So, It Has Come to This

This … started out as needing a boost getting in and out of the truck. It happened when Teresa and Nollind got a new truck that was higher than the old one, so I wrote it off as being just that, a taller truck.

This … is a wooden step being added to the bottom of the fifth wheel stairs. They raised the fifth wheel axle last year, to better match the truck when overnighting without unhitching, so, again, I chalked it up to equipment changes, not aging.


Partway through last winter in the desert, this … was a small staircase added to the bedroom so I could get up on the bed and, more importantly, have an alternative to jumping down.

This … is the plethora of pills and supplements that I get fed on a regular basis to keep things working. Two medications for my arthritis, three for the heart condition, Legend and Cartrophen injected every couple of weeks, and a joint supplement tablet as big as my foot that I really don’t like the taste of. Hide that in a pill pocket! And then there’s the renal diet. Yes, you read that correctly. A low protein diet, for me, a dyed-in-the-wool meat lover!


This … is being assisted up and down the basement stairs and being blocked at night from going on my own. How embarrassing.

This … is missing most of the day because I’m sleeping all but a couple of hours.


This … is being left behind when Teresa goes to town or for a walk and takes Chico along.

This … is not hearing them leave.

This … is having my walks cut to 45 minutes, then 30, and now sometimes just 20. I rarely leave the property anymore.

This … is being lifted out of the fifth wheel (actually carried down the stairs!) during our latest Sid trip.


This … is words like prognosis and life expectancy popping up in conversations with the vet.

You could say this kinda sucks. But I’m adjusting, it’s what we dogs do, live in the moment, take life as it comes. We don’t dwell on what was, only enjoy what is.

This is just life, this dog’s life, this dog’s getting older, this dog’s journey. So …

This … is a walk around the back forty on a warm, fall day.


This is playing with my favourite toys (and tiring myself out).


This is cuddle time with my people on my magnetic therapy mat.


This is spending time with friends.


This is a tasty treat (even tastier now that they’ve added an appetite stimulant to my pharmaceutical cocktail).


This is that rush I get when I stick my head out the car window while driving.


And best of all, this … is a free pass, a get out of jail free card if you will, a license to do just about anything I please. Want a breath of fresh air at 2 am? Just make a little noise. We old guys can’t hold it like we used to, especially when you give us a diuretic for our heart condition. Best let me out. Feel like some quiet time alone in the yard?  Just give them that look from wherever I’m lying, the one that says, “Are you really going to make me come in? Hard to say how much longer I’ll be able to do this.” Don’t feel like eating dog food? “Gee, my stomach doesn’t feel so good but I could probably force down a bit of that chicken you’re eating.”

As with everything in life, this is all in how you look at it.











Ten Steps to Healing

Before Chico writes yet another blog post about my condition (he thinks I don’t read his posts), I thought I’d better get a word in. Actually … three words. It’s not good. In fact, based on just how bad it’s been, when they told me I was going to the vet, it had an ominous ring to it.

You humans might not understand what I’m talking about since, with humans, there is no trip to the family doctor you’re not going to return from. In the world of pets, especially when we get old or sick or injured, a trip to the vet can be like a scene from “Dead Man Walking”.


Okay, I’m being a bit morbid, but it’s true. It’s likely that at some point in my future there’ll be a journey to the vet that I won’t return from, or the Strathmore vet that makes house calls will be at our door. It’s just the reality of life as a dog. And it’s okay. We appreciate not being left to suffer endlessly as is sometimes the fate of humans. Not sure why the human species is more compassionate toward its animals than its own kind. But that’s not for a mere dog to sort out.

So, my leg. It’s basically screwed. Worn out. Used up. Damaged beyond rescue. Done. There’s just no sugar coating it. For whatever reason, that one part of my body, my right elbow, had a shorter shelf-life than the rest of me and I seem to have run beyond its best-before date. You know how that thing in the fridge gets a just little fuzzy at first but then starts to smell up the whole fridge? Well, that’s my leg. What I could ignore for a long time is now making it difficult for me to live a normal canine life.

Sucks, right? I know.


This part of normal canine life I can still manage.

But, in my corner, I have Teresa and Nollind, who will do whatever they can to help me live as long and quality a life as possible given the circumstances. The good news is, the trip to the vet today was not a “dead dog walking” scenario (which you’ve probably guessed since I’m writing this blog), but a “what else can we do” visit to a vet they’ve come to respect and trust through her care of our horses over the years. In fact, she was the vet who sorted the horse skin problem from a few years back, when two other vet offices couldn’t figure it out. On top of her experience and her attention to all of the latest research in animal health, she’s a dog person.


Waiting for my vet appointment.

The vet spent an hour with us, going over all of the possible solutions and outcomes. Turns out there are no bionic elbows or legs for dogs (damn it), at least none that were discussed, and surgery of any kind isn’t a good option given my age. I’m not sure I’d like the only surgical solution anyway, a fused elbow. Wouldn’t it be difficult to walk with a joint that no longer bends? Ruling out surgery, there was a detailed discussion of medications, dosages, and costs that I pretended to sleep through but didn’t miss a word. My people opted for the “full meal deal” (Yes! I knew they wouldn’t let me down), the equivalent of what the doctor said she’d do if I were hers.


The program.


The appointment finished with the tech giving me an IV shot of Legend (a horse medication to be repeated every two weeks) and sent us home with a bag full of medicines and supplements as well as instructions to increase some of my existing medication. At this stage, it seems to be the “throw everything at it and see what sticks” approach, a ten-step program.

I’m good with that. It beats the alternative six ways to Sunday.


Coffee/tea stop after the vet. That is the face of a relieved dog!


It’s Not Working :(

Back in July, I told you about the new supplement T was putting Logan on. It started off great—Logan liked the taste. The huge tablets didn’t have to be coated, dipped, or otherwise disguised in something tasty. Not much disguising required for me. I swallow my fish oil capsules happily, even try to get them between my teeth to let loose that burst of fishy flavour. Yum.


My best bud.


But Logan’s affinity for the taste of the FlexPet didn’t last long, maybe a week … if that. He’s pretty fussy. Even something he seems to really like he might not like tomorrow, or the day after that. I don’t understand it, but I certainly don’t mind. It means there’s usually a little something extra for me. The best is when Logan leaves just enough of his breakfast or dinner to make a nice dessert for me, but not enough that T can be bothered to put it in a container for later. It’s a fine line.


Waiting to see what Logan will leave in his bowl.


So anyway, after those first days, the FlexPet got wrapped in Greenies Pill Pockets. The pill pockets seem to be the one manufactured food that Logan continues to like the taste of month after month. I’ve never had the chance to taste one because I normally don’t take any pills and, when I have had to, they taste pretty good all on their own (the vet people put flavouring in there that’s quite nice). Next time I have to take a pill I’m going to spit it out like Logan does. Then they’ll have to put it in a pill pocket for me. I will get to try one!

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As you can see by his expression, Logan never tires of the taste of steak!


Logan’s been taking the FlexPet for seven weeks now and nothing has changed. Well, that’s not entirely true. He’s continued to get worse. There’s another ten days or so of supplement, but we’re not expecting anything miraculous at this point. I can see the disappointment on T’s face. I’ll catch her looking at Logan and see the tears welling up in the bottoms of her eyes. She so wants to help him but nothing seems to work.


There’s a lot more of this in our days than there used to be.


I’m not sure what’s next but I’m sure there’ll be something. T’s like me with a bone when she sets her mind. And you should see me with a bone!


Enjoying some chew time in the desert last winter.


Sorry I don’t have better news. I know you’re all rooting for him just like we are. He misses going for long walks and, even more so, a good run across the fields. But he’s adjusting to the new normal, as we all are, and finding ways to entertain himself that aren’t so physically demanding.  Last Sunday, for the first time, he opted out of a trail ride. T was taking Storm just to the back of the property, a half mile, so she invited him along. Logan followed for a short distance, and then cut back to the yard to lie underneath the horse trailer. I think it’s his new way of staying connected to the horse activities.


First post-harvest trail ride in the field south of home.


And I suppose that’s the key isn’t it, working with what we’ve got on any given day and being okay if it’s not the same tomorrow. We need to live each day like someone left the gate open but that doesn’t mean we have to bolt through the thing at Mach 1 every single time.08-chich-notworking-gateopen