Thursday, May 16, 2013

Late Spring and Aging Dogs

Spring finally arrived in the Northern Plains!   Actually, we skipped Spring entirely this year and went right to Summer.  Seriously!   Two weeks ago we had high temperatures in the upper 30's and lower 40's.    Less than a week later, it was in the 90's!!   Fortunately, that didn't last too long, and now we're enjoying 70-degree days.  People who don't live here can't understand how we can be dealing with flooding one week and wild fires the next.   While I'm not a climatologist, I think it has to do with the fact that things haven't greened up yet.   The snow melt ran off, we haven't had a good rain and the top soil and brush is tinder dry.   We're supposed to get rain this weekend and that should help a lot.

On the home front, the girls are really starting to show their advanced age; both of them - and in different ways.   Princess (14) sleeps a LOT and, for the first time ever, isn't eating well.   She seems to be hard of hearing, but it's hard to tell because her hearing has always been very selective!    The one thing that she really enjoys is going to work with me.   She's not allowed in the building, but she is quite content to spend the day sleeping in the car.  At lunch time I take her out for a walk or we go out for lunch together.   She's been going with me most of the Spring, but it's starting to get too warm for her to be in the car all day.   I'll continue to take her with me on cool, overcast days.  

Dee Dee (almost 13) is really struggling with mobility - especially in her back legs.  They just don't work anymore.   Our wonderful neighbor, Mike, built a ramp that she can use to get to the front door.   She was cautious at first, but is starting to get the hang of it and is proud of herself when she can get to the top step without help!   Dee Dee loves to swim so I was eager to see how that would go, now that the weather is nicer.  Last night I took them to Whiskey Creek in Barnesville.   My heart sank when Dee Dee got in the water and wouldn't venture out more than a couple feet.   But a few minutes later, she found her stride - and her confidence - and within a few minutes she was swimming like a champ, going out to retrieve a stick I threw in the water.   She had so much fun and didn't want to leave!    I was soooo happy to see her happy and we'll be making many trips there this summer.  
As difficult as it is to see the girls struggling with the challenges of aging, I am also trying to embrace this stage of their lives and enjoy the time that we have left together.   They are more mellow and cuddly than they used to be, falling asleep on my lap or snuggling in bed in the morning.   I have started to save their hair when I brush them, and I burrow my head deep into their furry bodies to savor the smell.   I love them so, sooo much .... I never want to let them go!