Some of you may remember that we lost Susie, our old golden retriever, last September. She wasn’t a bad age – 12 1/2 – and she went down quickly at the end so we didn’t prolong her suffering and, once she couldn’t support herself on her back legs anymore, we called in the vet. We have another dog who turned 10 in December and who is having problems with her legs now but she is a different proposition. Instead of pottering around at terrace level in our garden whilst the two youngsters and I go up our mountainous garden for the morning walk as Susie used to, she insists on forcing herself up to the top. A few times lately, she’s got up there and then her back legs have collapsed with the effort and she just lies there looking confused. The problem is – I don’t know how I would ever get her back down again if, one day, she can’t manage to stand up. So we took her to the vet and she said that, as well as arthritis, she has ‘arthrose’ and walking up the side of a mountain or running around chasing balls with the other dogs is definitely not a good idea so we’re going to have to start leaving her behind.
Well that was on Friday so, this weekend, Mr. T has been at home and I’ve been able to stay indoors with her. When the other two have been ‘sneaked out’ for a walk, she cries and paces up and down but at least somebody is there to comfort her. Starting tomorrow, when I’m on my own during school hours and have to do dogwalking duties, she’ll be left behind on her own and I know she’ll be stressed for the half hour or so that I’m gone. That is, of course, if I actually manage to get out through the door without her in the first place. She has taken to positioning herself at the ‘exit’ and guards it with her life. I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried it but it is very difficult to get past a 35 kilo german shepherd who is determined you are going nowhere without her.
Anyway, it must be done because we don’t want her to be in more pain than she needs to be but I worry about the mental stress it will cause her. I know 10 isn’t too bad an age for a GSD, especially considering her start in life. She was one of a litter of 3 puppies born to a pair that were being kept in cramped conditions specifically for breeding and were eventually rescued by the R.S.P.C.A. which is where we got her. She almost went lame when she was 6 years old as she has a very shallow hip joint which was causing lots of stress on the cruciate ligament in her knee and – thank goodness we were paying insurance – she had a state of the art operation which involved putting some metal in her leg and it was all done without her having to be in plaster for 6 weeks afterward.
So, really, she has had an extra 4 years of running around and walking and playing that she might not have had. Still, try telling her that!
I’ll let you know how I get on…….