These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Struggle

Note: This is what I was writing yesterday when the phone/DSL went out. It was a tough day for sure. I finally put all my thoughts and fears into one post and faced the inevitable. :'(

I've been struggling recently with some things. I have blogged about part of it, but not all. I'm having a hard time with the aging process. Not my own ... well, a little, but that isn't the issue ... but that of my darling Ali and China.

Less than a year ago I also had Mai Lin, China's mother, and when I lost her suddenly to an intestinal infection which her aged little body (she was almost 15-1/2 years old) just couldn't fight off (despite the fact that she was frisky and generally in good health), I asked the vet to check both these others to be sure they weren't ill, also. Both were deemed essentially healthy for their ages (then 13, now both are 14).

China has been on anti-seizure medication since she was just a few months old when she had a grand mal seizure. Over the last few years, she has gained weight, and I could not figure out how I was going wrong. The vet found that she has Cushing's disease which comes with excessive appetite or loss of appetite and the gain or loss of weight as follows. It usually bring seizures as well, but since she was on medication and had no discernible seizures since her puppy-hood, that was determined good. She has cataracts and has lost a great deal of her hearing over time, but remains a spirited, happy little dog. She is unassuming, yet appreciative of every bit of attention. Just ask (shouting, of course, so she can hear you) if she wants to go outside or go in the car, or even just hold up her harness, and she prances like no body's business! She has a high-stepping gait that stirs the heart of anyone who sees it, and loves going and doing. This girl loves life! But she is aging. It is noticeable, and it breaks my heart.

China will eventually begin loosing control of her muscles as part of the Cushing's disease. I already see the beginnings of this. Sometimes she just trots across the floor and one foot just doesn't plant on the floor. Or coming up steps, sometimes she simply misses a step as if a foot just didn't move quite right. There have been no serious falls or such, but a bump on the nose occasionally happens. And she jumps right up and goes again, with her incomparable verve for life.

Then there is Ali who has always been my regal little prince. Not a lot of common sense at times, but very smart and could learn commands fairly quickly. Where China pranced, he strutted, head high and tail curled over his back with attitude. Last fall, the vet saw just a little bit of cataracts in his eyes. Then on a recent visit to the vet for another issue, the doc was surprised at the growth of the white curtain in my boy's eyes. It has come up astoundingly fast and is progressing rapidly.

He has a degenerative process going on in his lower spine, as many of us do as we age. I'm beginning to see some of the results of that as he no longer stands tall and proud, but usually with his feet slightly spread to balance. Going up and down steps

And then we talked about senility in Ali, as I've mentioned before. It's not just "senility" that is the issue, but the things that come with it. Most remarkably for me is the separation anxiety, as it makes it very hard for me to leave him at home. When I do and he gets anxious, he rips up cardboard boxes, and lacking those he starts in on the "good stuff." I try to take him everywhere that I can, but when I go shopping I would have to leave them in the car. Anything but the most temperate of days makes that risky. Fortunately we live in an area that is so laid back that I can leave the windows down without concern, but still..... I've crated them in the past, but we quit because the crates were so bulky when we had three dogs. I'm trying to reacclimate him to it now, but it is really difficult with the other issues. He sees it as a punishment, I'm afraid, and I don't want him to be afraid of it or me.

A couple weeks ago I began to notice that Ali is now having trouble hearing. The loss of hearing seems to have been sudden and fairly profound. I used to crackle a paper or sigh heavily, and it would wake him from a deep sleep. Now I'm having to shout to wake him or get his attention if he isn't looking at me. I'm sure that adds to his confusion and fears. Not seeing, not hearing, and not remembering at times has to be terribly depressing. And it shows. He doesn't play with his toys nearly as much as he used to. Of course, at his age, some of that is just normal, but this is more than what I call normal aging.

I know I won't have either of them very long. Especially Ali. I see his physical and mental decline heartbreakingly progressing. I've avoided thinking very much about this. I've talked about it, yes, but I don't dwell. It is just too sad and I can't do it or I'll become non-functioning myself. And now, I've just spent almost an hour saying all this. An hour because I kept getting up and walking away from the computer.

This morning I got something in an email from a friend. It is very sweet, very dear, but it reduced me to tears. Real, falling down the face tears. I'm going to put the link for this, but be prepared before you go there, because if you love your four-legged family members like I do, it is going to get under your skin. Just warning you!


  1. It's always hard to lose the ones we love. Pets included. I liked the video. Very touching.

  2. Daisy - It was nice, wasn't it? It just hit me too close to home, I guess.

  3. Awww, Lyn, I am SO sorry you're having to deal with this...right now or ever! Our pets become a part of the family and we love them like family. I KNOW how it is to see a furry family member be sick and eventually pass away. Next month will be 3 years since our first family dog, Jett passed away. She was 11 years old. And TODAY we miss her.

    I know this is hard for you and no other words come to mind. But remember that I'll be thinking about you and your babies.

    I haven't watched the video I haven't phyched myself up for it yet :-). Take care, my friend.

  4. I am so sorry that Ali and China are struggling right now. I know it's hard for you to see. ((hugs))

    That movie was so good. I am going to sent the link to a couple of my co-workers. I know they would really appreciate it.

  5. Dawn - I've said it before ... out beloved 4-leggers should live exactly as long as we do. EXACTLY.

    I can't tell you how many pets I've survived through the years, and it doesn't get easier at all. Yeah, we do miss them a long time, don't we?

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. All received and deeply appreciated.

    Caroline - I was thinking about you and Casey over the weekend. You were alone when you lost him, and now I'm doing this ... 3 times over ... by myself. It is just so hard. Thanks for the hugs.

    The movie was tender, wasn't it? Lump, big giant lump in the throat tender.

  6. {{{{{{{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}

    I'm so, so sorry. :(

  7. Awww, I'm sorry about your babies sweetie. It's so hard to watch them get older. I can literally *feel* your pain from here and I wish I could make it better.

    My *baby* is 2 today so hopefully we will have many many more years with Riley. He is the sweetest dog (shhh, don't tell him I called him that!) ever.

  8. Casey - Thank you so much. It is never easy.

    Traci - Thanks. And I know what you mean about not saying things like that out loud to them. It just goes to their heads, doesn't it?

  9. That is so sad Lynilu. I am so sorry. I look at my little Reilly Bug who will be four in January, he is such a happy, prancy dancy little guy and my heart aches at the thought of losing him.
    Just love them - which you have- and give them the best life you can. It's all you can do but losing them hurts SO MUCH.

  10. Patti - Oh, I know. this is all just so sad. Today, I noticed that little China has apparently lost considerable muscle strength and/or control in her right front paw. She doesn't stand on her toes now, but with the "wrist" bent quite a bit. When she walks, she sorta flips it ahead. It's almost unnoticeable, but it is there. :'(

  11. That did it for me, tears, wonderful.

    I am watching my old friend fade. With the seizures, cataracts, and losing the perky in her step. I don't know what I am going to do, what I do know is this, saying good bye will be the most difficult thing to do.

  12. Pepper - I'm completely with you on all that. If I think about it too much, I can't function. Day by day.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!