My old boy

A lot has happened since September when I posted about Fletcher’s health problems. I’ve been back and read it through again and it’s made me realise just how old he has got over these four short months, but months we were not expecting us to be with us for. He’s still plodding on (quite literally) but now he’s 11, which I don’t think is actually that old for a greyhound- Gwen is a lunatic and she’s nearly 9- but he acts a lot older the way he is now.

He can no longer jump into the car boot, he doesn’t run, he barely walks, and turns back home at the nearest opportunity or freezes up on the spot. He just has no energy it would seem. His skin is pale and his gums are nearly white which are key signs of anaemia which makes a lot of sense. He’s getting so skinny that his diet is almost entirely meat based now as he has no interest in dry food any more. He still sits and gives his paw but he can’t hold it for as long and he no longer has the dangerous enthusiasm in his high fives. I miss that. He’s not chased anything since that day before the vet’s prognosis and I barely have him on lead anymore (that same wild creature that I used to have to chase for miles if he got loose just a year or so ago), he just plods along behind like an old man. If he gets unwanted attention from other dogs, Gwen has to step up and defend him as he just can’t be bothered. Don’t worry, she loves it. I’ve just realised he doesn’t sleep on his back anymore either.

And still… he’s social (when he’s not sleeping), he still sits with me while I sew, all his senses are fully operational and he hasn’t had an accident in the house for weeks (unlike a certain dog…) and he’s only passed blood on maybe 10 occasions in total since September. He wags his tail whenever he overhears his name. He’s responsive and springs out of his bed to go in the garden or when he hears food being prepared. He’s taking Metacam which seems to be making things a bit easier for him to do. Oh and he LOVES cuddles still, and being top dog.

So things don’t seem bad enough yet for the inevitable last trip to the vets, he’s just tired and a bit old beyond his years, but is that enough that he’s no longer enjoying his life? When is the right time to let go?

Also on an unrelated matter, who is definitely going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat this year? Can I tag along with you? I think I can possibly afford to go (both money and time) however most people I knew from last year aren’t going for financial/new offspring/ bad timing reasons and I may feel like I don’t know anyone all over again and have to start fresh!

16 Comments

  1. Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Oh I feel for you, it’s so hard isn’t it? My 14 year old Princess Daisy just nearly drowned in her water bowl as she fell over while eating! She is getting so old but just is not there yet. I think that when it’s time she will tell me.
    Don’t think I will be going to the FQR as money continues to be a major issue for us this year :(
    Hoping the year start to look up for all.
    Cheers
    Lush

  2. Rosanne Derrett
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I too have an oldie – my darling Phoebe turned 10 at the end of November. She is slowing down a lot but she is still a good age for a Shar Pei and overall she is in good health. She plods along beside or behind me while we both toddle along slowly. I got diagnosed with arthritis in August so we are a right pair. I know she hasn’t got forever but while she still wants to chase cats and eat passing men, she is still fine.

    I am going to FQR as my 50th treat. I’ve got to do something!

    Rosanne

  3. Rose Smith
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I really feel for you Kerry. I had to take my beloved dog Smudge for her last trip to the vets in 2008, she bravely fought cancer.
    You know Fletcher, and you’ll know when the time has come to take that trip. Sounds like he’s doing pretty well at the moment though.

    Wish I could go to fqr, sounds fab. But would work out too expensive for me. Have fun!

  4. Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    It’s a tough decision, one i don’t envy you! x

  5. Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Poor Fletcher. I remember when our family dog got taken to the vets – my Dad phoned to tell me the news and said that Eddie (the dog!) had just looked at him with ‘I’ve had enough now’ eyes. So hard to know :( And on FQR I’m really really hoping to go – can’t afford the ticket this month but hoping to okay it all next month with Mr f&f so if I do, you’ll know someone!

  6. Catrin
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Poor Fletch. I think that you will know when the time has come, he’ll tell you in his own way. In the meantime just enjoy all the cuddles and quiet company whilst you sew.

    I’m buying my FQR ticket with tomorrow’s pay packet. I’ve not been before and only really met Trudi irl (and I’m guessing she’ll be busy) so you can take me under your wing if you like ;0)

  7. Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh Kerry I do feel for you. I think when it’s time he’ll let you know.

    FQR- would love to go if I had the funds… i might nearer the time but if not I’m saving for FOQ.

  8. Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Oaft! I thought this was THE post. Phew. I think as long as he’s getting some pleasures in his day and isn’t in any big pain then it’s not a bad life! Like everyone else says, you just know when it’s time and he’s had enough.

    No FQR for me – far too much money for what it is from up here and I am slightly antisocial to boot! *g*

  9. Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    My heart is aching with you. I have a sweet old girl & I too hope that I will know when the time is right. She still struggles to her feet if anyone goes to the kitchen. She loves to lean on me while I sew. She’s on pain medication for arthritis and, for now, she seems content to sleep and eat and get loved on.

    Thanks for sharing pictures. You and your pups are in my thoughts.

  10. Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Aw Kerry, such a sad post. Poor Fletcher, it doesn’t sound as though he’s quite had enough yet, I’m sure you’ll know when. And then followed by thinking you’ll be on your lonesome for FQR …I might just have to send you some chocolate to cheer you up xxx

  11. Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Poor old Fletch. I think that if he isn’t in pain then work around his needs and capabilities. It is hard to see our pets get old.

    I am going to the FQR so you will know me!
    Di x

  12. Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Phew, I’m with Lynz, I was fearing it was *the* post as well! As long as he’s not suffering, and he’s happily plodding along, enjoy your time together :)

  13. Jeannie D in TN
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    My Newfie/Lab mix boy, Sammy is also 11 (12 in April!) He is also on Metacam for arthritis (had both hips replaced at 6 mos.) I too have seen a huge slowdown…can’t come up the stairs, falls down occasionally. I think he has another year or two but who knows? Only he does for sure. I had another dog who was 14 when we put her down. In hindsight, I should have put her down way before I did, but just could not. I asked my Vet to please give me advice on this as we had just put down our 15 yr old cat. He said the best advice he got was from his Mentor in vet school; ” When you stop doing things FOR them and start doing things TO them,it’s time to let go”. Fortunately, if you’re tuned in to your pet, and you seem like you are, I think you will know when the time comes as difficult as that may be. He looks like such a sweetie…best of luck!

  14. Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I am so glad that he is still happy with you. I think that you will know the day when you see it. I am definitely going to the retreat and will be buying airline tickets and such soon. I would love to spend time with you there.

  15. Posted January 25, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Like so many others above have said, you know him best and as long as his discomfort is managed and he has a quality of life then it’s great that you can continue to share each others company.
    FQR = Being up north compared to many other quilters who can meet up more regularly I’ve actually experienced being snobbed when I approached people to join in bees and swaps (not you though); coupled with the fact that there is no guarantee to get into a particular workshop I’ve decided that I don’t want to risk a lot of money (for me) on what could end up being more stressfull than enjoyable. I’d rather meet up with bloggy friends at Festival of Quilts this year.

  16. Patti
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Ah, sweet Fletcher. The love we get from our pets is endless and unconditional, which makes it so hard when decisions have to be made. As others have said, you both will know when the time has come. Love and prayers to all of you.

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