15 years old

Well, here we are at the end of October 2012. Approximately 15 years ago Addie came into the world as a blind little pup. Two months later we met her for the first time in the parking lot of a hotel near where we lived at the time.

Her mama was a full-blooded Rottweiler owned by a couple who bred her for the purpose of selling the puppies. Mama had accidentally gotten pregnant by a non-Rottweiler and the owners were giving away the little ‘accidents’ one pup at time.

When we brought her home that first night she was understandably a little scared.  Everything she knew and had become familiar with up to that point had just changed. Now she was in a new place with people she didn’t know. I vividly remember her trying to hide under one of the bar stools we had in the kitchen. (Now, her head wouldn’t fit in that space) Within a few days, after giving her a lot of attention and love, she finally started to warm up to us and her new home. Now, I can’t imagine not having her around.

As any owner of a large breed dog can attest, having your dog attain the 15 year mark is a pretty extraordinary feat. There is a price to pay for such longevity, however. In Addie’s case, she is having a lot of trouble with locomotion. Her hips and back legs seem to have lost a good deal of muscle mass and there are times when she has a really hard time getting up and around. A couple of weeks ago we let her outside to do her business after dinner. She usually walks over to the side yard (maybe 20 yards away), does her business, and comes directly back to the house within 5 minutes. That evening we noticed she had been outside longer than usual. I went out and found her sitting in the yard. I wasn’t sure why she was just simply sitting there so I called for her to come. She wanted to come but when she tried she couldn’t get her back legs to work and she was sort of dragging them along behind her as she used her front legs to move. I immediately stopped her, picked her up, and brought her inside to her bed. Fearing the worst (a now persistent feeling) we decided to see how she did the next morning before deciding to take any sort of action. Well, it turns out that she didn’t need the night to get her strength back. Within 10 minutes of putting her on her bed she was up and walking around through the house again…

Energizer Addie?

Neither of us fails to be amazed by her resiliency.

Disconcertingly however, the one thing we have feared the most seems to be exactly what is happening.  That being that what finally brings the end is going to be mechanical and not an internal failure which would provide a clear signal for us.  With mechanical issues it is much more difficult to determine ‘when’.  Will we ever really be sure that she might not have rebounded again?  Selfishly, I find myself hoping that she passes quietly during the night in her sleep.  We know that the odds are that  this won’t happen and the whole process is going to be a lot more difficult and emotional.

Regardless, at this point she is doing reasonably well, still likes to play with her ball, still has a healthy appetite, and still wants to be near us.  Until the majority of those things change, we will continue to cherish every day she is with us.
Happy Birthday girl.

Addie’s Progress

Yup, our little girl turned 14 last weekend.  I was reading through some of her past posts earlier today and was just thinking how thankful we were.  I was reading one that we had written right after her 13th birthday.  We were not sure if she would be here a year later, but we wanted to cherish every day we had.  Well, she’s still here baby!

We took this video last Saturday when we were out hiking. You can see she still acts like a puppy from time to time, but she also still falls down on occasion.  We believe that is a still side effect from her vestibular disease.  Her head tilt is almost nonexistent, but she does lose her balance from time to time.  But as you can see, it really does not slow her down in the slightest!

We do not go on long hikes anymore and we keep them fairly easy.  But we so enjoy getting outside and enjoying the awesome Colorado scenery and we just love seeing Addie enjoy herself.  I truly think that is the best park of our hikes (aka walks in the woods).  There has only been one time this year when we did not take her.  That was when we went to go visit Shep’s memorial spot.  It is a tough hike for us humans, let alone an aging pup.  W did take Finigan, but left Addie at home to sleep.  We felt bad, but hopefully she slept the whole time and didn’t notice we were gone!

Last night while I was getting my hair cut, another stylist had her husband stop by to pick her up.  He brought in their “puppy”.  He was an 11 month old rottie.  So smart and so darn cute at 78#!.  Everyone in the shop stopped and came over to pet and play with the puppy for a good 10 minutes.  I started talking to another lady that was getting her hair cut too.  She told me the story of how she had a rottie a few years back.  She lived until she was 15!  It seems these rotties are resilient…

Our Little Girl turns 14 Today!

We are so thankful we got to experience this day – Addie turned 14 years old today!

The Birthday Girl!

Lately, I have been scanning in all of our photos from prior non-digital days.  This morning, I scanned in about 50 pictures from when Addie first joined us (about 13 years and 10 months ago).  It seems she has been with us forever.  She has changed houses with us many times, changed states, jobs, and has been with us for all kinds of major life events.

No matter what we or life throws at her, she just keeps trotting along with a smile on her face and a bounce in her step.   She is the best friend a person could ask for.  She knows how to console you when you feel sad.  She knows exactly when you need a big ol’ kiss! And she has never forgotten how to give us a big smile when we walk in the door.. I LOVE those smiles!

I just hope that she cherishes the life she has had with us, as much as we cherish every single minute she has given the 2 of us over these past 14 years.

Birthday Girl

We just celebrated Addie’s 13th birthday this past October 30th. To commemorate the occasion we took her and Finigan on a flat, 5 mile hike near Palmer Lake. She did so well that we took them on a shorter hike Sunday. She seemed to enjoy herself quite a bit on both days.

Her vestibular issues still remain. She is not as sure-footed as she used to be – especially when she gets excited. Her head tilt is still present but it does seem to be getting marginally less noticeable.

She is truly a remarkable dog. We hope to post another birthday message next year but if that doesn’t happen we know that we have been very fortunate to have her in our lives nonetheless. We simply try to cherish each day we are given with her and hope that her final months and years with us are as enjoyable to her as they are to us.

Happy Birthday sweet girl.