Monday, February 18, 2013

The Old Dog's Life

No, nothing is wrong with Murphy. Well, other than the usual, that is. For those who don't know him, Murphy is our chocolate Labrador retriever. He is somewhere in the vicinity of twelve years old. We have had him since he showed up on our porch in December of 2003. He is mostly deaf, his eyesight is a bit cloudy so he doesn't see well in the dark, and he has problems with his rear legs. Mostly, I refer to him as Old Dog. But, as I tell him every day, he is the best dog in the whole world.

I've gotten used to his mobility issues. He has significant arthritis in the rear legs and spine, and most likely some myelopathy, as well. He can't do the mile or mile and a half walks we used to. He gets two short ones these days. He also loses control of the rear legs, and falls sometimes. If he gets them too splayed out when he does, he can't get himself back up. He often needs help climbing up the deck stairs.

For a while this winter, I was thinking he was getting worse- he seemed to need help more and more often. Lately, he seems much better. Not miracle better, mind you, but more active and alert. He wants to walk more, and hates it when I tell him it's time to head home. I know he wouldn't make it much further than we go without really having difficulty on the way back, but he wants to keep going. He seems more- sprightly, I guess is the word. Oh, he still walks with that funny gate because of the bad legs, and when he runs, he sort of rabbit hops on the rear legs. The right rear foot knuckles over a fair amount. But I've noticed when we don't have deep snow in the yard, he does run more than he used to. He sleeps a lot when he's in here, but he is a senior and deserves it.

I wish I could say it was something I am doing, because, believe me, I would keep it up. He gets the same food, the same supplement, the same everything. I'm not complaining. I'm loving it. I hope he keeps it up for years.

I know too many people who have lost pets recently. It makes me worry a bit about the old guy. But he's doing well right now, and he's happy, so I'm going to enjoy our walks and excursions to the chicken coop. Best dog in the whole world, for sure.

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