Thursday, August 20, 2009

Welcome to the Senior Critter Center.

Murphy had been doing great for a couple of weeks, so when I didn't hear from the vet's office about his test results, I kept meaning to call, but never managed to do it. Murphy began drooping the last couple of days, and this morning we had a return of the dreaded runny poop, so today I talked to the vet's office - sure enough, they didn't have my phone number, though I do remember filling out an update form fairly recently. (They've been my vet for 14 years, love the doctors and the techs, but their front office staff has been sketchy at best). The tech had been trying to call me with Murphy's test results. The first round of test results didn't show anything significant - everything looked pretty normal, except a slightly elevated kidney enzyme easily chalked up to dehydration. They can send another round of blood work to a special lab in Texas (for $200) on a fishing expedition for the cause, or we can treat him for irritable bowel disease and see if it helps. He does show improvement when on the medication, and for most of the month he has been his normal, healthy, perky self, so that makes me think that he does have an inflammation going on, and it keeps coming back.

So we will go that route - B12 injections and more antibiotics and a special diet. So he goes back to the vet on the 29th, and we will start him on the B12 shots. He's my best little friend in the world; he has been through so much with me in his lifetime, starting with the week I brought him home and my father had a heart attack and he rode with me to Grandma and Grandpa's, and got his intro into his new home life by getting carsick. He was my husband's best buddy during his two years of home confinement during his illness. I still get choked up when I remember how, after one of the many hospitalizations, with an increasingly bleak prognosis, I heard him tell the doctor, "I just want to go home and be with my dog." (This from the man who didn't want a Yorkie, until he got to know this one.) Murphy has been at my side through tragedy and hurricanes and all the crazy, and whatever it costs to keep him healthy, he is worth it to me.

And, I am pretty sure Boris has lost his hearing. I know that with cats it's hard to tell whether they can't hear you or if they just have you on Ignore, but I can't wake him when he's sleeping, and when I call his name when he's awake he doesn't even do that ear twitch of acknowledgment. Cats always do that - they may have you on Ignore, but their ears will do that involuntary twitch when their names are called. Boris doesn't twitch now. I've had to find him to call him to dinner - he was in my closet the other night and didn't respond until he saw me. I suspect something else may be wrong with him, too, because Higgins is really babying him - he's grooming him and sleeping next to him - but Boris is eating and drinking water and filling the litter box and purring and sleeping on my legs at night, and appears to be in no distress of any sort. He's just getting old. He's over 13, and Higgins is 14 or 15. All my animals are turning into little old men. :-)

And on that note, I'm just counting the weeks/months until I am laid off, because I want to bring a young'un into the household, to change the energy and give Murphy a new little buddy. And, my first choice really would be adoption - but dammit, it's really HARD to find a young small dog that doesn't have major issues around here. If I wanted a pit bull puppy I could have my pick, but unfortunately "small" is an important criteria, because I know not what downsizing my life will bring. Any new kid must be small, cute and healthy, with no known issues, with a personality to charm a future landlord. So, I will continue to try to find a baby/young small adoptable pet that doesn't have health issues or known "NO" issues, like no cats, no other dogs, or no kids. I'm going to be a grandma, so now that's more than a "neighbor kids" concern. The neighbor kids are already a concern, because they adore Murphy and Dudley and walking them is like walking down the street with Elvis. I can't adopt a dog that has issues with kids. But now it's a bigger issue: I can't adopt a dog who would be an issue on a grandchild visit.

And so, on a parallel track, I will stalk purebred health-certified Boston puppies from reputable breeders. Murphy would be SO fine with a new Boston pal to keep him feeling youthful in his old age. And it wouldn't feel so creepily like I was trying to replace Murphy - because Murphy is truly irreplaceable. Just like I don't think I could ever have another Golden Retriever, because for me, "golden retriever" means the Baileydog. Any other Golden would be a pale imitation. Murphy is the Bossy Little Dog, and no other Yorkie could ever live up to him.

Not that he's gone yet! I don't mean to sound all maudlin; I'm just thinking out loud about a new young friend for my little old man, to perk him up. We would all benefit from an infusion of fresh young puppy blood into this Critter Senior Center. In the meantime, Girlchild asked if I had plans for Labor Day Weekend, and I don't have anything set in stone, so we will enjoy a visit from the Granddog. He's 4 and no kid anymore, but around here, he's the baby.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

We've had a rescued rat terrier for 8 or 9 years; outside of the issues from the home he was in (before being dropped off at our local humane society - no kill shelter), he's been sweet, energetic, and very interactive with our family (me, dh, and two sons - 16 and 5 years old). Alas, he too is aging (18 months when we got him, so closing in on 10 or 11)...

Catherine said...

The small dogs I've seen online often come with warnings about "no kids" "no cats" no this and that - or descriptions of "working on housebreaking" - I'm just not in a position to take on "issues". But I'll keep looking and hope that when I'm actually in a position to adopt, a cute little one without issues will be there.

carlarey said...

http://pupswilltravel.tripod.com/

Don't know if you reed Julie Zickefoose's blog, but she has a Boston, and highly recommends his breeder as one who responsibly sends amazing dogs out into the world.

I am a great believer in a young dog adding bounce to an older dog's life, and older dog imparting his manners and temperment on the young fellow.

Catherine said...

I don't read her blog, and thank you so much for that link!

nurseknitsalot said...

Thinking about Murphy...wishing him well.

Anonymous said...

Bittersweet as our pets age. They make us so happy, and yet it is so sad to see them slow down. I hope Murph gets better.

Kimmen

Pat said...

I have a Boston. He is 5 years old and his name is Dudley !! I was so happy when I found your blog and another Dudley.
Bostons are great dogs and if socialized from the beginning get along with all animals and people.
They are soooo much fun to have around.

Catherine said...

Oh, another Boston named Dudley! They really are great - so comical and lovable.