Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Living with a little old dog

Roc on his 12th birthday in December, 2013
I went into the vet's office this morning to pick up some medicine refills for Roc. My little old man isn't doing all that great these days - something happened to his back in December and he's losing the use of his back legs.
In all honesty, neither the vet nor I really expected him to still be here in June - if we hadn't been able to control his pain, he wouldn't be. He has trouble getting up from a sit or from lying down, his back legs don't always turn when he does, and he doesn't always realize that his right, rear paw is upside down. I fix it for him.
And because of the medication he's on, he gets really warm. So I bought a bunch of flexible cooler sheets that rotate in and out of the freezer and under his towel on the couch. So he's cool enough to enjoy watching his beloved television.
Teddy and I wanted to
go walking on vacation.
 Roc came along strapped
to my front in his Pooch Pack.
And he's lost feeling and control of his back end, he doesn't always know when he has to poop and doesn't always make it outside anymore. But he still yells for his dinner (and breakfast, and snacks), and he still likes to play with his toys (even if "fetch" is just a few inches in front of him), and he still likes it when I hold him and give him big, smacky kisses. And he still loves barking at the lawn service, the mail carrier, the UPS guy, and his brother.
Today the vet gave me "the talk." She was acting as Roc's advocate - she's known him since I brought him home as a four-month-old puppy. She wants to make sure that Roc is still here because he's happy, not because I need him to be. I was able to reassure her - according to her own rules, which she told me years ago, it's not time. It's a good way to know - think of your dog's three favorite things. When two of them are gone, it's probably time.
I've let my friends know that vacations I've planned probably won't be happening - Roc can't travel and I won't leave him now. Having a little old dog restricts the time I can be away from home - he needs his medicine twice a day, and really can't "hold it" for more than a few hours anymore.
Non-dog people might think it's not worth it. But they'd be wrong. Roc is still my best little buddy, my first obedience dog, and my responsibility. And the day I brought him home I made a promise to him that I'd always be there for him. And I will.

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