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.


  1. I'm so sorry your going through this.... I had the same battle with my Dane Brutus, and cancer. He was my baby.... my daughter learned to walk by holding on to him, he attacked a bobcat for me, and if not for him my family would be dead...literally. He saved us from a 2am house fire and if not for his intervention we would never have got out in time (I had taken Ambien & he drug me from my bed). We lost him 3 years ago & my heart still hurts when I think of him. Every battle we fought, every medical obstacle we over came, and every penny spent on vet visits was worth it. As long as they have good quality of life, its worth it to do everything in your power to help them.

    So I understand you doing all you can despite his age. He's obviously a fighter and your love & care has brought him this far, I will pray for Louie and hope your old handsome man defies odds again and returns safely to you after his operation..

    BTW- Winstons baby picture just kill me!! He is beyond adorable!!

  2. You have some tough decisions ahead of you. We have faced similar dilemmas and in my opinion, the answer lies in your heart.
    Best wishes and good thoughts coming your way.

  3. Prayers for you and Louie. We lost one of our oldsters in April due to heart problems. It's so hard for to deal with. Our youngest Corgi Ivy still misses her Uncle Reej.

  4. Oh this is too bad. It is so not fair to have to make decisions like this, and the vet bills can be so costly no matter what you decide. I feel for you and pray that you find peace with your decisions.

  5. Thank you all for your supportive comments! We went ahead with all the surgeries, and he is doing well! It was expensive, but we know we did the right thing. Louie is an old man, but he is such a fighter. If he is willing to fight, then we will too!

  6. Please, please let us know how Louis is doing!