September 14, 2005

Alert: Selfish Petty Whining Ahead

I've avoided writing about Cosine recently. She seems to be in some sort of holding pattern, making it easier not to do any "hard" thinking about her. No, instead of thinking about her, I'm thinking about me. Hence the whine alert.

Her life has been reduced to sleeping, eating, peeing and shitting. Oh. And circling. She doesn't wag her tail anymore, but she does eagerly snap up treats when they are waved under her nose. She doesn't enjoy spending time outside yet she loves her chow. Her response to affection includes low groans as she tries to push her head into my leg. Or side. Or arm. It depends on where we are in relation to each other. I often wonder if her head hurts her.

Now to give you a glimpse of how ugly I really am: I'm starting to feel worn down by the level of care she requires and the impact it has on our lives.

First selfish petty whine: she sleeps in the middle of our king-sized bed. If she sleeps at the foot, where she has slept most of her life, she falls out of bed during the night. It is impossible to snuggle my girlfriend when there is a dog between us. Sleeping without snuggling sucks monkey butt (whatever that means).

The second selfish petty whine ties in with the first: she wakes up during the night and teeter-totters around on the bed, waking one or both of us up to steady her and ensure she doesn't fall. Then she wakes up at o'dark-thirty and gets restless, which means we get up early with her. I intensely dislike being rushed out of bed. Intensely.

Why don't we just let her sleep on the floor? Well. She's dangerous. We've old-stumbling-blind-dog-proofed the house as much as possible. Sometimes she gets stuck in corners and under things. It makes her unhappy. She lets us know. More importantly, she's always slept in the bed with us. It's familiar.

Yet another selfish petty whine: We make sure she has plenty of outside time to do her business. I come home at lunchtime if she didn't have a "productive" trip out in the morning. But here's the rub: that doesn't always ensure she is accident-free. While infrequent, they do happen.

Oh and when those accidents happen, they really happen. She circles. She steps in the mess and tracks it around in her circular pattern. Just imagine dog poop squished into all four furry feet and spread around the entire room in a disgustingly odiferous way. Yeah. Nothing like coming home to that, let me tell you. Figero's brand of accident is preferable. Really.

The last time I bathed her, I thought I'd killed her. Before I was done, she laid down in the shower and refused to stand up. I wrapped her in towels and settled her on her bed where she stayed, unmoving, for several hours. That's not a whine. That's a fact. It scared me.

Now that I've laid my selfish petty whines out in pretty words in pretty lines on the computer, I can put them in a big fat bubble and let them float off into the nether. I can remind myself of the joy she has brought, brings, our lives and focus on making her as comfortable as we can.

It's the least I can do.
Don't you agree?



Princess Wild Cow said...

My friends, Linda and Anne, had a very similar experience with their dog. First she developed diabetes and then started walking in circles and bumping into things and not being real care with her bathroom habits. They went through the same thing. We all do. If we let them own us, we owe them everything.

IndigoSunMoon said...

What you've described is almost exactly what we went through with our dog Kasey. She was 14, almost blind...had severe hip dysplasia, and pretty much had lost control of her bowel and bladder. We talked about putting her to sleep, but couldn't ever make the decision. She made the decision for us. I let her outside to pee on the night of July 4th of this year, and we never saw her alive again. She had never ever offered to leave the yard...but this night (I think with the assistance of our other dogs) she managed to make it a mile up the road from our house, and into the woods, and that's where she laid down and died. We didn't find her for 5 days. I wish with all my heart now that we had taken her and had her put to sleep. Thinking of her out there in the woods...laying down and dying just eats me alive.
God we miss her.

Anon Y. Mous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anon Y. Mous said...

I agree if that's what you think is best for you and Cosine.

We're more for pet euthanasia when the time of dying is near. We love our dogs but we don't think of them as humans or as 'fur babies', they're pets. We give them a good home. They live a great life and when the time comes, if they're going through an agonizing old age, we'll put them down.

That's a difficult thing to do and certainly not for everybody.

Perhaps you have to consider how long she can last in her 'holding pattern'. If she's eager to eat but not do anything else then she could be in her current state for another year maybe two, who knows.

That may be a life but it's certainly not living.

(I can't post here under my other account. It's just on your blog. Are you trying to tell me something?)

The Scarlet Pervygirl said...

Other than a loved person dying, there's not a whole lot in life that feels worse than a loved pet suffering or dying. It's miserable for you in every way possible. I'm sorry you're going through it. It *does* suck monkey butt.

That Girl said...

Big hugs for you and ear scratches for Cosine! FYI... I've never heard of this but our dog too recently developed the same behavior and is very old. We thought the end was near. After extensive tests, it turned out that a lot of the indiscriminate bladder purging and general air of malaise was due to bad teeth. A bunch of anitbiotics and some tooth removal and he's like new again. Only still old.
Either way, the last thing you should ever feel bad about is whining. Most intelligent people understand that being a caretaker is a huge investment of time and energy. Bitching is an easy way to de-stress and certainly, none of us mind or we wouldn't come back for more :).

CoffeeDog said...

I certainly recall the thoughts that ran thru my mind as my dog aged. I was sure tired of being put out by odd behaviors. It's ok to feel that way. Man... I sure do miss my pooch.

Eyes said...

I've been where you are, coming home at lunch to find that mess that sometimes appeared -- walked in circles. I know it well.

I know the blindness, the frustration, the falling off the bed.

I know the whole scene.

While it may be hard now, if you feel right and at peace with it when you aren't in the thick of the difficulties, stay true and follow your heart. It will guide you right.

I think you are doing the right thing -- and I think you have a heart of gold. A special heart!

Cosine is so lucky to have you -- as you were lucky to have her all those years as well :)