My girl Christie has been with me 11 months now. I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. She wasn’t a super active dog to begin with – her age and her health contributed to a general weariness – but she has, from her first day with me, been my companion and is always near me if not on my feet.
The last few months – well actually, since June when she had a seizure at the Petsmart and her vet ran her through a bunch of tests and x-rays to find the masses on her spleen and heart – she has noticeably declined, although you couldn’t tell from her appetite. I can no longer take her on walks as she won’t go more than a few yards without sitting down for a break. I try to get her to walk around the back yard with me (I’ve got a pretty good size yard) and she does make more of an effort when she’s not on the leash but she still plunks her butt down when she’s had enough. Her vet says there isn’t anything that can be done beyond the joint and arthritis meds she takes. She’s too old for a surgery that may or may not be effective because of the placement of the masses.
She loves when my granddaughter comes to visit, or when I heft her up into my car and take her to their house. She loves car rides but cannot get in and out on her own, so we have our little routine for getting her in, and I take her to their house whenever I go.
But the excitement exhausts her and when she’s out, she’s out. With so little exercise, and my lack of restraint for treat giving, she’s getting rounder and I know that is exasperating the situation and not helping her at all – but I always end up caving and giving her that piece of chicken jerky or pig ear when she asks. It’s when her appetite fails that I’m going to worry.
She does love it (sort of) when we have dog boarders. She gets a little bump to her energy level as she instructs our dog guests on the behavior she expects from them – no horsing around, no jumping on her, no chasing the cats, and no barking! Christie is the only dog allowed to bark in her house! And if they pass her stringent criteria, they are allowed to join her on the dog bed and keep her behind warm.
I don’t know how much longer she is going to be with me. Her seizures are coming more frequently. The last one, as I held her unconscious body, I swear I put my head to her chest to listen and there was nothing, no heart beat. It was a good ten seconds and then she came back, breathing hard and then after a moment, she turned her head and looked at me with those eyes. Then she was up and got a drink, and looked at me again as if to say, “Not today, mom. Not today.”