We may be running senior citizen home for dogs

Ours has become a senior citizen home with the realization of the mortality of our youngest pup.

None of us are spring chickens but she’s the youngest, even figuring in dog years. If she’s about 8 that would make her 56, but she’s a very rotund 56 — more rotund than even her daddy who has her beat by about seven years.

She’s had a cough off and on for a good while. We treated it once with antibiotics and it seemed to get a little better but it would come back, then get better from time to time.

She eventually started coughing a lot and became lethargic.

After an exam, the news from the vet was that she had a heart condition with a lot of fluid around her heart. We immediately got her on lasix and after a week the x-rays showed a big improvement. We also added a heart medicine and we were told she would probably be on the meds for the rest of her life. A prospect that I knew would present a challenge.

She’s always been a food hog, I’ve even called her my little pig for the way she hoarded food and grunted when she was eating. So at least I had a chance of getting the pills inside her. Cheese balls worked well for a while but before long she figured out the pills were inside and she wouldn’t touch a cheese ball with or without a pill. I tried other things and pork loin slices worked well until I ran out. Finally we settled on bologna.

Yeah I know, bologna and a heart patient don’t sound like a good mix but you do what it takes. She loves that bologna so much that she dances with joy and barks when it comes out of the refrigerator. A 56-year-old dancing heart patient can’t be a bad thing, right?

She’s definitely on fewer drugs than my wife or I, so that’s a good thing. The bad thing is her Medicare benefits haven’t kicked in yet and doggie heart pills are pricey.

It’s her much older, larger breed brother that amazes. He is 14 in real years and by my calculation that translates to 98 in dog years. He takes no medicine and doesn’t have accidents in the house. He has trouble getting up off the floor but he always makes it up. For quite some time he hasn’t jumped into my lap or onto his beloved couch.

The old dog also amazes us all because of the way he still loves being outside. It doesn’t really make a difference to him. He knows where to lay in his yard for the best shade or shelter and he comes in to lay in the hall every night until we all go to sleep, then he moves to the dog bed behind my chair.

If it sounds like we’re running a nursing home I guess you’d be right.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]

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