My Old Dog
My Old Dog
Lately, I have been reminded over and over again that my dog is getting older. Lilly will turn 10 years old on May 2nd. I am not ready. She is my oldest child and my first child.
Lilly is my first puppy as an adult and was the most incredible vet school graduation gift from my parents and my aunt and uncle. She was 8 weeks old when I went to pick her out. She was quietly playing with a stick minding her own business while the other eligible puppy jumped and greeted me at the gate. Our troubles began shortly after, but I never regret choosing her.
Lilly was born with an ectopic ureter. Just out of veterinary school, I could hardly believe it. It is a really rare congenital problem. You know, one of those problems you learn about in school but you are not suppose to see in practice, in “real life.” In a normal dog, there are two kidneys, each with their own tube (ureter) that runs down into the bladder. Then the bladder detects when it is full, sends a message to the brain which then tells the bladder, “release the pee.” For Lilly, only one of those tubes followed directions, the other, well, did whatever it wanted. It actually did not run into the bladder but went through the bladder, back out and emptied into the urethra. Basically, this bypassed the whole bladder thing. She had a few accidents where she peed without knowing and even on a few people who wanted to hold the adorable 8 week old puppy. (Sorry Linda!) This only happened a few times though. By the time we figured out what was going on, the tube shut itself off and shut down that kidney. My little 12 week old puppy had one of her kidneys removed.
It was touch and go with all the infections and problems she incurred. I was not sure she would make it, but she did. A few years ago we had another scare. She sneaked into a bag of dog food and tried to eat the entire 25lbs of it. She bloated, I rushed her in to surgery, cleaned out her stomach and tried to nurse her from home. Unfortunately, her kidney could not keep up and she had to be hospitalized at an emergency clinic. I thought we were going to lose her. Wrong again! She bounced back and is laying next to me snoring right now.
This week, I have seen several older dogs. Some owners are in the same denial phase I am in where I am just not ready for her to be “old.” Some owners know they do not have much time left and are just trying to do the best by their old guy or gal. All of it just breaks my heart. These dogs and cats spend such a large portion of our lives with us and have been through so many of our ups and downs with no judgement through any of it. They have been so faithful and we want to be faithful to them as they get older. They deserve it.
Hug your old guys and gals for me. They are the best!!