My little old man.

by statia on January 19, 2009

For once, I’ve had several things to say, but less of a chance to write it down.  I’ll probably forget most of it and then be stuck with figuring out what the hell I’m going to do with this space.   As much as I hate to admit it, this place has become all Mommy blog, all the time, and I’m sure a lot of it is gag worthy.

Today, however, I want to talk about my old, busted, stinky dog.  G-man.

Those of you who have been here awhile (like, during my single days), know that I have a black lab.   When I was single, he was my baby, and yes, I was one of those crazy dog ladies, that totally treated her dog like her kid.  I lined up sitters for him.  I took him with me when I went places.  I actually spent money on him for Christmas and wrapped his presents.  Something he looked forward to.

And then along came the Meester.   And all of a sudden, he was relegated to the foot of the bed, and eventually, he got his own bed, where he preferred to sleep.   He didn’t like it, but life for him was still good.

And then along came our chihuahua.  For a small dog, she’s a bossy little shit.  As little dogs tend to be.  She’s got attitude.  She came into the house and promptly took his place in the pecking order.  Moving him down a rung.

And then of course along came the Mini and I think I saw him in our back yard shortly after that trying to hang himself from a tree.

Over the years, he’s gotten more anxiety ridden.  He’s been shedding like a god damned mother fucker.   So much that I’ve stopped trying to keep up with the hair, even though it makes me insane to deal with it.  It sticks to everything like a magnet.  It comes out in clumps.  Just when you think he’s going to go bald, he’s sheds another dog.   He’s gotten stinky, has horrible breath, and recently, we noticed he’s got a cyst on his head, which we’ve started calling his cancer bump.   Given his age, I knew we had to take him to the vet.

$450 later, they’ve taken blood work, taken a sample of the cyst and gave him a thorough work over.  Long story, he’s got atrophy in his back legs from arthritis, something I knew was imminent, given his diagnosis with hip displasia at 9 months of age (he’s had hip surgery for it, due to an accident), and is being put on paid meds.  He’s got dental disease, which is causing breath that rivals that of a dumpster in a city alley on a festering summer day.   He’s got a “tense” abdomen, which could be anxiety, or could be something else.   Short story, he’s old.   He’ll be 10 in a few weeks.  This is kind of a reality I didn’t want to face.

Over the past couple of years, he’s become a pain in the ass.  Don’t get me wrong, I love him, dearly.  He’s my dog.  But having kids, puts your dog at the bottom of the totem pole.  It’s that simple.   I have less patience with both of them.   We have a running joke always asking if he’s planning on dying anytime soon.  Telling him he’s on death’s door.     Of course, not having dogs would be easier.  I dream of not having to deal with his hair.  Giving him away at his age, is just not an option.  He’s not only too old, but he wouldn’t be able to handle it.

We took him into the vet today, thinking it’d be another one of those visits where they said that he’s healthy as a horse, and will probably live forever.   Joking that he’d do it to piss us off.  But today when asked what they typically see in labs of this age, they responded with “we don’t typically see labs at this age, because they’ve usually already succumbed to something.”  It kind of was a slap in the face.   I guess I have to face that he’s actually a senior citizen, but I figured he had a few years left in him, at least.  He’s fed very well, and in general, was in really great health for his whole life.

I guess all of this joking around was just a way of masking what I didn’t want to face.  He could be around for another two or three years, or tests could come back and he might have less time left.   No matter how much the shedding sucks, I guess I’m not really ready to face that, yet.


Lisa January 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about G-Man. I’ve always enjoyed reading your entries about him, and to hear of his torture at the hands of your tiny dog. Hopefully you have him for many more years, and he’s in good health the entire time.

Merrin January 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm

My oldest will be 14 in another month or so, and I’ve spent thousands on having multiple cysts (she has over 50) biopsied. Kevin jokes all the time about how she’s on her last leg, but in reality, neither one of us is ready to let her go just yet (even though I’m sure she rivals GDog in the breath department. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you get to have him for a little while longer, because this crazy dog lady doesn’t know what she would do without her pups.

donna January 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm

I know how you feel. My Lucy was a gigantic pain in the ass her whole life but it got far worse as she aged and then got bumped down the ladder of affection. I thought how easy my life would be if she were gone, and then she was ill and we had to put her down. It broke my heart but I knew it would happen one day.

Now we are down to just the one pet, and it’s startling to me to see how he’s aging. His hearing is going. He’s slower. He always has the death breath. I don’t know what I’ll do when it’s his time. He has bad hips too, and I’m trying to prepare for making the hard call if he gets to be in too much pain.

It really sucks being a grown up.

M@ January 19, 2009 at 11:18 pm

(((sguh))) I was just thinking about g-man on Sunday while we were looking for a big boy ball at PetSmart.

Tonya January 20, 2009 at 1:46 am

I had to put my 14 YO sweet doggy girl to sleep the same month I got pg with #2 in 2006. It was horrible, but it was time. She was so, so sick. I still miss her like crazy.

Now, our older cat (he’s 12) just survived a life-threatening illness and surgery, and is slowly recovering. I hope we didn’t just prolong his life for little reason, but he’s otherwise been in good health so it’s just “fingers crossed”.

It sucks that they get bumped when human children come along, but you’re right: that the fact of life.

I think the worst part of pet ownership are the elder health-related and end-of-life decisions. I so don’t envy you right now. Hang in there.

jesser January 20, 2009 at 9:05 am

Damn, this is depressing. Our black lab mix is nearly 5 years old and I love him to pieces and feel incredibly guilty about his back-seat (basement) status since T was born. He’s a great dog and I would never give him up, but the overabundance of hair sucks … as does paying $20/day to board him whenever we want to leave town. Still, I’d freak if anything happened to him.

amy t. January 20, 2009 at 11:21 am

I hear ya. Everyone was telling me how young Sophie is around her birthday this year when I started worrying because she’s getting old. But she’s not young – she’s 7. And she’s got a lab for a dad, so I know that things will soon start flaring up for her. The thought of not having her in my life is enough to bring me to a near panic attack.

Fingers crossed for the G-man. And for you.

Suzanne January 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm

How freaky, I was just having these same thoughts about my 8 year old pain in the ass dog.

Have you tried the Furminator? Works insanely well.

JoMarie January 22, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Sounds like you’re describing Erah! She just turned 10, and was called geriatric at her last lab-filled appointment. She also got put on meds for her arthritis and hips, and her breath STINKS. But the meds work great (at $1 day), and sometimes it’s like she’s a new dog. Both my labs growing up made it to about 12 – so hopefully you’ll have a few more years with your G-man!

Jenn January 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

So sorry. It’s hard when you start to see their age and know their time is limited.

Chris January 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm

We had to let go of our husky just 2 days ago. We had him for 15 years, before any of the gaggle of kids we have now. It was so hard but it was also so past time for him. I told a friend that I wished dogs came with little Butterball pop up timers that would pop up when their time was up. It would make the decision so much easier.

ML February 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Our relatively young mutt was suffering a lot of the same symptoms you’ve described here. Our result was that he’s got a thyroid condition and allergies. He’s now on an as-needed pain pill for arthritis (2 knee surgeries), thyroid meds twice a day and allergy injections on an elaborate, expanding timelime. But he’s good and the fur clumps have stopped cloggin my vacuum. I wish you the best!!

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