Tonight, I was sitting on the couch watching my old dog Jack work his way up the flight of stairs. Jack is getting on in years, and he takes each step carefully and painfully. I have taken him to the vet and she said that he's doing well health-wise in all other ways, except for a laryngeal reflex that makes him make a gagging noise periodically during the day. It is like having a permanent tickle in your throat and constantly feeling the need to clear it.
Gonzo is often a three-legged dog. He goes out and runs and runs and runs like a maniac, and then for a week he can't put any pressure on his back right leg.
The vet said he's getting arthritic, and I haven't yet asked her for a prescription for pain medication for him, but his next well-doggie checkup is in February and I think I will get him on something. She'll do x-rays to confirm... but I know it will help him greatly the way it did Kinger when he started getting on in years.
But I sit here wondering as I watch both of them frolic in the snow, if I'm going to see the end of 2013 with them. It is my goal to see them through the year. It isn't like you have a puppy and you know you'll have YEARS with that dog. I'm not at all concerned about Brodie and her health... but these two old men? These two old boys who have grown up together... I wonder if they'll last this year.
I am completely in love with Jack. I've owned several dogs in my life... Missy, Kinger, Jack, Gonzo and Brodie... and Jack is by far my sweet love, my best friend. There is no better dog.
It breaks my heart thinking about him getting on in years and struggling with these stairs. Both dogs have taken tumbles down the stairs in the past few months. Gonzo especially has a hard time getting up stairs and there is nothing more horrifying than being in bed at 2am and hearing a 70 pound dog fall down a flight of stairs. We have a nightly ritual, where I help them go up to our room, one at a time.
I know that all dogs die. We've lost two since I've had this blog. I'm not relishing the loss of the third, possibly fourth, during this next year.
In the meantime, check out this before and after pic of Jack. I took him in to get groomed and his hair was so matted (yeah, I suck at brushing him) they shaved him. He looks naked. I should get some other pictures of him outside playing while he's still "naked."