Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Other Side of the Hill

Just so you all know ...

Dakota, our Irish wolfhound/lab mix (a 'mini' wolfhound at 75 pounds) is very ill.  Mainly, it's old age.  Arthritis is kicking her butt, and her incontinence is getting worse.  Also, something is messing up her digestive system.  She's gotten sick a few times (even before we switched meds to try to help her) and things are not good at the other end either.  

For now we're waiting and hoping that the new medication will help her.  If not ... her quality of life has plummeted.  She can still walk on level surfaces, but she needs big time help on the stairs, often wets herself in bed, and needs a hose-down bath every day, which she hates, because she can't squat even when she makes it outside.  She just sits in the muck and ... yeah.  If that was all, I'd just deal for an indefinite period of time, but she's having more and more trouble getting comfortable.  She gets up and wanders and tries to lay down and gets up again, stress-panting.  Unfortunately it's impossible to ask her what her pain level is like.  Fortunately, once she does settle she seems to sleep very deeply and peacefully, so I'm guessing/hoping that it's low enough still that she can get good rest and isn't in continuous pain.  From what I can gather, it's very bad after she's gone outside, and then eases up enough after about a half hour to an hour that she can settle and relax.  As long as she can get good rest for the majority of the day and isn't actively complaining with whining or crying (though I wonder if she ever will) or reeling with severe pain, I'd rather wait than act too soon.

It's so hard to judge these things.

The girl adopted Dakota when Dakota was already eleven years old.  Adopting a geriatric dog has been a wonderful experience so far, and I would highly recommend it.  From the very beginning, Dakota has been loyal, sweet, obedient, and very well-heeled.  We never had to go through the chewy, messy, rowdy, destructive (although cute and yes, I love puppy breath too) puppy stage with her.  I hope Dakota will be with us a while longer, but at this point it's not looking very good.  We still have some good times of the day, but those are getting shorter.

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