Our Aging Pup

Our dog Ellie outside the grocery store on a snowy winter day

Age is taking its toll on our sweet pup. Her stamina has been declining and while she still gets around pretty well, she’s not as confident in her footing as she used to be. Her hearing seems to be on the decline and she has a thyroid issue (thankfully it’s responding well to medication). At her last checkup her blood pressure was high as was the protein in her urine, the latter something we’ve been keeping an eye on for a few years, so she’s now on blood pressure medication. She had an ultrasound yesterday and thankfully her kidneys are in good shape, but there is a growth on one of her adrenal glands that might be harmless but could be the early stages of cancer, we’ll recheck in a few months and see if it’s growing.

The hardest part yesterday was that in order for the ultrasound to be effective we couldn’t feed her in the morning, and food is one of Ellie’s great joys. Funnily enough she has lots of little ways of reminding you she hasn’t been fed but she won’t get aggressive or even bark, so gentle is her nature. As I got my breakfast, even though disappointed her owners had forgotten to feed her, she got excited as this is when she gets a dental bone, her favorite treat. But even that had to wait until after her test so I had to watch as her initial excitement turned to confusion and sorrow as she slowly realized her hints weren’t being taken and she wasn’t even going to get her treat.

Perhaps as a side effect of the sedation for the ultrasound, or worry over lost treats, her stomach was upset all night so I stayed up with her to let her out into the yard whenever she started dancing around on the hardwood. She was feeling better by morning but I was so tired from being up most of the night that I’m taking today off.

She goes back in a couple of weeks to recheck her blood pressure and protein levels. One thing that remains unchanged is her bountiful and joyful spirit. She doesn’t mind that in addition to her allergy pills she gets an extra pill in the morning and three in the evening, as we put her pills in hot dog slices that she readily gobbles down. In fact she’s trying to convince us that she also needs to be treated for scurvy, botulism, and space madness.

This picture was taken in early January when we got a nice bit of snow. My wife and I walked with Ellie up to the neighborhood grocery store for a few supplies and Ellie and I waited outside at one of the picnic tables while my wife grabbed the groceries. She’s drooling because I kept bribing her with treats so she wouldn’t greet every single person entering the store and sniff the bags of those walking out. I’m holding the camera down and to my left, she’s watching my eyes for a sign that another treat might be forthcoming.

May you have many happy and healthy days to come, sweet pup.

3 thoughts on “Our Aging Pup

    • It’s surprisingly hard to get this smile on camera. Usually once I grab the camera she gets bored and closes her mouth, or if I have a treat she looks intense (she takes food veeeerrrrryyyy seriously). Fortunately she was so distracted and excited by all the people coming and going that she gave me a nice smile.

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