Monday, August 19, 2013
Old man Petey takes three doses of medicine each day. He has half an arthritis pill in the morning and the other half in the evening. At bedtime he has a quarter of a calming medication so that we can all sleep all night long. Most of the time he takes the arthritis medicine straight from our hands. Most of the time he'll take the beddy-bye pill with a little peanut butter. We think it might have a bitter taste once it is quartered. It is a good thing that the old dog is so good at taking his meds, or else we'd all be upset a lot of the time.
Some days, however, Petey exercises his right to be contrary and doesn't take his pill when it is offered. Most of the time when this happens, we just stop trying for a while. On the second or third try he'll generally give up and take the pill. There are those times when he just won't take it, no way, no how. Those are the times, when he starts trying to be sneaky.
This morning, it appeared like we might be in for one of those times with his morning medicine. He came in from outside and I handed his pill to him. He turned his head. I tried again telling him that he liked this pill, so he yawned real big right over my hand, but did not take the pill. I think I was supposed to believe that he took it when he opened his mouth. But I was on to him, since the pill was still in my hand.
I told him that I didn't fall for it and tried one more time to get him to take the pill. This time he lapped it up from my hand much like he was getting a drink, then he spit it right back out, in to my hand. He's a clever little thing. If he could just figure out how to spit the pill back out with out it going in to my hand, he might be on to something.
Knowing that he was in a defiant mood, I let it go. I kept the pill with me waiting for an opportunity to spring it on him when his resistance was down. I tried again in a while. but once again he tried the fake take and the pill wound up right back in my hand. I wish I had a video of the process, because he really thought he'd fooled me as he trotted off.
This time, I let him think so. I went on about my business as he settled in to his ring bed to supervise. After about 30 minutes had passed. I left the room and he did too. He has this rule about following me around. I handed him the pill while his mind was on where I was going. He swallowed it and is now resting once again in his ring bed.
Matching wits with a dog. It is how I spend entirely too much of my time! The good news is, I almost always win.
Monday, August 12, 2013
We take Petey to the Berry Hill Animal Hospital. We have been pleased with everyone there from the veterinarians to the assistants, to the receptionist. Yes, even the receptionist knows Petey! One of the doctors in particular, however, seems to have a special affinity for Petey. John and I try to request her whenever we need an appointment. Her name is Dr. Amanda Gansberger.
John called her after the episode several weeks ago. After some discussion, they agreed to try Petey on a calming medication at night to help him rest. (OK, to help us all rest.) John and I felt like this was Petey's last real chance at normalcy. And that if this didn't work, we'd have to make the hard decision that we'd been delaying for so long.
On August 1, we gave Petey the first dose of the medicine and we all slept all night. It was amazing how much better all of us felt the next day. With the exception of one night, when Petey refused to take his medication, he has taken it every night and is much like his old self. And I do mean OLD as in old age.
I still had a little doubt in my mind as to how much pain Petey was in. He seemed so much better that I pacified myself with that thought.
Then, one day last week, out of the blue, Dr. Gansberger called. She was calling simply to check on Petey. She wanted to make sure that the medication was working as she had anticipated and had other ideas if this didn't seem to be working. I was so touched by her kindness that I cried as I told her that I thought Petey was better, but I still had some concern about his back legs/hips.
She explained to me that Petey is 95 years old and is not going to be chasing squirrels no matter what. She and I discussed his daily activities, and she said they were very typical of a dog of his age and breed. John and I had already decided that his jumping days were over. We aren't letting him on the couch or the bed. He can't be trusted to let one of us help him down when he decides it is time. He has nice beds in the floor all around the house. He's been OK with that for the most part.
She gave me a lot of comfort that Petey was acting just like Petey should act. I think he'll be with us for a while to come. Maybe he'll make it to 100, which is probably just February!