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    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      Berna's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Belgrade, Serbia
      Thanked: 3384

      How do you cope?

      I've been watching some old videos today of our adventures with Cookie over the years. I've realised how much I've been missing. Apart from the fact that he has become whiter and slower, I live in the constant fear that things will get worse fast. I've noticed muscle atrophy, he had to be castrated because of a tumor, new lipomas pop up (he has 4 for now, 2 large ones and 2 really small ones). For now I am managing his arthritic elbow, he can still go for "long walks" (I walk him up to 40 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and 20 minutes in the evening). He also gets a lot of fountain time and swimming now that the weather has warmed up and his arthritis is not so bad.

      He is turning 12 in July and I know he is old. I wish I could go back in time when he was young and running and jumping and fetching like crazy. Also, I know that he is in good shape considering many other dogs his age who can't walk, stand on their own etc. But I still miss those times when we hiked, biked, fetched, went for long walks that lasted all day.

      I can't get another dog currently because of finances, plus I don't think it would be fair to Cookie. I don't have the time for walking two dogs separately, Cookie wouldn't be able to keep up and the younger dog would be underexercised.

      I really try to enjoy what we have now because I am aware the time will come soon enough when we won't have that either.

      But still, it's tough.

      Two retirees, Cookie and Cheda, both 12, after a senior "playdate" at the fountain (wet and happy):

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    3. #2
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Eastern Ontario Canada
      Thanked: 1845
      It is hard. the last two years were rocky were hard. the last year was VERY hard. I was always on edge. EVERYTHING you said, i worried and stressed about it all. I am sorry I don't have any word of wisdom that makes it better. I just had to have a few people I could vent to daily (almost daily) and gritt my teeth and hug Rocky.

      Everyone says "just enjoy them", "live in the moment" but it is HARD. the weekly ups and downs, seeing the constant downward trend. Every month their world getting smaller and smaller. I worked hard at "living in the moment" but failed most of the time.

      Always evaluating their quality of life (especially as their abilities really failed and their world became tiny). And not to mention MY quality of life. Always stressed/anxious. I couldn't go anywhere. Didn't want to go anywhere. couldn't do any of the social dog-dog things I used to as he couldn't do them and I sure wasn't leaving him alone. The strain on my body as I helped him up and down stairs, then on walks in the winter so he didn't fall. and so on.

      A big part of the reason I am holding off on a dog is - i am still recovering. I am so so so anxious and nervous around dogs. Any panting and I freak out. I dog sat a friend's dog and he was a gem but stressed. I barely slept worried about his breathing and that he would bloat or injure his heart. Or that another dog's leg was injured. I over react to everything, and that isn't fair to my next dog.

      But really, sounds like Cookie is doing great, that is a ton of walking and adventures, he can still get out and about, that's more than many pets get in their younger days even if it is slower! In the last months just getting around the block (like...10mins?) was a big deal with rocky.


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    5. #3
      Senior Dog
      Jeff's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Grand Rapids, MI
      Thanked: 2158
      Well, I can not really offer much comfort. Honestly it will be difficult. Probably one of the most difficult days in your life is approaching, hopefully not for a long time though. All you can do really now is love him as much as you can and enjoy your time, try not to think about it, however also do not forget about yourself. Taking care of yourself is something Cookie would want as well. As much care as you have given him over the years he would want you to take that much care of yourself as well.

      My First dog I got when I was 7 we grew up together. A lot of the first things in my life was shared with her. My First passenger in my first car, my first house guest when I moved out. The one that watched over me when I was home sick, or first to comfort me a a teen with heartbreak from girl. Getting over the loss of her was hard and took years. Every person is different though, some get another dog right away, some wait a while, some wait a very long time. The next dog you get, you may not have the same bond as you did with Cookie, it may be better it may be worse, it will be different. Only you can make that choice by what your heart tells you and how you feel.

      There is no right or wrong answer only your own path you walk in life. Sometimes that path has company, sometimes the path is alone, unfortunately that is the way of walking your path in life. You will, however, always be able to look backwards on your path in life and see the trails you and Cookie blazed together and remember him always. He will be with you always as for a time his path was your path and this forever changed the direction of your life. You may not ever know how much your life, your heart, has been changed by Cookie, but it has, all for the better. So no matter what you will carry him and his spirit with you forever in life.

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    7. #4
      Senior Dog
      kimbersmom's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Williamsburg, Virginia
      Thanked: 1906
      It's tough. Years ago, I read something about how a dog has three stages: Young Dog, Good Dog, and Old Dog. If I could have pressed the 'pause' button on Kimber when she was 5 or 6, I would have. That Good Dog stage was awesome. But I try to reframe it as each stage having its bright spots. Young Kimber was so much work, but she was also at her goofiest and most adventurous. Almost all of our favorite Kimber stories are from her first 3 years. Old Dog was the easiest. We still took her out regularly, but the demands on our time were minimal. She was at her most loving then, too.

      It sounds like Cookie is still having plenty of fun and is enjoying a great quality of life. It's okay to grieve what is no longer possible; I did a lot of that after Kimber's spinal injury. But I drew a lot of strength from her: Dogs live in the moment. Every now and then she'd get a little frustrated that her body wasn't doing what it used to, but she never let it slow her down much or impede on her labrador joy of being with her people and loving life.

      Hugs to you and Cookie.
      Stormageddon, Princess of Darkness, aka "Stormy"
      Birthday 9-13-18, Gotcha Day 11-11-18
      Hidden Content

      Miss Kimber, CGC, 6/15/2005-1/27/2018 forever in our hearts

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    9. #5
      barry581's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Thanked: 5548
      Having been through this many times, I can't say it gets any easier. All I can say is to enjoy every day you have with them, and make the most of that time. It's never, ever long enough.

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      Berna (06-13-2018), Mollysmomma (06-14-2018)

    11. #6
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Thanked: 3779
      Amazingly, I'm on dog four, and not had to go through this too much. I was away at University when Teddy got really old. His last year was his age 16.5 and my first year away. Whisper didn't age, barely slowed down and then just - went in about three days at 14.5. Jet put her back out at age 12.5 and we were told to cut her exercise in half. That meant one hour walks, no hills, rough ground or deep snow. Not much more than many dogs get to do their whole lives anyway, though it was a slow down for us and she did slow down more. Jet was the hardest. Oban now, he hurt his elbow at age 6. But he doesn't know that. It's not hard yet but he's 10.5 and not up to the acitivity any of the previous three were at this age. Of course Oban scared us to death with his near death from Lymphangiectasia, so I guess that counts, that was very hard. I worry about him.

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    13. #7
      Senior Dog
      SunDance's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Ellicott City, MD
      Thanked: 2508
      I've been through this with so many dogs and cats and it never gets easier to accept the slowing down, especially with dogs.

      I have no wisdom to send your way....but I'm sending many good thoughts for you and Cookie to have more wonderful time together than you might be anticipating. At his pace, of course. :-)
      Hidden Content

      Sunnie: gotcha day 03/08/09; birth unknown but given 07/01/02

      Danny: The Sundance Kid....Sunnie's boy....birth 03/31/09 (in my living room)

      Barb (ID formerly "Baffle")

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      Berna (06-13-2018)

    15. #8
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2014
      Thanked: 2254
      I just try to frame it in thanks. It's hard, but I'm thankful for the days, weeks, moments. You can't have the bad without the good. It's a trade off. I guess I'm pragmatic about it in a way. Linus will be tough. My first true performance partner. Not to mention, that he thinks I hung the moon and stars. It's always about me and while I don't think he loves me more than my other dogs, I know he NEEDS me more than the other dogs. So, it's different. I won't let him down. It's all about him. It's not about me. So, it's different.

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      Berna (06-13-2018), Charlotte K. (06-12-2018)

    17. #9
      Senior Dog
      Jollymolly's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2014
      Thanked: 2188
      This is hard and brings up loads of fear for me. Cassie is 11 this year and I can see her hips are starting to cause her problems. 10 years ago I lost 3 in 6 months and it was awful.

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      Berna (06-13-2018)

    19. #10
      House Broken
      Daisy and Miia's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      New Jersey
      Thanked: 199
      Right now, is the first time that I have 3 dogs each close in age. Miia will be 12 in October, Honey just turned 11 in the spring and Paige will be 10 in December. They are all slowing down and getting gray, and starting to have the small issues that come with getting older. I worry about them more and constantly watch to see if there is any problems with walking and moving around.

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      Berna (06-13-2018), Mollysmomma (06-15-2018)

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