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 on 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.
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.
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 – You are old, Father William.