Sunday, July 17, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks

Louie and Dupree
As many of you may know, Chris and I have five dogs.  These dogs are all firmly suburban dogs. They are smushed nose breeds, so air conditioning is just as important to them as it is to me. Coli and Louie are the oldies, both out-living their breed expectations. Dupree is our bratty middle child, then Petey our special needs girl, and finally, our baby is Winston. We planned on stopping when we had two dogs, then when we had three, and again when we had four. Now I promise we are stopping.

Our engagement photo with Louie
When you have a really old dog, specifically one who everyone says should be long gone, there is a constant nagging worry. It doesn't help that the old dogs start losing their hearing and can be pretty difficult to wake up at times. Even when you think you've prepared yourself, things can hit from out of the blue. Louie starting having accidents in the house, which isn't like him. I figured that he was losing control of himself and would need some medication, and planned on taking him to the vet. I took him in this Saturday, only to find that he wasn't losing control, he was completely blocked, his bladder was on the verge of bursting. He needed surgery.

Baby Winston
Old pugs don't typically survive anesthesia, but we didn't really have a choice, so we took the risk. Since it was the weekend, we had to have the surgery done at the emergency vet. Luckily, he made it through the first procedure, but on Monday we'll have to take him in to discuss further surgeries. At the youngest, he is 16 years old, possibly even 18. He's survived seizures with medication, arthritis with medication and cancer with surgery. It seems like an easy choice to just let him go, but it really isn't. Louie's lab work shows he is strong. His quality of life is great. He is happy and still doing well. These costly surgeries could kill him, or buy him time. Who knows how much time or if the time would be good time.

On the other end of the spectrum, we've got Winston. He's only a year and a half, by far the youngest and healthiest dog Chris and I have had together. He's learning the ways of our family, and getting away with more than the other dogs do in the process. I'm glad he is here now, because he reminds us how much joy dogs bring to us and that even though there are tough decisions to be made, and the endings are brutal, owning a dog is a wonderful thing. They give us so much, that even with the pain and sadness, it is totally worth it.

We'll probably take another risk with Louie tomorrow, knowing that if we lose him, at least we tried. If the time comes when he is hurting, or suffering, we'll have to make the hardest decision of all. Wish me luck in these complicated times.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Winston and Valerie

We have a new dog named Winston. He is a French Bulldog/ Pug mix, and he is adorable. When he was just a tiny puppy, we watched him for two weeks while his owner was out of town. My husband got really attached to him. When we heard his owner had to find him a new home, we were happy to take him. Our other dogs are taking to him pretty well. He is very sweet and fun to be around. 

 TLC-Farm Dear Valerie Plame has finally come home too! I'm so happy to have all four of my goats under one roof. The girls are getting so big we're going to double their pen next month.