Saturday, April 27, 2024

My young dog


Sometimes, I miss my young Charly.  I miss her playful energy – taking a crouching stance in front of me inviting me to chase her.  I miss her game of tug of war with my pyjama pant leg as I’m walking, or with the sock I’m trying to put on.  I miss her fluid movements, and her flexibility.  I miss her muscled body.  I miss her black fur.  I miss communicating with her with words rather than signs and gestures.  More than anything, I miss running with her.  So much.

My head tells me that I shouldn’t miss these things – Charly is old and I should surely understand that…be grateful how loving she is…appreciate what she still can do, and who she is.  But, my heart can’t help it.  My puppy is gone.  My young dog is gone.  My middle-aged dog is gone.  I truly love my old dog…sometimes precisely because she is an old dog and is calmer and slower.  But the realization that I’ll never experience the past again; that I’ll never experience that Charly again, has only just sunk in.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Only dog in the universe

  In her first few years of life, Charly used to go to dog care, and play with other dogs in the off-leash park.  Her favourite game was chase; she didn’t like wrestling or fetching balls and sticks.  She and I lived in the downtown core of a city in her puppy days, and she became accustomed to all sorts of dogs, noises, and people.  Dogs downtown were aplenty – well-behaved dogs and badly behaved dogs.  Nips and aggressive acts by off-leash dogs towards Charly while she was on leash were not irregular.  She tolerated and submitted to that behaviour as a puppy and young dog.  Until she didn’t.

By around age five, Charly seemed to have had enough.  She would see another dog, and her tail would wag.  It seemed as though we could pass or they could meet without incident.  But out of nowhere, Charly would change her mind – and bark harshly.  We enlisted the help of many trainers, used a halti, but this behaviour would not abate.  It increased in severity with age.  Fortunately, we moved into the suburbs shortly after this onset of developing aggression.  We could easily avoid other canine contact.


Now in her golden years, Charly completely dislikes dogs, and we avoid any contact.  If Charly even sees another dog on her walks or something that looks like a dog through her less than average vision, she barks very loudly – even though her deafness prevents her from hearing her own voice.  She has no body or bite to back up her bark…her muscles have atrophied and she has lost a couple teeth.  Regardless, she declares herself to be the only dog in the universe.  It’s hard to tell her otherwise.

Friday, April 12, 2024

"The Sleepster"

  As with groomers, finding dog-sitters to care for Charly as a senior dog also became a challenge – especially when nighttime incontinence began.  So, for our first trip post-pandemic, Charly flew with us to see my parents.  She had always been a good traveller…provided there was some sedation.  But, on that last trip, she did not recover well.  It was apparent that less travelling was better for her.  The hunt for a senior dog-sitter resumed.  

I used a popular website, but was turned down repeatedly by everyone we contacted.  Then, finally, one couple said, “Yes”…even with full disclosure!  And, once they met Charly, and cared for her for a few days, they thought she was wonderful.  Although she required medication regularly, and was at risk of having a pee accident, she was sweet.  She was happy.  She ate.  She was loving.  She walked slowly.  She walked only short distances.  She didn’t bark inside.  She could be left alone.  She could travel in a car.  She didn’t chew or destroy.  She ignores cats.  And, she slept like none other.  The new sitters nicknamed her “the Sleepster”, and it seemed that she provided them some downtime in what otherwise must be an adventurous and demanding side-hustle.  


Slowly, after a few bookings with the new sitters, Charly’s ratings on the website seemed to increase or something.  When the new sitters were not available for our next family holiday, I cringed as I sent out request upon request for a sitter-out-of-our-house.  But everyone replied…quickly.  And everyone said, “Yes.”  Charly, the Sleepster, is a gem!

Friday, April 5, 2024

For Thomas


 Thomas was an old dog owned by workmate and my friend.  He was the inspiration for this blog (with Charly).  My workmate and I would discuss our daily tasks, and then end up sharing the latest story with each other about an old dog event recently experienced…the highs and the lows, the moments of sickness and periods of recovery.  “We should write this down,” I would say to her.  

Thomas was a well-groomed poodle with fur in a pretty shade of brown, but it wasn’t his looks that made you love him.  Thomas was sweet.  He was well-behaved.  He was a perfect role-model for his younger siblings (including his rather large feline brother).  He was the kind of dog that you meet and then say to yourself, “Oh, Iwant a Thomas!”  He put “poodle” on my list of dogs-to-consider-owning-in-the-future.


Old dog Thomas had arthritis, he was blind, he was more than frequently incontinent, and he had developing dementia.  These things happened slowly over the years, and Thomas still loved life…he happily wore his non-slip booties to assist his mobility and avoid “Bambi on ice” moments.  He eagerly attended Thanksgiving celebrations at friends’ even though his bladder emptied on the kitchen floor during dinner.  Thomas was a very amiable, loving old dog.  Very recently, his body just deteriorated to a point of no return, and my friend had to say good-bye to her furry family member…treasuring memories rather than real-life moments.  She keeps his ashes close – the last part of her invisible string with Thomas.

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...