I almost forgot that a post every day means every day. Even on the weekends when I'm doing nothing and haven't touched my computer since yesterday. And here it is, Saturday night, and I am blogging.
Wow, I am so cool.
Jason asked what I was going to blog about today and I told him that I have no idea. "Give me a topic," I begged. He blustered for a bit and then said "Arthritic dogs."
Our dogs turned 11 last month. We've had them since they were 7 weeks old. We've been told in the past that a typical lifespan for dogs of their size (they're considered a large breed since they're half Lab and half Bassett) is about 10-12 years. Well, we're right in the middle of that.
They've really aged a lot in the last year, but Neitzsche (Jason named him) is getting the worst of it. He's developed really severe arthritis in his hind left leg and has a lot of trouble walking now. Caesar has had arthritis in his front right shoulder for years now but it's never really gotten bad--it's almost like he developed it and it's remained at that level since then. It doesn't seem to affect him much at all. On the other hand, Neitzsche really doesn't put weight on his leg at all if he can help it, which has raised issues for us about treating him.
There's really very little to be done. He takes medication now but his liver isn't healthy enough for the typical anti-inflammatories, so we're doing what we can without the several-hundred-dollars-per-month meds that our vet recommended. As much as we would like to be able to do everything like that, the sad reality is that we don't know if Jason will have a job come March and we're uncomfortable making the decision to spend hundreds or even more between now and then treating an 11-year old dog.
We're also uncomfortable NOT making that decision. The dogs have been our babies since less than 5 months after we got married. I want to be able to say "Damn the cost, he'll have the best!" but the vet told me that she's not even sure they'll help him regain much function of that leg. The treatment would require multiple injections a week.
I think back to when the dogs were puppies, small enough to run all over us. When Neitzsche stole my bologna sandwich one day and then sat in front of the couch with it hanging out both sides of his mouth, acting as if he were saying, "What bologna sandwich? I've never seen a bologna sandwich. You should ask Caesar." Watching them both chase the light from a laser pointer back and forth along the courtyard behind our first apartment each evening before we went to bed. Their resigned acceptance every time we brought home orphaned puppies that we were fostering. The curiosity they had when we brought Patrick home, and their complete nonchalance when we brought home Melkamu (who was terrified of them for all of about 24 hours). The trainer at Pet.Smart who basically admitted that our dogs were some of the most stubborn she'd ever met--they know all of their commands but will only do them when they feel like it. They've turned up their noses at treats many times simply because they just didn't feel like sitting at that moment.
And Neitzsche is sitting next to me on the couch right now, pushing on my lap desk so that I will move the computer and pet him.
Gotta go--there is a soft dog to pet, and I've just started to realize that won't last forever.