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Aging in Mérida

Senility has raised it’s head in our household. Mr. Dog is getting old.
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He has lived more than half of his fourteen years in the Yucatan. Lately, he gets confused easily, sometimes he forgets which doors open inward and which lead out, to the detriment of our screens.

His legs sometimes betray him, they clip obstacles which just a year ago he would have leapt gracefully over. There’s an occasional tremor in his rear legs, an instability when going down stairs.
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We suspect that Mr. Dog’s vision is failing too. Playing with his favorite squeaky toy, he cannot locate it when it gets too far away.

Sometimes, he seems to forget that he already ate dinner, though that may just be his dog nature manifesting itself.

He sleeps more these days. At 9:30 pm he gets up from his nap and heads for the bedroom. Glancing back at us, asking if we’re coming, he sits in front of the bedroom door waiting to be let in. He is the first to go bed and the last to leave the bedroom. For most of his life his interest in what we are doing kept him up as long as someone was awake and his eagerness to start the day had him not only up at 6am with Husband but sometimes he was already out and about before Husband even opened his eyes.
He is still at his best in the morning. His happy, puppy like behavior and enthusiasm for life is  most evident in the morning hours.
Lately, his steel gray coat has gathered a sprinkling of white hairs, and his back sways a little, giving him a little old dog shape. Similar to the potbelly of a thin but elderly man.
Complaining to our Veterinarian that Mr. Dog was slowing down, he observed that “No one lives forever, and who really would want to?”. A fatalistic philosophy, but a realistic one. As long as Mr. Dog is happy and not in pain, we will continue to enjoy our time together, because let’s face it we’re getting old too.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!

14 comments

  1. Alinde, my sister has an African Grey too.I think that there are many bird lovers in Merida who would love to take your bird in if it ever should be necessary. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. I removed your double reply. I don’t know why that happens but it has happened to me too.

    regards,
    Theresa

  2. Thanks for the post, Theresa. I am suffering with my “little sweetie,” age 16,” who now has trouble sitting and standing. (I’m about to inquire for Deramax, a med for arthritic dogs.)

    You’re right–had I not have been such a bird lover, I’d not have bought my African Grey, for I now worry about what will happen to her if I don’t wake up some morning. As we see (en los calles), dogs and cats can manage for awhile without food; but a bird, not as easy. I had a system worked out with a lovely neighbor, but she moved to a smaller house.

    But I’ll add–pets CAN adapt to new owners; it’s probably harder for us humans to see their aging. “The blind leading the blind?”, I often think.

    And the question of “when” to end their suffering? IF only they could talk to us!

  3. bb6963, We were dog sitting for a friend and Mr.Dog would play with the visiting youngster for a little while then go off and take a nap. He did like having company though. It does point up his aging but I think it perked him up too.

    CrazyRita, Miss Daisy Dog sounds like she is just a few steps ahead of Mr. Dog. He is happy though, and always curious as to what we are up to like her. He is more Husband’s dog than mine, sticking by his side and cheerfully following him room to room.

    John & Alan,at your age? Our 80 year old neighbors don’t have a dog for that reason (they dog sit Mr Dog instead) but you have a long time to go before you need to worry about outliving a pet!
    I do agree that it’s hard that they age faster, but then again I cannot imagine committing to a parrot who might live 50 years.

    Norm, When we go to the park and let Mr Dog off leash, we have to keep an eye on him. He sometimes gets disoriented and can’t find us. Husband calls him, and we can see Mr Dog perking up when he realizes where we are hiding (in plain view).

    Joanna, Hobbsie doesn’t look ready to throw in the towel just yet! He seems to have gotten a second wind, I remember that he was unwell for awhile. Maybe he would like a kitten companion like BB’s cat?

    Teresa in Japan, leaving my pets behind would just break my heart. I understand that yours went to good homes, but it would so hard to do. Remember we are the people who drove for 5 days rather than put Mr. Dog in a crate.

    Steve, thank you. I know you understand perfectly.

    Contessa, if he is in pain, he isn’t showing it. He is a good dog, we love him and plan on having a while longer with him.

    To Everyone, thank you for sharing your stories and encouraging words.

    regards,
    Theresa

  4. I agree, until he is in pain just enjoy every moment.

  5. And these will be some of your finest days with him. I know.

  6. interesting reading about mr. dog and all the others. we had to leave our jack (russell terrier)who is 16 in the states. it’s very hard to bring animals to japan due to the length of quarantine and the fact that it’s hard to find a place who will rent with pets. he now lives with his former owner (we had him for 10 years) and seems to be doing pretty well for his age. but he is having a bit of trouble walking, he gets doggie glucosamine, and he is totally deaf and we believe going blind. we know he is happy and well kept in his new home but we sure do miss him as well as our 3 cats. hope mr. dog has some good times left. my biggest prayer for our pets is that they go in their sleep. it sure is hard having to put them down.

    have a great weekend!

    teresa en nagoya

  7. Ay Theresa, it is hard. My big old orange cat Hobbsie is 12. Since the day I rescued him from the jaws of a big brown mut (literally) he has been my cat. Aloof with everone else, he likes to sit on my lap, but I have to lift him up now… He has “kitty senility” but for the most part, I think he’s still pretty happy. However, like you, I know the sad day cometh…

  8. I have two old dogs, 18 and 14 years old, our walks are getting a lot slower. We worry about the coyotes getting them, we do not let them out of our sight anymore. The older one has to be kept on a leash, it can’t see, hear or smell anymore but it still likes to run a bit-wares me out when it’s frisky.

  9. Sometimes I think it is a little unfair that our dogs age 7 times faster than we do. Our two are already 4 and I get sad if I think that they have possibly lived half their life already. At our age we have to consider that a young dog could outlive us. When our two are gone, we will most likely adopt an older dog. The thought of leaving a beloved animal behind is simply unthinkable.

  10. He’s adorable. We sure get attached to our feline and canine members of the family. I just recently lost my companion of 19.5 years Mr. Sam Katze. Miss Daisy Dog is 15 and nearly deaf and her eyesight isn’t the best. Since she can’t hear or see me, I am constantly tripping over her. But she is always by my side.

  11. Just recently I’ve been noticing that my faithful 19 year old companion cat has begun to age. Age has crept up on her slowly, “on little cat feet,” as Carl Sandburg might write. But it wasn’t until the cat who came to dinner arrived, a dashing, year old male, that I noticed the evidence. He has been encroaching on her territory and she, never particularly social to begin with, has developed a stunning glare which she uses on him and then on me for deigning to acknowledge his presence. He’s a dandy who grooms himself constantly, something she has now begun to do after a long hiatus. Trying to get her to play tag, he energetically pokes her, then races to the end of the house and back. She glares and crawls into her personal hiding place. While he’s out cattin’, she has made a few trial runs to prove to herself that she can still do it. What she can’t still do is leap to the highest flat surface in a high ceilinged room. He does and then watches her from his perch on high. Ten years ago, she would have been up there. And I realize there are a number of things I did 10 years ago that by the time we moved here 7 years later, I don’t do anymore either.
    bb

  12. Debbie, I am amazed at how many people have dogs who look like him. As a mid size model being 14 is pretty old, but little dogs can and do live into their late teens. I wish you many more years with Mickey!

    Mikey, amen to that! eloquently said.

    regards,
    Theresa

  13. With a few “tweeks”, this post could easily have been about me!

    Let’s all grow old gracefully, calmly, peacefully, and with dignity.

  14. Mr. Dog is very cute, even in his old age. He reminds me of our little shaggy grey dog, Mickey, who is also showing some of the same signs of aging, at 10.

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