This is me and my pretty puppy Layla circa summer 2011. She is my fiancé’s dog of 13 years, and needless to say, she’s starting to show her age in her lack of energy, and what I thought were just age related mobility issues.
She was going through a really rough phase right before Christmas this year, and my in laws took her to the vet, because we thought she was going to have to be put down, and neither of us could have coped with the guilt of doing so.
Things turned out well, and they said she just had a touch of arthritis and a urinary tract infection. Meds to treat both, life goes on as usual with no changes in her diet, exercise, or anything.
All well and good I thought.
Until this week, when she started showing signs of a UTI again, and her mobility was absolutely horrible (her back legs just go slack when she triesto get up.) So, I made a vet appointment, grew a set, and took her this morning.
She had in fact another UTI, but what was most upsetting to me was that she put on 10 pounds in the past 3 months. I got a lashing from the vet about that. Which I needed.
My world has revolved so much around my fitness and health, that I neglected to even think that I was contributing to our dog’s discomfort and declining health by not putting my foot down sooner and telling the people in my life that they are literally killing my dog by feeding her not only table scraps (but to my horror, and lack of knowledge, an entire meal of human food at dinner time on top of her regular allotted food that I meticulously weigh out and measure for her.)
This weight gain has contributed immensely to her arthritis problem, making the medication I’ve been giving her veritably useless because the dose is too small for a dog her size.
I’m pissed off for a handful of reasons. One at the people who can’t stop feeding her food she shouldn’t eat for whatever reason. She’s a dog for fuck sake. If she loves you any less because you don’t give her candy and ice cream, then she must freaking hate me.
I’m also pissed off that I let this “just let her live out her last years comfortable and happy,” mentality – that when humans do it I call it “giving up,” and “sucking at life” permeate my brain. She’s not comfortable – she can barely walk. She might be “happy” but dogs don’t require a lot to be happy – food, safety, love.
So as per my vet’s advice, we are making some changes to the old girls life.
More walking, strict diet, and adequan injections to help with her arthritis.
Basically rehabbing the crap out of her so she can actually enjoy the last years of her life, and not just be the thing that lays in the middle of the floor and only gets up when we drag/carry her outside to pee.
I feel like a negligent parent. I don’t know why I just listened to everyone around me and didn’t let my healthy lifestyle carry over to hers, but I guess I try not to inflict my ideology on anyone – man or beast, because I feel health is a personal choice.
So I might have to be the asshole for awhile to improve the quality of my dog’s life. My mother in law already told me her husband will continue to feed her whatever he wants, which makes me happy that we are in the process of moving. I know he loves that dog, he just doesn’t know that what he is doing is killing her. Definitely a generation difference thing going on there.
Anyway, moral of the story, my dog is going to get better, and I’m going to help her, because I have the right tools and a great vet.
Also – no matter what state of health you’re in, it’s never too late to turn a trainwreck around. Get advice from a qualified person, do what they tell you, and don’t just sit back and enjoy a lesser quality of life because you think you are too far gone to make things happen. You aren’t. You’re just lazy.
I’m happy things are going to improve. I am disappointed in myself for letting it get this bad, but then again, I did the same thing to myself. This time around, though, should be easier… Because it’s not a matter of keeping myself out of the drive through window and getting my ass into the gym. I already got that. This time around its a daily walk around the block and measuring out 2 cups of food for a dog. I am so excited to get my happy healthy puppy back!