I would wish our dear Rose “happy birthday,” but she hasn’t been all that happy of late. It sucks getting old, and she’s definitely feeling her age. Not only are her eyesight and hearing rapidly diminishing, but she’s starting to have problems controlling where she… er… goes:
Even worse—for her, at least—is that her hips are starting to fail, and she falls down a lot, especially when she’s walking on the tile floors. And she has difficulty getting up when she’s been lying on the floor. She’s learned that if she cries, we’ll come running and help her up (good thing we’re retired, and around to be at her beck and call):
A few weeks ago—after she had fallen down for the third or fourth time in one evening—as we watched her wander around in a dazed fashion, stopping to stare at nothing with a blank gaze, Robin and I discussed just how long we’d let her go on like this. Not a fun subject, but necessary, and familiar to those who have had aging pets. The question was, is she still happy? Is she deriving any pleasure from her life?
Now with dogs, the answer to this question generally can be based on their appetite. But of late, even her food hadn’t been giving Rosie much pleasure. Granted, it’s low-fat dry food (she has a history of pancreatitis), but even when we added (non-fat) cottage cheese or yogurt to it—which usually made her wolf it down—she wasn’t getting excited about her food. A very bad sign.
“She’s clearly in death range,” Robin said. “Let’s get her some treats.” So the very next day, she went down to PetSmart and brought home a bag of doggie duck jerky:
“Let’s see if she likes it.” Did she ever—she went crazy for them. Not only that, but she’s become a different dog: She sits at the door to the room where the treats are kept, and looks from us to the door and back again, a happy, expectant doggie smile on her face. She’s already learned the word “duck,” and when we say “you want some duck?” she barks and barks.
The duck has given her a brand new reason to live. Amazing what the little things can do.
When I’m old and failing, I hope someone gives me the equivalent of my duck. (I better start thinking now about what that would be…)
Speaking of duck: I just read that the culinary students of Kapiʻolani Community College in Honolulu recently won Hawai‘i’s first gold medal at the 2009 American Culinary Federation national championship.
For their entrée, they made a “Pan-Pacific Duckling Mélange,” which consisted of:
Marinated, sautéed duck breast served with a Hawai‘ian pohā berry sauce and a garnish of fried leeks,
Braised hoisin duck wrapped in cabbage and garnished with cracklings, and
Seared foie gras and aliʻi mushroom, potatoes au gratin, sautéed baby zucchini and patty pan squash and mango salsa
web photo [source]
O my! O my! O my! as Mole said in The Wind in the Willows. Rosie would really like that.