Tonight, we took my dad’s dogs for a walk. This is a feat since Jake, aged 15, is hard to get out of the house these days. While he had to be coaxed into the outing, he seemed to enjoy it for the most part. Slow at first, he gained momentum with each mailbox and shrub he encountered.
A couple of months ago, we thought he was a goner….but the diagnostics said he was ok, save a touch of senility that went beyond normal senior moments. He’d head downhill, but there was no way to determine the rate.
Jake is a shitzu poodle combo who sports a white beard and tuxedo vest on his jet black coat. He came to us after my dad died last April. To be honest, he’s never been my favorite. A perpetual curmudgeon, I’ve mostly thought he was difficult to love.
He was accompanied by his cuter, younger, more lovable sister, Taylor, a 6 pound Yorkshire hybrid. With her cute blonde curls, she’s easy to adore.
Neither of these pooches were with my dad from birth…he took both of them when their original owners, both of whom loved their respective pups, could no longer care for them. You’d never know he hadn’t had them his whole life by the way he concerned himself with and doted on them. After he died, their future was the family’s first order of business. In the end, we became their guardians…and were content in our capability to fulfill our new role.
Enter canine dementia.
Jake celebrated a birthday in January that I was sure would never come. He began the year with the stamina of a puppy. But he is slipping. He can no longer find his way around the house and has become very forgetful. Tonight, he ran face first into a mailbox pole before we could stop him.
When my dad was dying, his constant concern was Jake and Taylor. Tonight, I’m convinced that Jake is in the twilight of his life and that our time with him is nearing the end.
We didn’t get the chance to care for either of our parents into old age. When I see Jake age, I sense the challenge we didnt experience first hand with them.
We are determined to give him the life my dad would’ve wanted for him for as long as he’s with us…
…however long that may be.