I love animals in general. I have 2 Himalayan cats, a pair of lovebirds, three cross-breed dogs, and eight Shih-Tzu dogs. But today, let me talk about my senior dog, and also our first dog. He is eleven years old now in human age. We bought him in a pet shop store accidentally when he was about two months old. We were supposed to buy the other puppy in the store, but he is so eager as if telling us that we should pick him. He is cute and adorable. He has brown and black spot color. That’s why we named him Spot.
He grew up big and smart. He was an active, healthy, and energetic dog, also so sweet and kind. He would go up in our terrace located on the second floor of our house to observe the passers-by and howl at them. He would also wait up there until we arrived in case we went out. He’s quite popular in our neighborhood because they were amazed at him.
When he was about ten years old, we noticed that he had difficulty climbing the stairs going up to the terrace. Then it became difficult for him to stand up. He is in pain. He eats less, and his movements became limited. I was saddened and worried. I requested a Vet to visit him and examined his condition. The result of the laboratory test is good. The only finding is he has arthritis. I can’t believe how come a once active dog would have arthritis? I started to research and read about his condition and came to know that it is indeed possible and can happen to senior dogs. To ease his pain and help with his mobility, the Vet gave him a supplement tablet for joints, and I’m also giving him a food supplement.
Now, Spot spends most of his time sleeping. Just like how senior and old humans used to spend their day. I still can feel his pain moving around. He eats well now, and he loves vegetables. I see to it that he is hydrated. To support this, I am using a syringe to help him drink water. Though he can’t go up anymore in our terrace, he finds comfort in going down to our backyard garden and spend a peaceful moment in our nipa hut. Then he will cry to notify me that he wanted to go up. I guess he is calling me, “Mommy! please help me to go up.” I will carry him then. Sometimes, I can see him staring up the stairs going to the second-floor terrace, and it breaks my heart. One of this day, I will carry him up, for him to see again, and feel what was once his territory. Even if Spot can hardly move, his alertness does not change. He still howls to the top of his lungs. He still guards us the way he used to. Nothings change the way he shows his love for us. I love all my dogs, and they are not just dogs. They are part of our family. I consider Spot as my eldest son.
I am sharing our story for you to realize that we should not leave and let our senior dogs alone. The love they gave us is unconditional. We should reciprocate that. They needed us more than ever now. Remember, there is no assurance of how long they will stay with us. We should take care of and make most of our time together. Treasure every moment with your older dog. I’m leaving you with this inspirational poem to ponder.
by: Riza Vizcarra