Dealing with the Realization they are Slowing Down

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

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U have no toy to- throw? Ill get- you one!
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 10:54am PST 
Sometime ago one of the posts asked people to introduce their senior dog, and as I saw the various ages of the dogs being posted, quite honestly my initial reaction was that Kodie was not yet a senior. He will be nine in June, but I just hadn't considered him a senior yet.

A month ago my 20 year old brother was home for spring break and towards the end he mentioned to me that Kodie seemed to be sleeping quite a bit, and that in general he was slowing down. Today I talked with my dad on the phone and he mentioned that he has noticed Kodie's stamina for fetching has been going down. Not that there seems to be something wrong with him, but as he said, "Kod just seems to be slowing down." Of course then I thought back to when I adopted my precious boy three years ago, come June, and realized that he does appear to just be mellowing out, and slowly slowing down. He still plays, he still runs, but the evidence is their that my precious boy is getting older.

Has any one ever had this realization, and wanted to scream at the unfairness in it? I only adopted Kodie three years ago. My Kodie was born into a hoarders home, had a good first home, and then was passed around to dog knows how many neglectful homes, until he was picked up by a good sam and brought to the shelter I was vol. at. I have always said those years now don't matter, esp after the first year of rehab turned him back into a dog, but now I'm upset at all those lost years! It seems unfair. Alas, I know, life isn't fair.

Also, I've always taken some comfort in that knowledge that poodles supposedly don't slow down per se. They tend to be fine and energetic, till six months or so before they pass away, and the fact that Kodie is gradually slowing down scares me. His teeth are in great condition, but he was born into a hoarding house, with a mess of genetics, and has had some med. issues. Lit. seems to give a huge variation on standard poodles. Anywhere from 11-14, to just saying, "be grateful for anything over 10." It makes me nervous that what with his genetics, the neglect, and his breed I have nothing to gage it on. I know that sounds illogical.

I had to put down my last poodle 2.5 years ago at age 18, and she followed the 6 month pattern. I had expected Kodie to follow that too, but I just feel lost now. Darn it, I know I could have years left with him but I already feel like yelling to the powers that be, that he is too young to slow down. Anyone ever felt this or dealt with these feelings? Or am I just going nuts, haha, which is poss.

Earned my wings- Jan. 22nd
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 2:10pm PST 
9 is when Tuck was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, and when he developed his autoimmune condition. I was not in the habit of doing regular full bloodwork because up to this point, he had always been so healthy. I would highly advised getting a complete blood panel done at least annually, and maybe even twice a year with a senior. It is much better to catch things early than to wait for drastic symptoms. Tuck is now 12 years old, and we manage his health conditions with traditional medications, regular bloodwork, chiropractic, and acupuncture.
Sophie- ♥- Sweet Angel

Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 2:22pm PST 
Sophie is sixteen and she has gradually slowed down the last two years. She has really shown her age the past month or two and will be journeying to the bridge in the next week or two. I'd always thought that it would be illness that eventually took, I didn't realize how difficult the arthritis and age-related mobility issues would be. My mom has a 12 year old standard poodle and he has recently started slowing down and showing arthritis and mobility issues. Talk to your vet, there are medications and natural supplements that can help. The vet has been very helpful in keeping Sophie comfortable.

There is an essay about the three big days in the life of a dog "owner". The first day is the day you bring your dog home, the second day is the day you realize your dog is slowing down/getting older, and of course, the third big day. But it's so true, I was surprised the day that I suddenly realized how old Sophie is.

Sending lots of tailwags! hug

Flicka ~ CGC

NO-ONE is going- to sneak up on- my Mummy
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 2:55pm PST 
In as much as it is a good idea to get a few standard tests done... and if all proves to be as good as it can be... then truely... you need to maybe think a little differently.

Celebrate EACH day... make a party of it. LIVE each moment. leave no regrets.

Whether we lose them at 2 or 12.. or when ever.... make it all count.

There is no "fairness" there is LOVE and LIFE though... and death has no domaine over the Joy of each Moment.

I guess that is a simplistic approach. I lost my Dog of The Heart... Cleo... in 24 hrs when she was just 8 1/2. It still has the power to make me a sobbing heap.

BUT ............

There is something I am getting to grips with... it isnt a simple concept... I have lost too many I care about in my life...

The pain of loved souls passing can be agonising . I have no strong faith to carry me.. I have a basic belief that I will see those I need and want to see in another dimension .. either in this life.. or a next if there is one.

What I have had to seriously ask myself is if I would rather not have had those souls in my life.? Meaning.. I had none of the pain of their passing.

The answer is a deafeningly loud '' I NEEDED THEM IN MY LIFE !".

They taught me to be who I am

They gave me wings to Fly

They gave me the joy of Love.

If I want to be without the pain of their passing... then I have to not have them in my life to start with. I do not want a life that bitter and bare and empty.

I hate the pain.. I hate knowing the pain other souls are in. I hate the terrible diseases and pain that take our loved ones sometimes.

There IS no one without the other.... the only place that can be so is some science fiction Robot-World.

SO........ I will take the pain of the Passing... it is a small price to pay for all the LOVE that comes before.

I am sorry for the long post........ but I really hope it gives you a place to find some lift and hope.


Edited by author Sun Apr 10, '11 2:57pm PST


If it's on the- floor..it's mine
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 3:01pm PST 
I totally understand this feeling. It's awful, and if I really let myself think about it, I can get myself into a real twist. Taffy is 8 now which is relatively young for a dog, but I noticed him slowing down around 6 months ago. He then had an episode with a back injury (herniated disc) which has reduced his ability to play, run and do all the crazy stuff he used to do. He definitely sleeps more now, gets cranky on occasion and doesn't particularly enjoy long walks anymore. He prefers to stick to his same old routes rather than go exploring somewhere new. He's not depressed, but he's definitely quieter and less excited about the new things in life.

He also had a hideous start, for his first three years he was kept in a locked shed with two other dogs and a goat. They were continually knee deep in feces and urine, he was riddled with worms and fleas, was incredibly malnourished and had various broken bones that hadn't set back properly, due to being beaten. For the whole 5 years we have owned him, we have been medically treating the consequences of this terrible start in life and it's easy to forget that those years of neglect will impact his life for ever more. My vet has told me that Taffy will probably have a shorter life span than normal because of those things and that physically he's more like 10 - 12 years. It was a horrible shock at the time, but it makes sense and makes us ever more grateful for the years we have had with him.

U have no toy to- throw? Ill get- you one!
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 4:20pm PST 
Flicka, I completely understand what you mean. I enjoy each day that I have with my boys, and am thankful for them. I was having a bit of a pity party after getting off the phone with my parents, which think everyone needs sometimes, but my post was the direct result.

Time really does fly though, and I don't think I had mentally comprehended that as I age, so do my boys. laugh out loud Or I guess I had, but I didn't want to hear that Kodie might not still be ascending to his mid life point, but descending. I guess it doesn't really matter though. What matters is that he's a very happy boy, no matter how much he is slowing down, and he still loves life.
Flicka ~ CGC

NO-ONE is going- to sneak up on- my Mummy
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 4:38pm PST 
Smils to Kodie... pity parties sneak up on you... I know..... and sometimes its what it takes to get back on a track we can handle. Till the next time !

Lizzie, CGC

Fence Jumper
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 4:51pm PST 
It was really hard on me this year when the vet suggested doing a full blood panel for Lizzie, 'because she's getting older.' YIKES! She's 8 (we think) and I've only had her 2 years... Everything came out fine, but still, just thinking about how one day she won't be here... frown
Dennis- FDCH-S,- TFIII

I love agility- and flyball!
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 5:27pm PST 
@Lizzie- I felt the same way when Tuck was 8 and the vet suggested a full blood panel. He seemed so healthy. He didn't seem like an elderly dog to me. Then 9 came, and one day I noticed he was sleeping way too much, not waking up right away when I got home; he had a different expression to his face, his muscles started twitching in his rear leg, etc... Ran all the bloodwork, and he had a very low thyroid. I was wishing I had done the full panel bloodwork the year before. Kicking myself actually, wondering if I would've discovered the thyroid issue earlier, wondering if I had caught the thyroid earlier, maybe the autoimmune disorder wouldn't have kicked in.

U have no toy to- throw? Ill get- you one!
Barked: Sun Apr 10, '11 5:35pm PST 
Lizzie, it does sneak up on you doesnt it? You don't even realize time is passing that quickly until the real world announces its presence in some way, and gives you a reminder that our pets don't stay young forever.

I think this is even more true when you have adopted, or taken in, an adult dog. I was thinking earlier that I will have had Kodie three years soon, and took me a second to remember he isn't turning three too. He passed by three before he ever came into my life. Time is tricky, and sneaks up on you so fast!

Edited by author Sun Apr 10, '11 5:36pm PST

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