Thursday, December 3, 2009

Buck

There have been more and more signs that my dog is getting old. He's having a lot of trouble with stairs, especially in the morning, or at the end of the day. I'm pretty good. At the sound of his toenails on the stairs, I am up and headed down them. I usually manage to catch him still at the bottom of them, and he can turn around and come back down. It's important, because sometimes, he struggles to the top of the stairs, and then cannot get back down. Sometimes he falls. He's getting old, and I know this.

This morning, I heard him, and leapt from the bed, grabbing for my robe. I hit the hall whispering to him to stop, to go back down. Buck stood there with an odd look in his eyes, unmoving. "Oh," I thought. "He's afraid to move for fear his rear will give out on him and he will fall." This has happened before, and it is bad news, because then he has to be carried, and he is not a small dog. To make matters worse, being carried on stairs frightens him, and he is afraid of being dropped so he struggles. But as I got close, I heard a peculiar sound. My Buck had lost control of his bladder and stood there mortified peeing on the stairs, staring at me, afraid that he was now 'a bad dog'. Calling him 'bad dog' is the worst thing you can do to this good dog, and he takes the criticism to heart. The shame in his eyes cut me to the quick.

Finally, the peeing stopped, and he slunk back down the stairs, and stood quietly at the door. I let him out and he went, not looking at me. He has been a very good dog all these many years, and he doesn't understand that I will not insult him now, when he is old and can't help it.

It will be delayed as long as possible, but what happens next will break my heart.

17 comments:

Caroline said...

I am so sorry. We are watching our cat decline as well. He is 15 and been with my husband for 8 years. He has diabetes, is probably blind in one eye, and neuropathy in his back legs so he has mobility problems. I know the time will come when his quality of life will decline to a level where the inevitable will be necessary. I am hoping to prolong it as long as possible as well.

BUSH BABE said...

Oh dear Deb... you know that I know exactly how you feel. The Lord beat me to the punch with Cosmo, but I had to decide with my darling old mare Eve. Both options suck. But they are better than watching them suffer.

Love him well.
Hugs
BB

Tammy said...

Same here. Stairs are rough on my old 70 pound springer spaniel & I can't help her either -- can only walk with her and help her if she stumbles. She used to follow me up and down the stairs. If I am just going up briefly, I'll tell her to "stay" so she doesn't try it when she doesn't have to.

Just visited the vet about some incontinance issues. He prescribed a drug that will help with that. It has been pretty infrequent with her, so am holding off for now, but will use it if it becomes more of a problem.

It breaks my heart as her eyes are less clear and her hearing is obviously going. Their time with us is so short.

Mrs. Spit said...

I'm sorry. Do check with your vet, he may have a bladder infection, and that might be why he's peeing.

It's hard to say goodbye to our friends.

WhiteStone said...

Our dog Misty spent her later years living with my Mom while we lived 1800 miles away. We were visiting Mom one summer and were saying our goodbyes. Misty looked me straight in the eye and began "talking" to me, going on and on and not stopping. She had never done this before. I looked her straight back, stroking her head and ears, and told her that she had indeed been a good dog. It broke my heart to tell her goodbye that day. A month later Mom called to say Misty had lain down in the yard one day and died. I think she knew she was dying. And she was saying her "goodbye". Maybe she was saying "Take me with you," and that breaks my heart even more to think about that. I hope dogs go to heaven and I hope to see Misty again.

Mary Paddock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Paddock said...

Hugs Debby. It's not easy.

A trip to the vet may be in order. It's possible he's got a bladder infection or it may be senility. There are meds the can help with both. In the meantime I cannot recommend increased belly scratches and cuddles highly enough. If he's up to it, more walks, and extra bones.

I've reported more than once on the declining health of my German Shepherd, Solomon. I'm dealing with his occasional loss of bowel control as well as weakening limbs and occasional odd behaviors (Dogs get Sundowner's too). He is such an old dear and is so fastidious, I've gone out of my way to ease his embarrassment. We are spending extra time together doing the things he enjoys and no one is sparing the "Good dog"s.

Daria said...

Oh so sad ...

Kelly said...

This breaks my heart (you KNOW how I am about dogs!).

Good comments, too.... so get him checked at the vet in case it's an issue that can be address medically. Otherwise, just keep on loving him!!!

Lori said...

Poor baby! I had to cry at this.

jeanie said...

Oh Deb - why can't they remain forever young?

Mikey said...

OH Deb, I'm so sorry. What a hard time for Buck. I'm so glad you're there for him and understand how he feels. Poor old man. It's hell to get old... and what's coming next is the hardest part. Hugs coming your way girl. We love you and all your family. Give that old man a hug from all of us in bloggerland and some table scraps :)

Anonymous said...

Oh Debby I am so sorry to hear this news about Buck, brought tears to my eyes. I know how you feel i lost 3 dogs in 8 weeks last year, two on the same day I had to have put down , the other one died here at home day before Mothers day. It is so hard to lose those friends who love us unconditionally and think we are the greatest but they put theri trust in us to do whats best for them and sometimes that is helping them to be free of pain and disabilities when they dont enjoy life anymore.Its the last thing we can do for them out of kindness, love them enough to let them go humanely. God Bless, Debbie L.

A Novel Woman said...

I'm so sorry. It's the price we pay when we bring them into our lives, I guess but it sure isn't easy, is it? (sigh)

PaintedPromise said...

oh Deb i can hardly see my keyboard through the tears... i know what Buck means to you! it's never easy, but you will know when it's right - just pay attention and he will tell you! sending big hugs your way and some really good scritches for dear Buck!!!

Bill of Wasilla said...

Has it been three years already? Since our Willow did the same thing? Since the day came when she was not only peeing, but pooping, wet and sloppy, and then falling in it?

Since we finally knew that we could wait no longer and so took her to the vet for the last time.

And now she lies among the trees at the back of our yard, alongside Thunder Paws, Little Clyde Texaco, Little Runt and Sherbert.

I feel for you - and admire the respect you show.

Anonymous said...

I agree so wholeheartedly with all the above Deb so nothing new to add really, except sending my sympathy and love at this time.
Buck knows you love him, and unfortunately their timelines are not ours. However the good thing is that you can ease things for him and you will know when the right time is. I wouldn't be without an animal even though I know there will be some sadness eventually.
But isn't that also a part of love? And the merciful parting we can organise is our last act of love for them. Enjoy him and the memories while you can - the memories last and recalling them is the best way of honouring our animal friends. At least he has managed a good span.

Love and hugs Barb