Old dog

Gertrude, my very elderly Great Dane is about 11 years old.  That is pretty ancient for a Dane.

For an old girl she is doing pretty well…She is still eating, drinking, and going outside.  She still enjoys petting and attention.  When the weather is warm, she even wants to play with the other dogs some.

But it is obvious she is old.  The arthritis in her back has done some nerve damage to her back legs.  She often needs help getting up.  She does a bunny hop with her back legs when she runs.  She is very stiff when she gets up in the morning.  She falls every now and again.  She does not have the control of her back legs that she used to.  She drags her back legs some.  She cannot do stairs any more.  We have to help her in and out of the car.  A few weeks ago I moved her dog beds down stairs so she could use them.  I sat down and cried because I knew she was not going to come upstairs and sleep in our bedroom again.

This is very hard.  Gertrude is my dog.  I adore her, and she loves me.  She is my first dog, and I think that is pretty special.  She got me through nursing school, several moves across the state, IVF, pregnancy, birth, and post partum depression.  We tried agility and rally dog obedience together.  She loves the large fenced in yard at our current house.  She used to love to run.  The first time we let her loose in our back yard, you could see the happiness.

I can see that I will have to make a decision that I do not want to make.  With Oscar, the decision was made for us.  With Gertrude, I just hope that it will be clear.  That there will be some sign or clue.

I want to make her time with us good.  I want her to be as comfortable and happy as possible.  I suspect that she will rally when the weather warms.  But I am not sure she will make it through another winter.

At some point I know I have to let go.  But not today.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Blanche
    Apr 06, 2014 @ 01:45:55

    We’re going to be facing that with our Boxer sooner than later also – she’ll be 12 this summer and has many of the same problems (arthritis, heart issues, had her knee repaired this winter & DH is still carrying her upstairs), She’s on Novox (veterinary pain med), heart medication, Tramadol (on top of the other med), Famotidine (to offset the possibility of stomach issues related to the Novox), plus a joint supplement (which actually works, I’ve noticed a difference in her movement when she hasn’t gotten it for some reason).

    Anyway, many many hugs to you. I’m sure she knows how much she is loved!


  2. Geochick
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 16:15:12

    S had a dog Thor he was really close with. Great Dane/German shepherd mix who lived to about 12 I think. He was such a gentle giant and letting go was really hard. Abiding with you and the decision you may have to make in the future. ((Hugs))


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