Thursday, August 18, 2016

Poor Old Dude

This week has been challenging, to say the least. We have definitely experienced the dog days of August. And I'm not just talking about the two straight weeks of 90+ degree weather.  I'm not quite sure who has been challenged the most, though.  It's a toss up for sure.  But since this is my blog, I'll grouchily say me.

Our first encounter with him was about 15 years ago.   Well, let me back up a few months prior to our first meeting.

I was newly single at the time and suffering from empty nest syndrome.
I began thinking about getting a puppy.  I saw an ad in the paper for "Breeder's Assoc-America".

 "Breeders Association of America,Inc is a licensed kennel providing purebred and designer mixed breed puppies. Our vet checked puppies come from professional breeders from all over the country. With boarding services, dog training and our in kennel boutique. We have it all for you and your new puppy!"  

Sounds pretty reputable, doesn't it?

I won't go into details, but I didn't have a good experience with them.  The puppy I bought from them died within a week.  It was very sad.  I paid $1200 for the little guy, he was a Maltese.   Luckily, NJ has a lemon law and after quite a hassle with Breeders Assoc. I was able to get my money back. 

About a week later, I saw an ad from a private breeder.

He was born on a farm.  As we drove down the winding driveway, we passed a couple of kids out in the field riding racing tractors. A little girl with pigtails and bare feet, perched on a sturdy branch of an old oak tree, waved as we went by. 
After we parked and got out of the car, the owner, and her husband came off the front porch of their house to greet us.
She told us about the two puppies she had available.   One was a little girl, about 10 weeks old.  The other was a boy about 12 weeks old.
The woman told us that the boy's mother had died after chewing through the electrical cord of the heating pad they had put in her bed to keep her newborn puppies warm.  Aww, I thought, how sad, an orphan.
The girl, she said, was very docile.  The boy was not.
As we walked over to the pen to see the puppies, the woman pointed to a clump of trees a few yards away from the house and said, "Oh, there's Sadie, coming for her afternoon visit.  Would you like to meet her?"
As it turned out, Sadie was a deer.  We were pretty amazed that we were able to actually walk up to her and pet her.
When we got to the pen the boy immediately came up to us, jumping up, spinning around, tail wagging, and of course barking.  Something he still does, by the way, each time I come home.
The girl was shy and stayed her distance.
The woman opened the gate to the pen and the boy came running out.  The girl had to be coaxed.
The boy started nipping at the girl.  She ran, to get away from him, I suspect.  He chased her.
The woman tried to convince us to take both of them.  And if we had, it would have been about $300 cheaper than what we paid for the one puppy from Breeders Assoc.
Anyway, I guess he, the boy, grabbed my heart right away.
Rico and I and Rico and we (me and Ross) have had quite a life together.  He’s traveled with us to Florida and upstate New York.
He loved Joe.  Joe would puppy sit for us when we vacationed and couldn't take him with us.
All of the grandkids have had their special times with him, each wanting to take a turn with the leash, "Can I walk him, Grandma?"

Rico just celebrated his 15th birthday.

He's an old ornery guy now and is suffering from a variety of old guy maladies.  Arthritis being the main issue.
Up until a few years ago, Rico would lead the way on our walks.  Today, he walks a few steps, usually behind us and will stop to rest under the first shady spot he comes to.  He used to bark at cars and other dogs on our walks.  Now he can't see or hear them.
I have to help him up and down the curbs.
About four days ago he started to become restless at night.  He sleeps with us in our bed.  He falls  asleep and then about two hours later he wakes up, walks over to the edge of the bed and whines.  He can't get down by himself.   The first night he did this, I got up and let him outside, thinking he must have to go.
Afterwards, I put him back on the bed and he began to pace.  Ross got up and at 3:00 a.m. took him out for a walk.   And so began our challenging week.
After the second night of this up and down and not sleeping we took him to the Vet.  The Doc checked him out and speculated that his bones may be aching.  "He's very healthy for an old dude," the Doc said, after doing a blood test.
Since his kidneys and liver functions are excellent, the Vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine for him which we were to give him two hours before bedtime.
That was two days ago.  The medicine didn't help.
Ross and I are now walking around like Zombies.  We're so tired.  Probably me more so, since Ross seems to be able to sleep more soundly than me.
Rico, on the other hand, sleeps all day!
Someone suggested Benadryl.  We tried that last night and it seemed to make him worse.  He was up from 1:00 a.m. until about 4:00.  Me too.
This morning I had the crazy thought that maybe I should sleep during the day with him.  Silliness!
I'm at my wits end trying to figure out what's wrong with our boy and what we can do to help him.
Have you ever had this type of experience?  I sure would appreciate any advice.
I have begun to wonder if Rico’s behavior is a preview of what our old dude and dudette future will be like.
Maybe we should book that trip today, Ross!


  1. Oh my! I have no advice for you. I am not a dog owner! But not getting my sleep always makes me grouchy! Hope he is better soon!

  2. I'm sorry. I have no idea. I guess you'll have to keep pestering the vet until they figure it out. Because something must be wrong.

    1. Yes, we will have to take him back to the vet if he continues to have these issues.

  3. Oh, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It sounds very much like what we went through as our older dachshund entered the last couple years of her sixteen year life. At first it was only the rimadyl that helped (very expensive), but she couldn't move without it. But then she began the whining and crying in the night for no apparent reason. My vet, a close personal friend, who has since passed away, told us that, she, our dog, Willow, was becoming senile just like any elder person. She was agitated at night. She was confused and nothing seemed to comfort her. We had many sleepless nights. She also couldn't get up on the bed. For a while she could still jump down on her own, but she couldn't get back up. I won't go into the long and sad details of the last year of her life, but I will tell you that in hindsight, I now feel that I selfishly kept her alive longer than I should have. I did it because I couldn't stand to let her go. I kept her alive for me when I should have let her go for her own peace.
    On another note, we now have a very happy and normal lab and a very crazy neurotic stray/mixed dog that we rescued. She is about seven. She is part beagle and part rat terrier and I don't know what else, but she was obviously either abused before we found her and her brother wandering the roads years ago as puppies. We did find them in April, the month it rains so often. To shorten this, she is so deathly afraid of rain and storms that I truly don't know what we are going to do. It's getting worse each year and she's only seven. She is on Prozac. Have you ever heard of that. And now the vet has prescribed Xanax (very low dosage) for when it thunders. She shakes uncontrollably and hides in the closet. I'm afraid she is going too have a seizure or a stroke. I've never seen anything quite like it. At other times she stares at walls and cries. It's so bizarre.
    I wish you the best. I'm glad you've had such a great and happy life with Rico. Fifteen is a long life and I hope he isn't in any pain. God bless your family and Rico. My heart aches for you. I love dogs so much.

    1. I am sorry for the loss of your dear Willow. I hope that we will know when the right time is for us to make the heartbreaking decision about Rico. In my mind, I feel that if he could tell me, he would say that he would like to hang around with us for a little while longer.
      I have heard of dogs being on Prozac. What we humans will do four our beloved pets, huh?
      Thank you for your kind words about Rico.

  4. Poor little guy and the very sad thing is that they don't know why whatever is happening is happening. I hope he is feeling better very soon!

    1. It is so sad. The past two nights have been better. Thanks.