Saturday, 13 January 2018

Senile Old Dog

The comment on Facebook last night about the possibility of Tali being senile made me think back. Pepsi definitely went senile , I think Simba was developing some behaviour changes and Finlay, dear Finlay, God only know what was going on with him.
 Pepsi was 14 years old when we had to let him go, he had been blind for 10 years of his life. It was never an issue, he just got on with life. Living with a blind dog is so much easier than living with a deaf one, as long as they are obedient of course. Pepsi knew commands to turn left, turn right and stop .. and for his own safety the stop had to be instant and was trained as a drop on command. In later life he would sit and bark at nothing. He also did this aimless wandering thing where he would just walk and walk around a small section of the top field .. seemingly initially with a purpose,but the longer he did it for the more you realised he was going nowhere and you had to break the cycle and bring him in. When offered his meal he'd start to eat, but then wonder off, if you followed him and re-offered him the meal he would start eating it again as if he'd not been given it in the first place. It's a sad time really, but you laugh or cry and just go with the flow.
Simba was returned to us as a 3 year old dog. You could have described him as a hard, aggressive bastard but it was soon obvious he was a victim of his circumstances. Life hadn't been idea for Simba and the behaviour he'd developed was unacceptable. After a few months of work Simba was ready for rehoming .. but somehow it never happened and he stayed here till we lost him at 12 and a half. I can't really remember many of his old man traits, I just remember he got quite doddery and a little awkward. Maybe some of his earlier behaviour did show their heads again, but at such an old age you forgive and move on.
I often forget about Simba's ear. In old age he needed medical attention after a haematoma in his ear. His ear never went back up and was quite odd looking .. but he didn't care.
Then there was Finlay. The rescue dog, the white dog. Remember Max Von Stephanitz the founder of the breed is quoted as saying "Let them not be white!" The earlier dogs where sable, with black and tan completely taking over and now being the "preferred" colour of breed enthusiasts.
Anyway Finlay arrived as a young adult in 2007, (3 - 4 years old) he was a cracking dog. He fitted in perfectly here, he was kind obedient and affectionate. Breed standard apart, he was a beautiful looking dog with eyes that melted your soul. We had years of absolute devotion from him, but the old dog was a very different animal. What ever happened to the Finlay we knew I'll never know. Over the last 2 years or so of his life he became a distant, difficult dog. I've commented before that I honestly felt he didn't even seem to like me anymore. For me it was hurtful, painful and I have dwelled on it quite a lot. He wouldn't let me pet him, if I tried he walked away. This was a world apart from the dog I'd lived with for years. I would often catch him looking at me, if I looked back and smiled he'd look away. It was all very odd and I can only hope it was senility or that something like a small stroke had affected his normal brain function. Dogs are generally not devious (Bitches are!) and the thought that he would just decide he didn't like me anymore is actually too hurtful to bare.
Of all the dogs that I've had to help on their way to Rainbow bridge Finlay is the only one that I haven't held in my arms as we parted. I stood back and asked Steve to do it as I felt that that's what Finn would want. I stood close, looked into his eyes and told him I loved him. I did feel the old Finlay for whatever reason could get more comfort from Steve than he would from me. I was devastated, heartbroken to not be comforting him, but it was not about me, it had to be about what was right for the old Finlay.  The young dog was my devoted friend, sadly the old Finlay was not!

1 comment:

Lin said...

That was lovely to read and to have known them all x