I look at my dear grey girl and lament how accurate poet Emily Dickinson was when she said ‘Old age comes on suddenly and not gradually as is thought’. How did my beautiful black girl turn into an old dog overnight?
Grey hairs aside (and there is an extra couple of dozen every week) she’s taken the leap from battling middle age spread to a senior citizen and I honestly can’t tell you when this change occurred.
We too are seeing the graying of a population. Elderly pets are now accounting for a large part of our veterinary frequent flyers club. With your own pet check on the following list:
- Are they eating more or less?
- Have they lost weight or gained weight recently?
- Are they drinking any more than usual?
- Do they need to go to the toilet more frequently?
- How are their energy levels-used to be a 10/10 and now only a 5/10?
- Are there any changes in behaviour especially around sleeping habits?
Any changes give us subtle clues that it is time to take a closer look. Veterinary medicine used to be about the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff but these days with our ‘Grey Paws’ examination early detection of treatable or at least manageable disease is on offer to all pets.
So, though our park walks are getting shorter and cutting across the field the new norm we still have the water. Watching her swim reminds me of the lovely scene from the movie ‘Cocoon’ where the seniors are floating and laughing in the weight-less carefree existence buoyancy affords. Seeing her revert back to the exuberant youth of a young Labrador is a precious moment for me, her doting owner, to enjoy and etch into my memory.