Going Through the Phases

As a dog lover and owner, I have experienced all the phases of my pets’ lives. Yet, some of my own experiences happened while I was in different phases.

My childhood dog, Sandy, lived to be thirteen. My memories with her spanned from the age of four to seventeen. Yet, I was a kid. I was not the primary caregiver. She was my friend and confidant, but I was not the decision-maker about her healthcare needs. All of that changed when I became the primary owner and caregiver.

My husband and I have had the unfortunate experience of having pets die relatively young. Our first dog, Buddy, was diagnosed with hepatitis at age eight. Our second dog, Buster, was put down for biting and a seizure disorder at age four. The most tragic was Rosie. She was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease at nine months. Knowing she would never have a quality existence and that we couldn’t afford her treatment, we had to put her down.

That’s when we acquired Zoe.

Doc was adopted three years later and endured pain from Lyme Disease the entire time we owned him. Bone cancer was a definitive diagnosis. But, even though he was eleven, I didn’t feel we had enough time with him.

Now we face the excruciating reality that Zoe’s life span will be shortened by systematic lupus. To date, she is nine.

I am already seeing her signs of aging, grief, and pain. Yet, I’m still trying to come to terms with how to best care for my aging, hurting friend. Here is a link that helped me. Maybe it will help others, too.

http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/training/how-dog-behavior-changes-with-age

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