Saturday, June 25, 2011

We're All Aging

Just some of us are doing it faster than others. Not me, of course. I retain the mind of a child, and no, I’m not going to follow that up with “in a jar on my desk,” though I’m sorely tempted. That should give one indication that I’m not aging gracefully.

One of my dogs, Honey, the charming half chow half retriever I’ve had for what seems like forever, is aging. So far, she’s been rather graceful about it. As graceful as a dog can be, anyway. Like me, she likes her sleep, and, also like me, she still likes to play. Ash, the four year old dog, can run circles around her, and me, but she doesn’t mind so much. She’ll wait until he’s exhausted himself and then pounce on him. She’s still the lead dog, the head honcho, the big kahuna, despite him now being slightly taller. In the middle of the night Ash will wake me up (by staring at me intently) so I can escort him past the big scary lump of dog standing between him and the water bowl. In the morning, as they rush down the stairs together, he jumps all over her, attempting to impede her progress and start play time, but when she’s between him and his food or water, he dares not cross her.

Yesterday when I got up I found Honey, as usual, sound asleep in the bathroom. She falls asleep on her dog bed at night, then during the night she decides the bathroom floor is a better place and moves. Sometimes after this happens Ash then gets off the bed, sometimes off the pillow we share since he’s lately decided he’d rather sleep at my head than my feet, and takes possession of the dog bed, but never while Honey’s around to see him do it.

And yes, I know, what kind of person lets a 60 pound dog sleep on their pillow? Well, now you know.

Honey wasn’t moving much, even when I called her name. No movement. I got closer. “Honey?”

Still nothing.



So I reached down to pet her, and scared the crap out of her.

Not literally, obviously.

We’ve been testing her hearing ever since, and it’s sort of not there, at least not on one side. One day we have a perfectly healthy dog and the next day she’s deaf. She’s on antibiotics for an abscess in one ear flap and is getting twice a day ear drops, which she’s had before, but she’s never been so . . . deaf.
How can I keep telling my dog how wonderful she is if she can’t hear me? I do it anyway, because I’m not sure what she can hear and what she can’t, and I’m not taking any chances. I used to be able to say her name and her tail would wag, even if the rest of her wouldn’t move, but now, not so much.

This morning she raced downstairs with Ash, out to her favorite place, the back yard, where she could run around and lay in the grass, which is her favorite hobby. She acts like she’s fine, but when I went out to give her another antibiotic I had to go find her around the corner instead of calling her. She seemed to hear me when I got close, but it’s hard to tell when she’s not speaking to me.

Just for the record, my dog has never spoken to me, so this is nothing new.

She’s pretty healthy, overall, for a dog her age. Just two weeks ago the vet said so. Nothing wrong with her, other than that ear thing. I’m hoping to delay her aging process for a long time. Getting her a puppy four years ago helped – I’m certain she got younger when she had a puppy to keep up with.

(Perhaps as we age we should get younger companions since keeping up with them will keep us active? I covered that already by marrying my husband.)

We shower her with love and affection and play time. And in return, she doesn’t bite me when I startle her because she didn’t hear me coming. It’s a fair exchange. Beyond that, we don’t think about it. We’ve got too much present going on to think about the future.


  1. I promise not to spook her when I get there. :->


  2. I, too, have missed the wagging tails when Metro and Tawny went deaf. It is bittersweet to have an aging dog, but much more sweet than bitter. Beautiful, Monique.