Time keeps passing and Brody keeps aging. And my heart breaks a little more with every “loss” we share. No more agility, no more field walks, no more driveway walks, no more downstairs, no more going upstairs on his own, no more trying to go upstairs at all by himself. His muscle mass is vanishing – the Arnold Shih Tzu Schwarzenegger is no more. He can’t see and we just finished fighting off an eye ulcer. I am so very grateful to be able to love him still and so very very sad for the inevitable loss heading our way.
He spins in circles and then falls over – reminding me a bit of Ibby at the end of his life when he came back to us.
He gets stuck with his head on the wall or his body under the table.
He starts to whimper and ends up howling his agony.
We can’t leave a pair of shoes out of place or a chair pulled out.
He still loves his meals, and cookies – but it’s just WEIRD to be in the kitchen without him. When he is asleep he is gone, completely checked out. When he is awake he is happy to have a little wander, a scritch or cuddle and then very quickly he crashes again.
He is back to HATING being groomed and fussed with. … backwards in time to his early early days.
Some nights he can’t settle and paces and whines and I end up dozing the night away on the couch with him on the floor. Other nights he passes out so hard in bed I wake up wondering why I can’t feel him lying against my legs and feel him breathing. Sleep is in short order around here.
I keep stopping and looking at him and wondering – hoping – despairing – that he will tell me enough is enough – it’s time to go. I have watched death too many times, and made this hard choice too many times and I still catch myself hoping he will fall asleep and not wake as unlikely and unrealistic as I know that is.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is one label the vets throw around with him (as well as renal failure, grade four heart murmur, and more), There are many excellent articles to check out on the topic and I include some of the ones that caught my attention for you.
symptoms list (reading through it Brody has 22 of the list to some degree or another – I am very grateful fear is not one of his symptoms)
What I have found helpful is structure in his days – routines are as routine as we can manage , pain management and touch (including TTOUCH work) and warmth are making the biggest day to day differences here. For a dog who hated clothes he is much more accepting this winter of a blanket or coat than he ever has been).
We don’t ever surprise him – a radio is on quietly all day and there are no sudden noises if we can help it ( a sudden noise sends him into a howling fit – not always but often enough)
I tried a few of the supplements suggested by friends, vets and articles – either Brody did not like them or they gave him, the little iron gutted wonder- gastric distress. I’d encourage you to try them though each dog’s journey is going to be different.
I miss “my” Brody very much – that sober steady reliable rockstar who could always be counted on no matter what he was asked … I want to rage, rage so hard against the fading of his light, instead I cuddle him and cry in the car alone … and cherish every single day with him.