badly about that now, 30 years later, watching our confused old dog – it is mean, even in good spirits, to tease someone who is old and confused. We should feel nothing but sympathy for them, and soon enough that will be me (if I am lucky enough to live that long).
Everyone says this, but you never truly believe you’ll ever be in your 40s. And you certainly never believe you will look at 31 years since your senior year in high school. It feels like yesterday, although I havent seen most of my class since graduation (I’ve skipped the reunions, although I enjoyed high school – waht is the point?). Some day soon I will (hopefully) say, I can’t believe I am in my 80s. The sad part is, when I was a teen I *never* thought I’d be as old as 40 (that was an eternity away) but now at 49 I can definitely see 80 on the horizon.
P was a kid from another neighborhood but who’d we bump into from time to time in sports. THere were a million such kids who were long ago forgotten but P was memorable because he was a plus-sized kid (had metabolic issues) who was a fantastic athlete. He scored every point on his basketball team because of a deadly shot and hit long home runs in little-league baseball. When we were adults we played softball with him; he was still plus-sized and still a great athlete – he was a great infielder and hit long towering home runs once or twice every game. Later, he helped lead another team to a state softball championship… He wasn’t a happy-go-lucky guy, but *was* easy going and pleasant to be around, and I never remember him being angry or frustrated, not once… Just learned he is battling cancer that is likely terminal. Bleh. And double bleh.
Our 11-year-old yellow lab T has started getting up at random intervals during the night and walking up and down the stairs before settling back down outside our room. What is going through his mind when he does this? I’m not sure. But a funny new quirk in that funny, quirky dog… 🙂
Our 11 year old lab T is flat out old. Not on-the verge-of-death-not-knowing-where-he-is kind of old, but unpleasantly old. For example, he used to lay at Wife M’s feet, his legs tucked beneath him, his head resting on one paw, lifting his head alertly if anything caught his attention but otherwise silent and still. Now, he lays at Wife M’s feet, his four legs splayed out on either side, his head plopped on the ground, smacking his lips with an occassional belch that seems to come from an unspeakably deep place in his digestive system. The entire display is quite unpleasant, and kills my appetite for breakfast 🙂
When we left for vacation 3 weeks ago, our lab was old but reasonably functional. But in the three weeks we were gone, he aged an awful lot. He barely gets up anymore, even for food, and is having a difficult time finding his food bowl and gets confused that it is okay to eat. In the three weeks, it is like he went from an old person who is a little confused at times to drooling in a wheelchair. He was loved in our absence (our son and our dog-crazy friend watched him) and exercised daily during that time, but it is like the character said in The Sun Also Rises, it happened gradually then suddenly. So it seems to be with our dog’s aging. Poor guy.