We saved Mr. Dog’s life by adopting him when we did. Two days after bringing him home,he had a gran mal epileptic seizure. We had just moved into our Santa Rosa home a week prior and I still had unpacking to do. Mr. Dog started acting oddly, blindly staggering into boxes, walking in circles, finally falling down into a full fledged gran mal. Fortunately for him, I knew what I was looking at. If the seizure had happened when he was incarcerated in the pound, they never would have put him up for adoption.
Our vet prescribed phenobarbital and eventually we had his seizures under control. Then he started getting hot spots and losing hair! Serendipitously, one of the patients at the clinic I worked for, breeds Tibetan Terriers. She said that TTs are notoriously allergic to wheat and suggested a lamb and rice dog food for him. The office manager fed her prize Yorkies a raw diet, but I felt that was going a bit too far. I didn’t want to be one of those crazy ladies who made special food for their dog!
When we moved to Yucatan, I became one of those crazy ladies who make dog food. I’ve gotten really good at it. I now have a system which I’ll share with you if you’re interested. But not right now.
I wrote about Mr. Dog’s aging, we thought that he was going blind and deaf. Turns out, he was just ignoring us. I’m being flip, due to Alzheimer’s disease, he simply wasn’t processing what he saw. As his dementia grew, he withdrew more and more into his own world. Finding everything disorienting, Mr. Dog started seeking corners to wedge his head into. He would stand staring into walls — watch
ing home movies in his head for hours. He began to circle endlessly; exhibiting pre-seizure activity without the seizures. He forgot how to go through doors. We’d find him in a puddle of urine staring at the door. When he was outside, a cat could walk right past him and he wouldn’t give chase. Our laughing dog stopped laughing.
We talked to the vet, we did research on aging pets. We resolved that Mr. Dog would live with us as long as possible. We couldn’t leave him alone or he would get into trouble. Even if we thought we had all the cords taped up out of reach, he would manage to bring lamps, tables and other heavy objects crashing down. He even managed to push over a sheet of plywood in the bodega by trying to get behind it. He mostly slept, only waking up for meals. This past week, he had gotten to the point that we had to coax him to eat. He would circle around a couple of times before settling down to eat. Sunday, he got so bad that we had to monitor him or he would push the food off his plate. He no longer could eat out of a dog bowl, the sides defeated him. Not only would he push his food off his plate, he would stand in it.
Monday night, Husband found him crying in the laundry room, twisted into weird shape. He couldn’t get up by himself and was frightened. His back legs started failing him. He no longer smiled, played, nor enjoyed life. He was either asleep, confused or frightened. We made the hard decision to call the vet.
I kissed him on his head and Pepper, aka Mr. Dog, went to sleep. I am crying as I write this, I feel such a sense of loss. We lived together 13 years. I don’t know what the first 3 years of his life was like, but I do know the last 13 were wonderful.