Fighting "The Time"

Ace Pryhill must be psychic. Because, when she linked to this post I don't see how she could have known that what she's worried about facing with Uno is what I'm worrying about right now with Puff. He's 15 (very old for a large dog) has cancer, is disabled from advanced arthritis, and has outlived all his ancestors by three years.

Ace provides this audio link: Robin Young's moving tribute to "Moe" -- a 19 year old Chihuahua:

They should come with a warning label.

How will I know when the time is right?

The way I see it, Puff will know when it's . . . time.

But the time hasn't yet come for Puff. Many owners of a dog in Puff's situation would have put him down by now, for his back legs have given out from the arthritis and advanced hip disease. (The cancer which he has may also be involved.) He's forced to drag his nearly useless back legs behind him, but his front legs and chest muscles are still quite strong. It hurts me more to watch him drag himself around than it seems to hurt him. Here he is, struggling through the snow:


(Ironically, the snow, which he has never liked, gives his back legs some support so that he doesn't fall over as easily as when navigating hard ground.)

On Tuesday the vet told me that he's not facing anything immediately life threatening, but they can't do much for the legs except give pain meds. But Puff's enthusiasm is amazing, and I want to help. So I have decided to order a dog wheelchair, and let him try it out. There are a number of places selling them, but Laurie at Dogs To Go has been most helpful, and they're designing and building it for what I consider a very modest price. Not only that, they're shipping it with an invoice which I don't have to pay unless I like it!

It hasn't arrived yet, but when it does, I am sure Puff will consent to my doing wheelchair dog blogging.

Meanwhile, we are working on a new addition to the family in the form of a puppy to keep Puff company in what will most likely be his last few months. This will ease his pain -- and mine. I don't want to find myself in the position of Ace's co-worker --

who put her beagle BJ down over 2 years ago and she still can't bring herself to adopt a new friend.
I'd rather have a sort of unbroken chain. Better for the heart, I think.

posted by Eric on 02.25.05 at 07:03 PM


I'm keeping both you and Puff in my thoughts and prayers.

Darleen   ·  February 25, 2005 10:28 PM

I've never heard of a dog wheelchair before. I'm very sad to see that noble, loyal Puff is having such troubles. I'm glad to see Darleen commenting here.

I'm now in the process of writing an overview of all these sundry spectra.

That unbroken chain thing... it does make it easier to bear.
And they do know, when it's time.

Sgt. Mom   ·  February 26, 2005 1:45 PM

They do always seem to know; they quit wagging their tail, quit smiling (dogs can definitely smile), quit trying to greet you when you walk by.
I am glad you are getting the chair for him, he sounds like he wants to still be around for awhile yet. He is lucky to have you.

kschlenker   ·  February 27, 2005 1:30 AM

My Katrina (follow link on home page) isn't quite that bad, in that her legs will still hold her up. Still, I will be quite interested in hearing how Puff's new chair works out. She made need it yet.

Gary and the Samoyeds   ·  February 27, 2005 9:35 PM

These words of support mean a lot to me, and thank you all.

Eric Scheie   ·  February 28, 2005 12:45 AM

SMAŚ you should read the James Herriot books, by a vet in Yorkshire in the forties (and surrounding decades.) He mentions a doggy wheelchair in one of his anecdotes.

(These books are usually shelved in "animals" in the bookstore; they're lightly fictionalized real events.)

B. Durbin   ·  February 28, 2005 1:46 PM

There are two kinds of people in the world...and the non-dog people have no idea what they're missing.

Prayers to you and Puff.

Joy   ·  March 1, 2005 11:35 AM

I think that wheelchair looks fantastic and is very reasonably priced. My older canine child is getting arthritis in her hind quarters and I am grateful that these carts are available should Anna someday need assistance getting around.
It's funny you used the word psychic - When I published that post, I was thinking what a coincidence it was that the four things - your post, the conversation with my co-worker, the radio segment and then Lisa's post - were all within one day. Be sure to send us a pic of Puff with the wheelchair.

Ace Pryhill   ·  March 1, 2005 12:10 PM

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