You Are Old

Little Monkey

A letter to Little Monkey

Well, I guess it was inevitable, even though I thought you’d never age.

I thought you’d make 15 easy. You aren’t even 13 yet!

But something’s not right.

After we’ve been out walking for a while, I give you the option as we pass the end of our road, to turn for home, but you choose to carry on and walk round the block.

Then with quarter of a kilometre still to go, you suddenly start walking as slowly as Mr Spaghetti Legs used to. And believe me, that was s-l-o-w!!

I’ve had you thoroughly checked out.

My amazing old Vet listened very carefully to your heart and said it was fine.

Your arthritis is minimal for a dog your age; just a slight stiffness in your right elbow and shoulder. (I got you young enough to take very good care of that, with good food, regular exercise and supplements for arthritis of omega 3 oils and chondroitin and glucosamine.)

But I have noticed with every other dog I’ve ever had, that you don’t age linearly; you age in leaps.

And there is a sudden leap around 10 years of age when you move into the Old category.

You didn’t do that leap when you were 10, or 11 or even 12; electing to carry on as Mad Cap as ever. You are my Domain Name after all!

Instead you waited till you were 12 and a half.

So there we are, my dear.

You are suddenly old.

And I must adjust my mindset accordingly.

But you’ll still chase a cat like there’s no tomorrow!

And no age limit!

.

HOW TO ADJUST YOUR MINDSET FOR AN OLD DOG:

Find effective pain management medication that works for your dog. Try a few meds and see which suits your dog best. PetCam is the most effective for LM, with the least side effects.

Take your dog onΒ shorter walks more often throughout the day, instead of one long walk. It is important still to go on these outings, as dogs love to get out of the property. It is LM’s favourite thing to do, followed by food.Β 

Give your dog nice soft bedding. LM has always slept on comfy sponge mattresses.

Give your dog gentle massages round those aching joints. I’ve always done this rather than just stroking the dog. LM loves it.

Watch their weight. With painful arthritis dogs will tend to move less and the weight can start building up. You might have to adjust the amount you feed them, without letting them feel hungry. Just a few less kibbles in their bowl will make a difference. LM’s weight crept up from 23 kg to 24.7 kg.

Do carry on with most activities you used to do; but be aware that your dog may tire more quickly. LM still hares round the garden like a mad thing, of her own volition, but is not quite as fast as she used to be and doesn’t run for as long. The important thing is that she still does it.

So Little Monkey is old; Now what?

I expect she’ll carry on like this till near the end. She could still make 15!

After all, Mr Spaghetti Legs did.

Mr SL is all ears

.

post script: Many of you will be thinking of Lewis Carroll’s awesome poem, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865, so here’s the link –Β You are old, Father William.

 

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45 thoughts on “You Are Old

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Aw it can really take it out of you having surgery. LM bounced back after her surgery in 2016, but it was only minor stuff. Border Collies can live a long time though, so here’s hoping your two do. πŸ™‚

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  1. Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

    Our Gabbie is 15. We give her Tumeric Powder which helps with arthritis. Fish Oil too, as it is a very good anti-inflammatory and prevents strokes in elderly dogs. Even though i’m a vegetarian i take Fish Oil capsules too; works great for arthritis and for my skin. Plus it has a lot of DHA which is essential to brain health; it is a critical deficiency in a lot of vegans/vegetarians.

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Smaller dogs usually live longer than the bigger ones, but Gabbie is doing very well. πŸ™‚
      Yes, the Omega 3 that I give LM is a daily salmon oil capsule. πŸ™‚ It’s supposed to be good for asthma and helping to prevent Alzheimer’s too. An all round Good Guy! πŸ˜€

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Aw Thank you so much πŸ™‚
      Yes, it’s hard that they have such short lives; all we can do is make them the best we can. πŸ™‚

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  2. A Curious Introvert

    I hate when we have to accept our pets are getting older and that their old legs can’t keep up with that youthful mind that still believes they can catch the cat or squirrel. Gabby is thirteen and our walks have decreased dramatically in length even though she starts the walk with the energy of a puppy. The only problem is that she has no interest in the return walk and wants to be carried home. Thank you for the wonderful tips on caring for an aging pet and the reminder that we have to remember to spoil them even more as the aches and pains increase.

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you for your comment πŸ™‚
      Aw Little Gabby πŸ™‚ It’s good that they still want to go out for walks tho. If only I had the strength to carry LM part of the way – but she’s way too heavy for me! πŸ™‚

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  3. taphian

    The only true sentence is: evrything will decay. Unfortunately, because I would like to become younger, more fit and even more “beautiful”, too :)) Have a nice day, kind regards Mitza

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      haha As long as they still have their puppy moments. πŸ™‚
      LM is the least grumpy dog I’ve ever had – part of being a noo noo I guess! πŸ™‚

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  4. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy

    If only they didn’t age so quickly – Choppy has some mornings already where we start the walk very slow. Apparently, though, the thought of bunnies to come gets her moving eventually (usually faster than I want her to go!).

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      haha I’d also start slowly in your temperatures! πŸ™‚
      And there’s nothing like the prospect of chasing a bunny or squirrel to get the old dogs moving πŸ™‚

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  5. Patty Richardson

    It’s so hard to accept, that they don’t live as long as we do. 😦 It’s hard to imagine when the end is near. Mine is 8 years old. I try not to think of my life without her, but all of your advice for the declining years is very helpful. Blessings to your LM. Sending healing thoughts. Loved your post!

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much for your kind comment. πŸ™‚ LM herself is quite happy living in the moment. She doesn’t think of the future, but we do, which is why it is hard on us. All we can do is our best for them.

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  6. pensitivity101

    I know where you’re coming from Sci. As owners, we start to wonder if it is all of a sudden or if we’ve missed it. Maggie is looking older in her face now, more grey around the snout and eyes. She tires quicker, though we adjust our walks accordingly, and even if we walk her up to town, we have a breather with a cup of coffee (she usually gets treated to a free sausage) for at least half an hour before we come home. She still likes to chase the gulls and the crows, but we are more watchful and make sure she doesn’t overdo it. She loves her walks, so we keep them up, varying the length and pace to her lead.
    We have anti-inflammatory meds just in case, and she’s discovered which side of the bed the hot water bottle is at night and rests her bad leg against that until we get in. I’m glad we invested in a big soft cushion for her which is by the radiator during the day and in our room (again by the rad) at night, though she tends to sleep on our bed curled up behind my knees. She’s too old and set in her ways for us to stop her now!
    LM is a little younger than Maggie, who turned 13 in January, so she’s 91 in doggy years. Hopefully we shall have her for a few more years yet too.

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      I think it’s harder for older dogs in a cold country as they will feel the arthritis more. Maggie is looking very well for her age. πŸ™‚
      A dog LM’s size and ‘breed’ has a life expectancy of 13. I just always thought LM would make 15 easily. The main thing is that she remains happy and pain free. πŸ™‚

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      1. pensitivity101

        Exactly. My parents collie cross lived to be 17. It all comes down to quality of life, and as long as Maggie’s content, eating and drinking OK and not in pain, we shall always do our best for her. She has her booster jabs scheduled for next week, so the vet will give her a thorough check up as a matter of course.

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      2. pensitivity101

        I hope so. I’ve asked to see Steve for continuance because she seems to like him and will let him check her over without making too much fuss. He also knows his stuff and cares about the owners as well as the animal!

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  7. Garfield Hug

    I know how LM feels. I am so happy you take such good care of LM with vitamins and supplements. LM will age well and it is a silent reminder that we are all mere mortals, pets included unless we get those Sony or Android dogs…hmm not the safeπŸ€”

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you GH πŸ™‚ LM is fine really – just older and slower! She’s still perfectly happy. It’s just sad that dogs don’t live very long. And as you say, a reminder of our own mortality.
      Oh well . . . Cheers! And Happy Friday! πŸ˜€

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  8. scooj

    Lots of things for me to ponder there. Obviously I haven’t given a moment’s thought to our puppy getting old yet, and will probably keep it that way for a while.

    The poem I know very well. My sister and I used to listen to a record (double album) of Alice in Wonderland in which many of the poems were sung. I learned ‘You are old’ from that recvord. Many years later I read it at my step-father’s memorial as he has always loved nonsense poetry.

    Great post. Thinking about Little Monkey.

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you for your comment. What a lovely memory πŸ™‚
      It will be a long time yet before your new puppy starts to age – he’s got to grow up first! πŸ™‚
      LM is fine really – I make sure she’s not in pain. Dogs just live in the moment and get on with it. It’s we who question everything.

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  9. Ady

    Nooo, not so soon 😦 I still remember SL and his slow days. How it was tough for him to keep up with LM. Lots of things from that time rushing in my mind. 4 years of mad cap stories… I feel too overwhelmed to say anything more….. Wish it was the same for her as was in the poem …..

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Aw Sorry Ady – don’t worry, LM should be good for another few years yet. It’s just that she has jumped to the next stage. You won’t tell from a photo that she is any different and she still acts like a noo noo! πŸ˜€
      She Does stand on her head as in the poem, when she’s rubbing her face in the grass after her supper! πŸ˜€

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      This would be the best thing, but sadly they age so much faster than us. But as you say. plenty of life left in Ray – and hopefully you too Colin! πŸ™‚

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