Friday, September 29, 2023

How I knew my dog was getting old – part two

A couple years after the onset of arthritis, came the shrill barking.  I’m unsure when exactly it began, but Charly became louder and louder to alert us to things outside, such as other dogs.  This barking would not stop after we acknowledged her warnings, or when we told her, “No bark” – our usual command.  It seemed that her personality was changing as well – she developed a blatant disregard for direction.  She would ignore us.  And, to top it off, around this time, we gained chickens as neighbours.  


Charly had a frenemy who lived across the street.  It was a very small fluffy dog that would run to the edge of its fenced yard so it could see our living room window and balcony, and thus, sometimes see Charly.  Charly would look out the window or be on the balcony, and the two would bark at each other.  Then, the frenemy’s owner started raising chickens that were housed in a coop right at the edge of the fenced yard in view of our balcony and living room window.  (And yes, we were living in the city, and no, it was not legal to raise chickens).  Needless to say, our dog is a bird dog and she loooooves chickens…to eat.  From my species-centric perspective, it seemed this frenetic barking was meant to alert us to the potential meal close by.  But, the barking was so acute.  At some point it finally dawned on us that Charly couldn’t hear herself.  She had significant hearing loss by that point, and was compensating by increasing the volume.  She couldn’t hear us or our verbal commands.


We took her to the vet, and there was not much to do for her ears, but he did prescribe an organic anti-anxiety medication.  That helped, as did my spouse lobbying the City to have the chicken coop removed.   So while Charly sadly began to lose her hearing, fortunately, we all would lose the chickens and gain some peace in our home.


Join us on October 6th for a special Thanksgiving post “Sunset on surfing”.

Friday, September 22, 2023

How I knew my dog was getting old – part one

“Getting old” really depends on the dog.  For Charly, the onset of age came when she developed “lumps” on  her back near her behind.  She had been slowing down…she was just not her energetic rambunctious self.  Of course, it had to be cancer – I knew it!  “It’s not cancer,” our vet said calmly.  Of course,  she was going to die within days!  “She’s not going to die anytime soon,” our vet said evenly, “It is arthritis in her hips and this area is swollen.”  With a daily dose of anti-inflammatory medication (now a monthly shot instead), Charly was back to her regular self.  But, running had to end.  Suddenly my runs were very lonely.  Walks were not to be as long.  She didn’t understand why – she wanted to go longer (so did I) but she shouldn’t.Her lifestyle…our lifestyle together…started to change.  Charly was starting to get old.  In dog years, she was apparently older than me.  This had never been the case before….

Friday, September 15, 2023

Meet my old dog

 Charly is an English Springer Spaniel.  She excels at sleeping, snuggling, receiving belly rubs, and barking at squirrels (her arthritis now prevents her from chasing them).  She scores an A+ for eating, and has mastered the art of conning us into believing she has not yet been fed breakfast.  She looooooves people as much as food, especially kids. 

Charly came into my life when she was 11 weeks, and today she is 13 years old.  Her birthday cake will be the usual stack of mini pancakes with peanut butter in between and maybe her favourite type of grass on top.  There will be a candle and singing which she won’t hear because she’s now completely deaf.  Then, she will savour the treat – and yes, she chews her food.  It’s a “treat” because she’s on special food to dissolve crystals in her bladder, so there have been no pancakes for her for a few months.  My family and I did not think Charly would make it to 13…she has gotten very sick a few times over the last four to five years and I read that the life span for Springers is about 10 to 14 years.  It’s twilight for her.  She’s my first dog, and this twilight is new to me…bringing many moments of pain, frustration, heartache, and laughter that surprise me and are worth sharing.


Join us on September 22nd for “How I knew my dog was getting old”.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Launching soon!

 Join us on Friday September 15, 2023 for the introduction to Old Dog Blog...a collection of experiences about living with an aging dog.

Practically perfect…even at Hallowe’en

Let’s ponder OldDogBlogs “Practically perfect” from March 13, 2024 and “Brazen” from December 8, 2023.   Essentially, let’s just add them to...