Life With an Old Dog.


As long time readers of these ramblings are aware, I lost one of my two dogs last year. Fergie died in her 14th year of congestive heart failure, a sad time which I chronicled last August in the previous incarnation of both Mermaids and Liquid Diet, my beer blog (the link takes you to the latter). Periodically I get inquires about how her sister, Di, is doing. Fergie & Di, get it? Much funnier way back when.

She’s doing surprisingly well. For a dog who had cruciate ligament surgery in 2005 (recounted here) and never has regained much strength in her other leg, which atrophied during her lengthy recovery period), who has some degree of blindness and deafness (it’s really not clear how much she can see or hear), who manifests signs of doggie Alzheimer’s now and again as she wanders around looking for something she cannot find or walks herself into a corner and is unable to puzzle it all out, she soldiers along.

At age 15, Di doesn’t do a helluva lot, understand. A good portion of the day is spent sleeping, wandering out only to be let outside to relieve herself. She likes to snuffle and snort around on the hill outside our back door a bit if I’ll let her, but will come back up to the door at the sound of two sharp claps of my hand. After she awakens late afternoon for her one big meal of the day (dry “senior” kibble, rice and hamburger), she tends to stay here in the office/living room with me for four or five hours rather than retiring to her bed. She makes it a point to place herself in positions which force me to awkwardly climb over her to the couch or onto my desk chair, accomplishments which would have made her sister proud and which she never manifested while Fergie was still around to do the deed.

She’s someone to talk to, even though it’s never clear whether she hears or cares (somewhat like I imagine communication being between long married couples), and a presence in the apartment when I come home. Those are important things, trust me. I realized as I’ve been sitting here writing this that there are no more than two people alive today, probably only one, who have lived under the same roof with me as long as has Di. In fact, aside from my immediate family, all of them gone now, no one else ever has.

She seems healthy enough for an old dog, some days better than others. The leg is her big issue and likely the issue that will eventually bring her down. It gives out on her now and then, generally first thing in the morning while she’s still getting her footing or at the end of the day due to, I assume, tiredness. Aside from that weakness, she strikes me as amazingly strong. When I have to hold her still to clean her eyes and ears, two body parts which generate an astonishing amount of icky stuff, she fights me every inch of the way, and has come close to toppling me over from my squatting position a couple of times.

She’s old. Me too. We get by. Thanks for asking.

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