December 1st 2011 12:00 pm
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Hi. This is Cocoa's owner (aka "youngest daughter of the human alpha female").
I took this little diary so seriously when I first started. I really tried to think of what Cocoa's voice would be like if she could write something like this. Social status/rank is vital to a dog's life, so that impacted how I described the human family.
It's so hard. Cocoa was euthanized this morning. She's at peace now. She was so calm the entire time. She even licked my hand right before going to sleep... as if she wanted to comfort me one last time.
Arthritis in both hips and lumbar spinal stenosis made life very difficult for Cocoa in her last 3 months of life. Mobility was the number one problem; she couldn't rise by herself or walk very long. Vitamins and pain meds eased her days, but everything became hectic. She couldn't get up to relieve herself or move out of the mess once it was done; she had skin irritation and fur loss because she needed 24-hour nursing care. A kind aunt of mine helped during the day when I was at work, but it just wasn't enough. Eventually, the neurological problems with Cocoa's back prevented her from even sitting up without a pillow to prop her up. She whimpered a little and kept trying to curl up to relieve the pain. I knew, as much as it would hurt, that it was time to say goodbye to my beautiful girl.
I'm crying a lot... she was gone at 9:26 PST and my eyes just won't stop leaking tears. She was my best friend, my angel, my sister, my reason for believing. I'll always love her. I know there has to be a beautiful place for souls like hers.
November 24 (?) 1995-December 1, 2011
Thank you for the best sixteen years of my life. I love you. And I'm glad those were the last words you heard.
September 3rd 2011 7:38 am
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Two years have passed already? Didn't I say I wouldn't wait this long to write again? Hmm, guess I forgot. That happens when you're 15 and Fabulous.
Lots of health changes recently: was diagnosed with glaucoma in my right eye and eventually had to have it removed, arthritis is making it hard to get around, and I've lost 8 pounds over the last year. My eye doc said that if I hadn't lived to such a ripe old rage (and who is she calling OLD?!) I never would've gotten glaucoma; the condition was hereditary, meaning my eyes were just destined to develop this problem. The good news is that my left eye is always normal when tested, no pressure problems. The human alpha female's youngest daughter blamed herself for my losing my eye, but I'm not mad at her. She didn't know that my sleeping a lot was the first sign; she didn't see anything wrong with me until I started tripping over my bowl and toys. By then, I'd lost a significant amount of sight and the drainage angle was bad. The procedure went well, but I recovered slowly and hated taking medicine. Pills, bleh! My only regret is the depth perception I lost -- it's kind of a guessing game to navigate the yard and over to my bed. And sometimes it's startling if somebody touches me and I don't see them. But it's okay.
I had to have x-rays before the eye procedure, and my vet declared I had arthritis in my back. I could walk around easily, but getting in and out of the car -- even with my doggie stairs -- had gotten tougher, and rising from a slippery tile floor was next to impossible without a rug underneath me. In the last week, after a routine trip to the groomers', I stopped being able to stand up on my own. The daughter moved me to the patio, and made a comfy bed, but the ever-shifting sun made that uninhabitable. She moved me over to the corner near my Igloo house; lots of shade, my orthopedic foam mattress underneath me, a Wee Wee pad (how embarrassing) covering everything. It's nice enough, but I miss sleeping inside my house, getting up on my own, NOT wobbling when walking. The daughter has taken me back and forth to the vet, and he keeps saying I'm old (why does everybody keep using that word?) and am closer to the end than the beginning, whatever that means. It's nice to see him now; over the past couple of years, I've mellowed to his touches and he's not my Arch Nemesis anymore. He helps me but I wish he wouldn't send home so many pills: glucosamine chewables (eww), Rimadyl chewables (yuck), Tramadol chewables (triple yuck). I really have a hard time taking the Tramadol -- even in tiny pieces "hidden" in food, I drool and gag and refuse it. I don't care if it's supposed to ease pain, I hate the taste and won't have it.
As for my weight loss, the daughter thinks my teeth might be bothering me, but my vet thinks it's age and maybe the pain of arthritis.... I have an appointment in an hour to see him. Last time, he told the daughter that we could consider Adequan injections (eep) to make my mobility easier. She's thinking of asking him for more x-rays; my dainty eating habits have become so that I weigh only about 33 pounds. Everybody's worried about me. I won't eat dry food anymore, so the daughter breaks the kibbles into teeny pieces, mixes that with chopped canned food (stew formula only, thank you, no mish-mash for me), and tops the whole thing with teeny cuts of meat softened with water. I generally lap the whole plate (too hard to dip my head over the rim of my bowl right now) after a little encouragement. But the last few days have had my appetite alternating between lapping alone or needing to be hand-fed. I never allowed hand-feeding before, but I dunno -- sometimes food just tastes better that way. My vet doesn't like that I get real meat all the time --muttered something about my kidneys-- but agreed that it's better I eat something not-so-great constantly rather than turn my nose up at healthy food all the time.
Getting older is hard, little dogs. But I know everything is going to be all right. I miss going for walks and not falling over when trying to use the bathroom, but my vet will fix it. And if he can't, I know my human family loves me and will always be there to help.
Just one day at a time.
May 22nd 2009 3:00 am
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Can you believe it's been three whole years since I've told you about me? I know, you've missed it. :) My days are still beautiful, just not as active.
Every day I hope to see a whole chicken or maybe a steak in my bowl. No crunchy pellets, just delicious meat. I dream about it. But alas, the youngest daughter of the human alpha female still feeds me dry pellets with maybe some chicken mixed in. She tells me "good girl" if I eat everything, but usually I leave at least 30 of the pellets for her to take away. Sometimes I drop a few on the ground for the garden slug to eat, but I don't think the daughter likes for me to share with him.
There aren't many birds in the yard anymore, and few flies, so I don't run around chasing things as much. I do enjoy a brisk walk around the neighborhood a few times a week, and the sights and smells keep me occupied. The neighbor-dogs always yell at me for being out when they're not; I just smile and keep going. Once I saw a rooster walking around on someone's lawn! He was too big of a bird to chase, though. I just stared at him and he stared back as I walked by.
I've come to like small children recently, and the daughter always pats me and says encouraging things when I allow them to be near me and pet me. Tolerance comes with age, I suppose. As long as their touches are gentle and they don't step on my paws, I'm happy.
I love walking, but I hate being brushed beforehand. I don't have the patience for the detangler/deodorizer spray, the undercoat rake, the long pin brush, the carding brush, the smoothing brush. It's too much, so I walk around the yard so the daughter can't groom me. I look fabulous already! Why does she have to bother me so much? When she puts my collar back on, I wag my tail and run for the gate, knowing we're off to find adventure. Sometimes I almost don't want to wait for the leash. Forget leashes -- life is happening, I just want to go, go, go!
Occasionally, I'll trip a little near the end of the walk. The daughter thinks it's the long fur between my toes making me walk funny, but she hopes it's not my joints. I'm sure a tortuous trip to the dogwasher will get rid of the annoying fur and keep my toes from splaying when I step. Not looking forward to wearing a muzzle for hours so I can get sprayed with water, but it'll be okay.
Still healthy, still happy, still hopeful.
I hope all is good with you and yours. I'll write again.... maybe sooner than 3 years from now. :)