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…
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.