Sometimes our pups take center stage above all else!
by Maile Hulihan
A good friend came over today with a carrot cake she made to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary—the same kind of cake my husband and I ate at our wedding reception.
We enjoyed the delicious cake for lunch and fed a small slice to our dog, Cassie because she’s trained us to always leave a few bites for her. Then I took our 14-year-old puppy to the vet for her yearly checkup where I learned that even a single raisin could cause kidney failure in some dogs—and the piece she ate probably had two or three raisins in it. He did a blood test, saying it’s likely too early to tell if her kidneys are going, that we should repeat the test in a couple of days if she starts drinking & urinating more than usual.
Then he opened her mouth and saw a small boil on her gum that could be evidence of a tooth infection so she may need to have the tooth extracted. Only dental X-rays would tell, which she’d have to put under for, so perhaps we should just get her teeth cleaned too as the tartar build-up was bad for her health anyway. That’d cost about $1,000 on top of the $350 for today’s visit.
I asked him to check her eyes as she sometimes doesn’t see treats that are right in front of her. And her ears as well because our son is convinced she’s going deaf rather than ignoring our calls to her. Yup, she’s nearly blind in one eye and sight is impaired in the other eye due to cataracts. The remedy? A $7,000+ surgery. Her hearing is going too, but not a lot can be done about that. Even blind and deaf dogs are happy, he said, because they can still smell, and will know our loving touch.
On the way out, I stopped at a poster entitled, “How Old Is Your Pet Really?” and traced the chart to discover that Cassie is 78 years old. I left the vet’s office feeling guilty over the cake treat, sad at her physical failings and a little bewildered. When had my baby become a senior citizen?
The vet called 30 minutes later with the blood test results. Cassie’s kidney function is fine, but she tested positive for Lyme disease, and there are two schools of thought on whether to treat her now or wait until she’s symptomatic which usually happens 5-6 months after exposure. Did she seem lethargic?
No! She’s the picture of health, except for that seeing & hearing stuff. It truly does surprise me that age has caught up with our dog. She still bounces around like a puppy! She’s been a svelte 21-22 lbs all of her adult life. She’ll do a 5-mile woods walk several times a week.
The vet told me we’d need to weigh the cost of these treatments against her expected lifespan, which is about 15 years for cockapoos. What??? I read a 15-20 year lifespan was the norm when we got Cassie & I expected her to beat the two-decade mark.
I booked her to get her teeth X-rayed & cleaned on Monday. And I’m going to do some research into cataract surgery. I just googled cockapoo lifespan and some cruel internet goblin is now maintaining it’s 12-15 years, but that the “American Cockapoo Club more generously estimates the breed’s life expectancy at 14 to 18 years.”
I’m thinking a dog gym membership might be a good investment. She’s already on a no-grain diet and meditates every day before she starts snoring. I give her weekly massages. Anyone got more ideas? I can’t bear the thought of not having Cassie around for a few more years. I’m determined to prove my vet wrong.
Maybe it’s not so romantic, but tonight we’re taking Cassie out to dinner with us so we can celebrate the myriad of ways she’s enriched our family life. We’ve got more than one loves of our lives.