I have quite a few pets. But this is about my oldest doggy, my little boy Killer the Yorkie, and my oldest kitty, the old lady Tigerlilly aka Lilly.
Lilly is 14 years old, healthy as can be, but practically deaf. Since realising her hearing was going downhill, I've started implementing my own version of sign language when 'talking' to her. It is amazing how well she responds to my signs for 'get your food', 'come here', and 'want to go peepee'? Lilly is also Killer's 'mother', as she took to him the minute she saw him and 'raised' him - he was a rescue puppy from a puppy mill.
And then Mr. K. le York. My little man. He's 12 and totally blind in the one eye. His other eye, according to the vet, discerns between dark and light. He does not operate very well in the dark, so, before going to bed at night, I make sure to have the lights on all the way to the door before telling him to go do his business outside before we go to bed. It's amazing how he will trot towards where it is dark and stop and wait for me to put on the next light. It is equally amazing how he responds to my voice. Just to let you know, he understands EVERYTHING I say. I don't give orders, I talk to him. For example, "Killer, mommy wants to go to the kitchen" (he will be sitting on my lap). He will get off my lap and go lay in my spot waiting till I return. Then I'll say "Killer, mommy wants to sit down". He will then get up, wait for me to be seated, and take up his spot again.
The above may give the impression he doesn't do anything but sit in my lap the whole day - not so! Even with his disability, he is still the alpha male to two German shepherds (each 8 years old now) and two Bassets - one 9 and the other 2. AND he is still the first to raise hell when some or other unknown person comes knocking at the gate. THere is nothing wrong with his hearing.
But here is the thing. Our pets are no longer young. Zoe, the one Basset, had a difficult life before we got her at the ripe old age of 7, and along with the German shepherds, is showing her age, while Killer and Lilly - well - they are spry, but.......you know...
Years ago (before the German shepherds came into my life) I had three Rhodesian RIdgebacks. Man were they wonderful dogs! The best! But they were each 6 months apart in age. In other words, the oldest was a year older than the youngest, with one smack back inbetween. And you know what...they each died six months of each other. They were 11 when they died - a very good age for this breed.
So now I sit with a situation in which I know my children may leave me one at a time, and pretty soon at that. Please note they all get plenty of love and attention. But out of all of them, Killer is my favorite. He is my constant companion and shadow. He never leaves me for a minute - unless it is to bare his teeth at some poor person trying to get my attention at the gate, or someone helping out with something or other on the property (he bites strangers)...at which point I have to lock him inside.
If something had to happen to one of my children I would be devastated, as I always am. If something had to happen to Killer...I don't know how my family would be able to handle me. I just don't see myself without my little shadow.
But then...I've been in this situation before. It is the price you pay for having fur babies.
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I am so touched by your post. I am also blown away by all the animals in your family!
I am in a townhouse with no fenced yard, so I only have dog. His name is Jack Daniel and he is a rescue that we got when he was about 2. He's a Jack Russell and maybe Whippet/ Italian Greyhound. He looks a lot like the dog in the old RCA ads ("His Master's Voice).
Sadly, he's over 14 years old now. His hearing is going, he has small cataracts but his sense of smell is still going strong! If I start to make a sandwich, no matter where he is in the apartment, he shows up. He's having trouble going up and down stairs but still does it many times a day. He seems happy and pain-free but he is slowing slipping away from us. I've had dogs my whole life but this one is very special to us. Since I was away for 10 weeks, helping out family members, he follows me everywhere since my return. (Mary had a little dog, his ears were white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, Jack was sure to go).
It's very hard when they are so aged. They depend on us to do the right thing at the end but it's so hard to face.
A Dog's Perspective ....
Dogs (and cats) Never Die. They are Sleeping in Your Heart.
"Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to ‘death’, don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say: ‘No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.’ Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs are. They walk.
It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.
However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.
When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: ‘Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.’
When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)
Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.
But don’t get fooled. They are not ‘dead.’ There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.
I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.”
Wendy C wrote:..
Dogs (and cats) Never Die. They are Sleeping in Your Heart.......
......I have to go cry now.”
I must have a very large heart... It's got space for sleeping dogs and cats and horses.
Irene, do you know the quote, "Proof that God does not exist is the lifespan of a dog."
My own personal take on your story: It all sounds very crackers! But SOO much love. You go, girl! (Speaking of crackers, I'm going to read your story to Bailey, who is my empty nest mongrel -- I call her Scooby Nuisance -- so what does that say about me?)
There was a man at the local dog park in Ithaca whose thing was to adopt geriatric dogs. He always had three or four (usually big) dogs, all of them in their eighties and nineties, so to speak. Boy, he was a local saint. He just loved his dogs and he only took them in when they were blind, lame, stiff, deaf, kidney disease, hip problems -- just a saint. I haven't seen him in a long while, though.
Everyone seems to think they are god's gift to dogs -- but I give that trophy to you and the local saint who loves his geriatric doggers.
Yes Irene, you'll suffer when they will go away, but think how much happiness you have given them. A full life with a loving "mommy", and that should be a motive for crying with tendress in your heart and not with (only) sorrow.
A big hug to you and your pets.