Senior Dog

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Ender & Adrian

We have two beagles. Ender is 15 and 1/2 (she’ll be 16 on 7/7) and has been by my side since she was three months old and I was cluelessly floundering through my early adulthood. Adrian just came to us in August and turned two on January 1st.

Our ladies have great personalities. Ender still thinks she is a puppy most of the time, and even after a walk, she can usually run circles around the rest of us. Adrian is the cuddliest dog I’ve ever known, she just constantly wants to be touched and petted. She’s still a puppy sometimes, but mostly she’s a well-behaved lady.

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Adrian

Not only do our ladies have wildly different personalities, they also have different needs. Adrian is easy… her food, her schedule, her quirks, they’re all pretty standard.

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Ender

Ender on the other hand, as she gets older, everything becomes more of a production. She has special, prescription food, so I have to make sure she’s eating that and not Adrian’s food or anything else that tastes better. She has a daily pill regiment (thank God for peanut butter). She has a very specific, every time she wakes and gets active bathroom schedule. And she’s getting older in her joints (arthritic knees), her eyes (cataracts), her ears (or maybe just progressive selective hearing), and her kidneys and bladder.

It was in November that Ender got diagnosed with failing kidneys. She’s been on prescription food and a weekly liquid IV regiment since. That was when I realized my baby was really a senior dog. Her cataracts I shrugged off, because she doesn’t let that slow her. Her knees I shrugged off, because she still jumps steps and curbs like a champ. Even the piddling problems, I feel awful doing it, but baby diapers were the best decision we could have made there. They barely faze her anymore.

But kidney problems. I know they’ll only get worse.

Ender & Adrian

Ender & Adrian

So when she starting shaking and panting and pacing and wanting to go out every ten minutes on Saturday afternoon, I started to worry. Saturday afternoon and all night she wanted to constantly go out. She didn’t sleep much and neither did I. Thankfully our vet in open seven days a week. I called them as soon as they opened at 8am. They couldn’t see her until 2:30pm. So I had all day to fret.

We took the ladies for a walk and in fifteen minutes, Ender peed eight or more times. The last few times were just blood.

The reasonable half of me said, “It’s just a bladder infection. We’ll get her checked out, get some antibiotics, and everything will be fine.” The mommy of a senior dog part of me whispered nefariously, “What if it’s something more serious with her kidneys?”

Ender & Adrian

Ender & Adrian

Every time I take Ender to the vet, I prepare myself for the worst.

Luckily, it was just an infection. She’s on antibiotics now, and she’s back to her feisty self.

Ender & Adrian

Ender & Adrian

But every vet trip is a new anxiety attack. One of these times it won’t be a bladder infection. It won’t be something we can fix with a pill regiment or some special food. One of these times it will permanently destroy the high quality of life I’ve worked so hard to maintain for her all these years.

I love my baby girl and she’s worth it, but this is what I’ve come to accept as the mommy of a senior dog.

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Ender

Adrian

Adrian

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6 thoughts on “Senior Dog

  1. Aw they are both adorable. I know what you mean though, my oldest is 13 now and has the cataracts but no other signs of his age … yet. *crosses fingers* He does enjoy having a younger pal around to keep him active though; I’m sure Adrian is good for Ender, too!

  2. You have two great dogs and I know what it’s like to be the parent of senior pets – it’s always a worry and concern that you won’t be able to keep them with you forever. Love them for time that they are with you though. Hope Ender has a few more years to go and that Adrian will be keeping you all busy for years to come. *hugs*

    • Thanks. Ender is a stubborn little girl and I think she’ll stick around for a while. Senior pets are hard, this is a position I’ve never been in before, but she is totally worth it.

      ~ Effy

  3. I know exactly how you feel. We lost our little girl in November to cancer and a week ago on a visit to the vet we found my boy has an inoperable tumor. The surgeon who saw him was very nice but a little puzzled by me. He kept saying but large labs DO NOT live to fourteen, he’s already beat the odds. Enjoy his last months, so we’re trying. Hopefully I’m not making things worse by feeding him all the things he loves.

    Hugs to you and you go Ender!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your puppies. Yes, spoil him lots! I have to keep my spoiling of Ender in check, because she’s not supposed to have too much protein or potassium because of her kidneys. So the ladies get canned and dry food mixed together most of the time, and every other week or so I whip together something just for them with lots of veggies, gravy, and some starchy thing we have one hand (rice, pasta, or potatoes). Ender’s eating well and she’s even put on some weight because of it (she’s never been more than 20 pounds but the vet said she could stand some weight and now she’s 25 pounds).

      ~ Effy

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