I love my dog. She’s been with me since before my husband, kids, house and even college! She’s been at my side to experience all of my 20-ish mistakes and 30-ish accomplishments. In fact, she’s sitting right next to me as I compose this blog post. Little does she know it’s about her and how absolutely terrified I am for the day she dies.
More about Shay…
Shay is a 12-year-old black and white Shih-tzu that I adopted when she was just a baby. (So was I.) She is my very first love. From difficulties potty training, (she prefers carpet) to her lack-of-tear-producing eyes and crazy joints, I’ve had a run for my money at times. (Thankfully, I’ve worked in the pet industry for a while so quality pet care products are always at my fingertips.) Shay loves people and people love her. She, however, dislikes animals big or small, dog or cat.
What do you do when your dog starts slowing down?
Over the past few years, Shay has started to show her age. First, she would randomly stop walking on her limbs. That minor and incredibly inconvenient issue was resolved quickly after we added a joint care supplement to her daily morning routine which goes like this: short walk (to avoid carpet messes) eye medicine, joint care supplement, daily vitamin, food, water and snuggles. *Thank you husband for ever so kindly doing this each morning, except for the snuggles part. That’s where I steal the thunder.
But the routine is not the issue. It’s after the AM hours that concern me. Shay used to have more pep in her step! Now she just sleeps on her favorite bed most of the day. She goes outside for potty breaks and eats the food left on the floor from the one-year-old of course. But that’s about it! Long walks are not tolerated and playing fetch with a plush toy is no longer of interest to Shay. It makes me sad! Have you ever experienced this? This is my first dog.
There is a visible difference.
Anyone who has been a part of Shay’s life over the years can see a change. My sister recently commented on Shay’s hair loss. “Does she need to be groomed anymore? Should you take her to the vet? Her nose is really dry!” People are concerned. (And yes, regular vet visits are a part of our routine. Thank you husband, yet again.)
Sometimes I look at Shay and quietly smile. I look at her and think about the many moments we have shared together over the years. She’s generously helped me through a hard time or two in our “younger” days. Isn’t it amazing how they sense your feelings and come to the rescue? (Perhaps the loud sobbing was a clear indication.) Even now, when my daughter gets upset or when she broke her leg, Shay was there to cheer her up. I’m scared to lose Shay. I think we all are.
How do you prepare yourself for loss?
I’m sad to say that dogs do not live forever. Nor do people. But when you see it coming and your heart hurts when you look at them, is it something that you can prepare yourself for? Can you prep yourself for the pain? The jury is out on that one.
But for now, I am going to appreciate the moments that I do have with her. When she is snoring or dreaming in her slumber, I will smile and be in the moment as much as possible. I will always remember the times I’ve been able to share with my darling little Shih-Tzu – the bad and the good. I love that little stinker (seriously, Shih-Tzus kinda smell sometimes).
At least 3 cups of coffee were consumed before and during the writing of this post. This post was originally written by Nichole Baugh for the Essential Pet Blog by 21st Century Animal Healthcare on January 25, 2018.