Watching Your Dog Grow Old

I think this is one of, if not THE, hardest things about having animals in your life. Watching as they grow old and then going through the end-of-life vigil with them. And of course it applies to all animals, not just dogs. It is such a bittersweet and yet special time in their lives . . . and in ours. But it can be absolutely devastating too, and sometimes makes one wish our lifespans weren’t so much longer than theirs.

This is Rose, acting coy after bringing her dust bath in the house.

This is Rose, acting coy after bringing the dregs of her dust bath into the house.

Meet Rose. My sweet Rose. Rose has not been mentioned in this animal blog yet, perhaps because she is so staied and settled in her ways. She and I are like white on rice so our life together is as smooth as glass. Rose keeps a low profile and is steady as she goes, so there’s not much to report in the way of exciting day-to-day, “Rose” developments.

Rose was born at my home 12 years ago, daughter of a precious stray a friend and I rescued from the side of the road in far West Texas on a road trip to New Mexico. We called her Lady, because she was one. Except, ahem, Lady was pregnant and had probably become so in not very ladylike ways. But that wasn’t her fault. Lady accompanied us on our entire trip and then back to Texas where she delivered five Heinz 57’ers. I kept Rose, who is very Border Collie-like, and sweet as the day is long, like her mother Lady.

But Rose has always been as delicate as the flower that is her namesake. Probably because her mother was weak and malnourished while pregnant.  The slightest thing can throw Rose off physically or emotionally, causing her to become over-alarmed and hyper-reactive, or upsetting the balance of her metabolism and health. This was apparent early on when, after she was spayed and vaccinated Rose immediately lost a lot of her hair, especially around her face and neck. I knew then she had an extremely delicate constitution and that I would have to take extra pains to keep her healthy into her old age.

Rose was wheezing today, in spite of the lovely cool and dry climate where

A little better view of Rose, tho' still with her "dust cap" on.
A more comely view of Rose, tho’ still with her “dust cap” on.

we now live in New Mexico,

and I had one of those bittersweet moments.

She began this pattern a couple of years ago before we moved from Texas, where the extreme heat and humidity caused very acute symptoms. Fortunately, she has the advantage of never having been exposed to drugs or vaccines since her early adverse reactions, and she has always been treated for any weaknesses with homeopathics and herbs. So her immune system is strong. The homeopathic remedy Pulsatilla is like a panacea for her and kept her from collapsing during her wheezing spells in Texas, but there were a few times I thought she was at the end. Rose has had few spells here in New Mexico, and they are very mild, but today brought home the realization that she is probably in her last couple of years on this fine earth, and all the tumultuous emotions that go along with that.

The best I can do is continue to fan the flame of Rose’s ebullient, gentle spirit, give her lots of love every day, and encourage her still-playful nature by buying her fuzzy “babies” that she hordes for weeks before letting any of the other dogs near them. And I will give her every edge I can for continued good health through a super nutritious diet and supplements.

I hope I’m ready when Rose’s day comes, but right now I hope that day is far, far away in the distant future.

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Besides Rose’s diet of super nutritious dog and human food, she gets an added boost of nutrition with the blue green algae I feed her every day. You can order some for your animals HERE. I encourage you to give it a try.

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