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Aging Pup

Ty Handsome the Wonderdog is getting close to thirteen years old. His face and paws have been white for years, and he spends more time than ever just lounging around. He will still play Grizzly Bears with little Gambit, but his go-to techniques have shifted from hind-leg dancing to ground fighting. And he loves to prowl the yard and snuffle the trails rabbits leave around the bushes and trees, but it's been a long time since he's sprinted after anything. He will gladly hop up on the couch, but no longer jumps on the bed. He trots all over the place, still prances with excitement, and--of course--that kangaroo tail of his wags almost all the time. He even wags his tail in his sleep.

He's still happy, energetic for his age, and sweet as ever.

But.

One of Ty's greatest joys was competing in 4H shows. No, really, his greatest joy was the single moment when the judge said, "Exercise finished," and Dev said, "Ty's okay!" Then Ty would jump high enough to plant his forepaws on Dev's shoulders and lick Dev's face. (It was an audience favorite, too.) But... Ty doesn't do that jump anymore.

But he still wants to! So Dev will sit on the couch and say, "Ty's okay!" and Ty will throw his chest onto Dev's lap so he can lick his face.

A couple days ago, something odd happened. Ty and Gambit were stalking my steps in the kitchen while I filled their bowls with chicken and eggs. Ty was so danged excited, he was dancing on all four paws. Then his right hind leg kinda slipped out, and his left slipped the other direction, and he ended up on his belly with his hind legs splayed out behind him. And he couldn't get himself back up.

Mind you, his tail never stopped wagging, and he wasn't in pain. (Ty has rarely in his life vocalized pain, but his facial expression of pain is quite clear.) Instead, he looked up at us with a doggy grin as if to say, "Hey, can I get a little help here, guys?" So Dev hooked his arm beneath Ty's waist and lifted him up. The dog gave himself a shake, then dug into his chicken. Dev fretted for the rest of the day. It was the first sign of a senior-dog issue that could actually impact quality of life.

We've had him on joint supplements for some time already, but I'm thinking of upping the amount a bit. I'll add some other anti-inflammatory if it seems discomfort is bothering him. This isn't a life-threatening issue, but something we will certainly need to watch.

And yeah, it makes me sad to think about it. Dev and Ty have grown up together. Ty has been his comfort and companion through so much, and it was Ty with whom Dev chose to shed his first tears on the night his Daddy died. That sweet pup is half of that's child's heart. Any sign that Ty won't always be around is enough to make me want to wrap my arms around him to keep him near.

As for Gambit... Well, the little dog is mostly oblivious to any of Ty's troubles, and Ty continues to be Gambit's big brother and protector. But I sometimes wonder. Yesterday, when Ty flopped down after a bout of tug of war, Gambit stretched out beside him and rested his muzzle on Ty's shoulder. Ty's tail went thump, thump, thump...

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Feb. 9th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC)
Give them as much happiness as one can.
blairmacg
Feb. 9th, 2014 05:06 am (UTC)
Amen. We give him lots of cuddles and scratches, and he's taken quite a liking lately to being brushed, so we do that every day.

And peanut butter. :)
queenoftheskies
Feb. 9th, 2014 05:35 am (UTC)
::HUGS:: It's so hard as our beloved furry family members age. I hope Ty is there for you and Dev for a long time yet.
blairmacg
Feb. 9th, 2014 05:47 am (UTC)
Me, too! He seems to be doing well overall, but it's those indicators of age are growing, alas. But at the moment, he's nudged his muzzle under my arm so he can snore beside me.
queenoftheskies
Feb. 9th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
Sweet puppy!
jazzfish
Feb. 10th, 2014 06:05 am (UTC)
This made me smile an awful lot. Thank you.

Also, hm. Joint supplements. Probably ought to talk to our vet about that; Chaos is getting more and more stiff in his back legs.
blairmacg
Feb. 10th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
Always glad to makes folks smile. :)

I started Ty on the supplements when I noticed he was having some trouble with landing jumps during agility runs, and it seemed to take care of the issue at the time. We also changed him over to a raw food diet a few months ago.
asakiyume
Sep. 8th, 2014 01:51 am (UTC)
An aging dog. ((hugs)) Dogs are so cheerful in the face of it all . . .

Your mention of Dev's father dying prompted me to read your second entry under the "dad deficiencies" tag, which got me thinking how, with LJ and the like, we can slide into one another's lives so easily, without **any idea** of the pain and stuff they've been through--and yet most everyone has been though something.

Honoring you for the share of Something that you've gone through.
blairmacg
Sep. 8th, 2014 01:03 pm (UTC)
Yep, we all have our stories, the things that make our today what it wouldn't have otherwise been. :)

But I have to tell you something funny: I have a "dad" tag that's mostly my dad, and a "deficiencies" tag that's about nutritional deficiencies. I never before realized they, one after the other, sounded like a single tag dealing with the loss of Dev's father. Despite the serious topic, it made me smile.
asakiyume
Sep. 8th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
Smiles are almost always good ^_^
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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