As you may have noticed, I referenced Lisa Scottoline’s recent Philadelphia Inquirer column, where she talked about her elderly dog Ruby. She further shared with us aficionados of her writings, stories about her dog Rosie. Rosie was an older dog she lived with prior to Ruby, the incontinent Corgi. She is an accomplished author, and I will leave it to her to express her sentiments, which are mine exactly, regarding what we do for the love of our pets, and what it means to love and support an elderly pet. Some might not get why she, and many of us, go to such lengths to support the needs of our older dogs and cats. I do, and I am hoping you will as well. And, true to form, she finds the humor in it. So, in her words, …
“Older dogs have special needs— and share a special bond” from Sunday, Feb. 19,2017.
There’s something special about an old dog.
No, I don’t mean me. How dare you.
I’m talking about Ruby, the crazy corgi, who is now 13 and using her little wheelie cart, since her back legs are paralyzed. This unfortunately means that she’s incontinent, so she wears a doggy diaper, but apart from that, she’s only gotten better as she’s gotten older.
For example, corgis are herding dogs, and in her younger days she would try to herd anything in sight, including the other dogs, since we didn’t have sheep. I know, believe me, I thought about it. It would be nice to have a few sheep.
They could live out back like little clouds with feet, and I could have real homemade wool sweaters. This was before I wore fleece constantly, so now I would need them to grow polyester. In any event, Ruby has learned to stop herding things, since with old age comes the wisdom that we need not live in constant fear. Of course, she doesn’t watch the news. Lately, I don’t either.
Anyway, Ruby isn’t the only old dog I’ve had, since I had a toy poodle named Rosie who lived until the age of 16, though for the last five years of her life she was completely blind.
You might be saying aww-ww, but you should be saying, that rocks! Because the blind years of Rosie’s life were her best.
Like Ruby, Rosie had less and less to be worried about, since she couldn’t see an of the bad things that she used to see earlier. She settled into a nice comfy contentment, and, at the same time, was able to navigate the house with ease, knowing where everything was. The only problem was when I had to take her outside, and even that she turned to an advantage. Those were the days when I didn’t have a fence in the backyard, so if I put the dogs out, I had to walk them around on a leash.
I did that for 15 years.
Tell me who the blind one is, am I right?
In any event, I never had to walk Rosie because as soon as she went blind, when she got out in the backyard, she would walk only in a small circle. This turned out to be the best thing in the world for me, because I never had to walk her, and, or her, because she got a ton of exercise. She would just make circles all around the lawn whatever the weather, and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen yellow circles in your snow.
It was artistic.
You would’ve thought this dog had a protractor.. Some days it looked like the Olympics rings, only one color.
The thing about Rosie in her dotage was that if I left a room, she wouldn’t know it so she had to be picked up and carried from room to room. This isn’t as much of a pain as it sounds. First off, she weighted only six pounds.
Extremely possible. I got completely used to picking up something before I left the room, which was excellent practice for the cellphones that would come much later. I swear, part of the reason I never leave my phone anywhere is because Rosie trained me.
We both know that our dogs train us and not vice versa, don’t we? We do all sorts of tricks for our dogs. Tricks that we never thought we could do, or would ever want to. Like diapering a dog.
Believe me, if you asked me if I would ever put a diaper on a dog I would’ve laughed. But now, quite seriously, I’m noticing that more and more she’s having a hard time getting around with her front legs in her wheelchair, and I’m facing the notion that Ruby’s front legs weight become paralyzed, too.
Which would leave her with no mobility. The vet warned me about this a year ago, and I said to myself, if that happens, I might have to make a tough decision.
But that was then, and this is now. Because now I don’t see any problem at all. She’s otherwise happy and healthy and smarter than ever.
And I’m starting go Google cars for quadriplegic dogs. Or I can just push her in her cart. Or carry her from room to room.
Because the thing about a dog is, they never give up on you.
If I had to be carried from room to room, Ruby would carry me.
Rosie would have, too.
If you have a dog, you know that is exactly true.
And do Ruby has taught me one final trick. What are the limits of love?
There aren’t any.
It’s a trick question.
I can especially relate, as I had a blind dog. She was too large to carry, so as a result, I DO leave my cell phone behind, in people’s cars (like I did today), and I typically have it on mute, which is a big problem. Plus, I love Corgis.
I sure hope it’s ok with her that I keep reprinting her writings. I may have to write her and explain myself. In the event that it isn’t, which I doubt, make sure you go and read more of her writings. That is, if you enjoyed to, or related to this article. And, I surely hope you did.