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State of The Dog

The state of my own personal nation. The Nation of Dog. Just because I am currently not a good blogger, doesn’t mean the world of dog – old dogs, lazy dogs, bad dogs – doesn’t continue to turn. It does. They do. My dogs.

An intently interested boy dog, who turns out not to be the subject of this post. So he gets the photo credit.

You deserve an update, but its not that exciting. Primarily, we are maintaining the status quo. Holistic vets, raw food, plus some updated spending. There are still dogs to walk, dogs to clean up after, dogs to snuggle, and Pugs to tell “No! Cut that out!”. Singular Pug. He’s plenty. And before my very eyes they are slipping. Ever so slightly. All my best efforts and I’m powerless against it. I chalk it up to short days, cold weather and more napping. That’s part of it. But we’ve also entered this phase. Things aren’t going to get better. My senior dog worries continue to compound. More than half the pack (including Ford) is over 11, with a mixed genetic bag that isn’t doing them any favors. There’s not much I can do about any of it.

The highlights?

Involuntary pooping. As in, we walk, we poop, we wonder where it comes from. Especially in circumstances where we get excited, like say, when we have visitors. Do you see the recipe for disaster here? This is limited to the girl dogs, actually 2 of 3 so far. I’m not naming names to protect their dignity. New acupuncture points have been added to help address failing sphincters. It might be helping. My life = glamourous.

Extended trips to the yard. Because we can no longer hear/see that we are being called in. This is going really well with daylight savings time (dark at 4:30pm) and the rainy season. An elaborate system of flashlight signaling has been set up. Its like our version of flashlight tag, combined with a healthy dose of get-the-hell-in-here. Still more than one soggy, cold trip has been taken to fetch Old Girl #1 or #2 from the depths of the yard where she has become completely engrossed in some smell or weed or (more likely) chicken poop.

New supplements. Always a moving target. More and more senility and mobility problems are creeping in. Hello, Ginkgo! We are ramping up the glucosamine, and changing its format to maximize absorption (hopefully). Still managing to avoid most prescription meds, which makes me happy. My receipts at the supplement store make me less so.

I realize as I write, this is the girls. Only the girls. For now. State of the spayed female nation. Thank goodness. It’s been a rapid progression though. At least from where I stand with the dog treats. Makes me watchful of the boys. (Minus the pug, who is still blissfully young and scrappy.) And it’s changing my mindset about my dogs. How long will this go on? Years? I certainly hope so, for my sake. Is that selfish? What do I hope for them? Less rapid progression, that’s for sure. Can we slow this train down? Will I be able to offer all the comfort they need? Am I just waiting for the other shoe to drop? Can I keep them comfortable? (I ask again.) Then I am amazed with how the hell we got here. So fast. If 12+ years can be fast. All this time, and still there are new waters to navigate. Even for me. With my vast dog experience. (snerk). I’ve had lots of old dogs in and out of this house. Somehow, these dogs are different. Bittersweet comes to mind. I’m happy we’re here together. I know we are in for a bumpy ride.

There is no useful information in this post. Only questions, doubts, and poop on the floor. Maybe some sarcasm. Our life now seems less about training, nutrition, and even management, than it is about spending time together. Comfortable time together. Enjoying the company of dogs. Maybe that’s all its ever really about.

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Katie B.

I remember the days when the dog, Buster, I grew up with started to go down hill/slip/get older or whatever you want to call it, its sad either way. I did find it was a good phase to be able to give back that care and attention he had been giving me for so long (got him when i was 2, put him to sleep when i was a senior in High School). Yes we took good care of him but in those last few years I think you reach an understanding of the impact you both have had on each others lives and can really appreciate the great times you had together. It is a hard road either way but at least they have someone who would do anything for them on their side.


I love the idea of an understanding between us. Its true and this point, we take a lot of our relationship for granted. Hence the lack of training and management. We all kind of know our roles, even if senility gets the best of us, some of us. Honestly in some ways, I’ve always looked forward to the lower maintenance senior pack. Now that its here though, I’m not pleased with some of the baggage, but we’ll deal.

Miser Mom

Hmm, this game of flashlight tag you play, it reminds me that I wanted to ask you your opinion of dog doors and dog runs. I grew up with a hole-in-the-wall (covered with a rubber flap) down in the basement, leading to a fenced-in dog-dominated kingdom. As such, dog walks were for pleasure only, never for purposes of pooping. We never had to do flashlight signalling, either. Is this something you actively decided against, something you just haven’t gotten around to, something other?


Actually, yes, we’ve always been anti-dog door. Mostly because of the level of dog we’ve had. I’ve always been a big fan of monitoring the dogs while outside to prevent excessive barking (and neighbor annoyance). If I’m there, they are a) less likely to bark and b) it’ll be cut short when I’m calling them in. Also in rainy for 9 months out of the year Seattle, we often do the paw wipe dance upon house re-entry. I think dog door can work, and are wonderful things in some situations, especially with senior dogs, in fact. I’ve just never wanted to incorporate it into our setup.


I think it’s great that you’ve been able to keep the girls off of prescriptions and still ease their aches. Unfortunately, as we all age (even the animals) we lose the ability to control our poop. My dad’s standard poodle, who is easily the smartest dog I’ve ever spent time with, is aging and losing his hearing. When you call his name now, he kind of looks at you like he’s not sure what he heard… and what exactly that means anyway. It’s kind of endearing, but still a little sad. He’s had a history of ear infections, so it was bound to happen eventually. Just like our grandparents, and even parents, it’s hard to watch our loved ones age because we have no control. The best we can do is be happy they lived to get to aging.


I think I am familiar with the “What did you say” confused expression, as well as dogs with a history of ear infections. I’m pretty sure that’s Winnabelle’s problem. She was always the stoic dog, so it was harder to know what was going on with her and if she had an infection, so they sat longer. Now we are all paying the consequences. Except for her. I think she is blissfully unaware of my grumbling curses when I’m splish splashing through the yard, avoiding landmines to get her inside. :)

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