Saturday, September 11, 2010

When I'm 84

As we took Jake in for his annual check-up, I wondered if I would hear something I didn’t want to hear that might confirm his geriatric position in life and cast doubts on his health.  When a dog gets to be 12, you know his years are limited.
His weight was good -- holding steady at 69.  Dr. Smith was extremely pleased to hear that his August allergies had not happened this summer, that all his fur and skin were still quite in tact.  
But then she spent what seemed like forever listening to his heart.  She finally said it was slow and steady -- like a strong athlete’s heart.  There was no murmur.  There was no arrhythmia.  But his heartbeat was muffled.  
She went on to look at his old dog eyes and pronounce them just that.  His ears (even if a little deaf) and teeth were just fine.  Even the many lumps and bumps, although noted, were of no concern.
We mentioned that he sometimes is slow in standing up, his back half that is.  She suggested we start giving glucosamine, but said he was far ahead of his age if he was still able to jump on the bed, which he does regularly.
And then back to that soft, muffled heartbeat.  We could do X-rays (at a considerable expense) to know if there is an enlargement or a tumor blocking his heart.  But what would we do with that information if it was to be learned?  Probably nothing.
So Dr. Smith drew some blood for a routine set of diagnostic blood tests, gave Jake a couple of dog treats, and sent us on our way.
When a dog gets to be 12, he deserves to live out his life without drastic measures, or so I think.  I hope my caretakers will be of the same mind when I’m 84.


Blogger Angela said...

Right, I hope that with you, Barbara. Our old dog lived till almost 13, and I think he enjoyed his last year best.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Angela -- Jake is my constant companion these days. He seems so content and at the same time enthusiastic about life. I wish it could continue this way forever!

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a blessing and a treasure for you and Jake to have each other as companions. Our dog reminds me every day to live in the moment and enjoy every experience anew, no matter how familiar. Kibble for breakfast -- yippee!!


2:20 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- Your dog is a little younger than Jake, but not much. So we're both best to live in the present moment with these our canine best friends!

5:58 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Oh Jake. I am so happy that he is doing well. Our 'puppies' become such a part of the family and it is very disturbing when they get older. My large pup (Saint Bernard) is now 7 which is getting pretty darn old for a large dog. She still acts like a crazy puppy though and I hope that stays. Give Jake my best (I wonder if he would remember me).

12:26 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Reading about Jake makes me miss having a dog. I'll probably never own another one, at least if I stay here. Meanwhile, I enjoy the neighbors' dogs. It's not quite like having my own but the petting and happy personalities are enough for now. enjoy Jake while you have him :)

11:02 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- 7 is old for a St. Bernard. I hope we can both keep our canine friends as long as possible.

We're finally getting around to Sendak's Max and crowns this week. I've been hanging onto your package for just the right moment. I hope to take a photo to send you.

Pauline -- I hope another dog is in your future because I'm sure you have many years ahead of you and a dog makes the best company of all. Meanwhile enjoy the licks and wagging tails of those belonging to others.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Excellent. I am looking forward to seeing the crowns.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I am so glad that he's doing all right. Far better than my grandmother in her 80s, I'm afraid, but she's still got a bit of kick in her.

4:43 PM  

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