5 Things I Will Never Do to My Old Dog
There is nothing sweeter in this world than the love of a good dog. Quincy is my good dog. There’s nothing wrong with my other animals, but something about Quincy just exudes pure, innocent love. When he asks for attention, nine times out of ten he’s just asking for affection, not begging for food or anything else. How could such an honest request for love not melt your heart?
Quincy turned thirteen years old a couple weeks ago. He had a health scare a couple weeks before that and nearly died a year ago, just before his twelfth birthday. His health scares have forced me to think about how fragile life is and how much I’ll miss him when he’s gone. He’s had a great life. I hope he’s around to enjoy many more to come. In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to make sure I have no regrets after he’s gone. With that in mind, here are a few
5 Things I will Never do to My Old Dog
1. Let him feel lonely
When Quincy comes and nudges my arm with his nose, I pause what I’m doing and rub his ears or scratch his head for a few moments at least. I don’t want him to feel like anything is more important than he is. He’s not very demanding, so it’s pretty reasonable to set things aside for a few moments. He doesn’t ask for much. He doesn’t really play much. His greatest joy comes from ear rubs, rolling in the grass or on the carpet, and following me around while I do yard work. Ear rubs are a small task that brings him so much joy. Simple decision!
2. Let him feel lost
Quincy is slowly starting to show signs of dementia. He wanders around more than he used to. When he wanders around the yard, sometimes he gets lost and can’t find his way back to the door. His happy little tail stops wagging and he looks dejected. I can’t bear seeing that! Since the first time seeing him lost in his own yard, I’ve been careful to stick close by and help him figure out where he is if he gets disoriented. My presence alone seems to help him keep track of where he is, and on the occasions where he’s still confused, his tail starts wagging rapidly when I put a hand on his back to guide him.
3. Let him know I’m frustrated with him
With Quincy’s increasing dementia, he sometimes becomes very frustrating. He’s walked right past me numerous times when I called him to come. He’s also losing his hearing with age. It comes and goes, so sometimes he’ll hear me and obey, and other days he’ll be completely oblivious. In the early days of his hearing loss, I didn’t understand what the problem was. It seemed like he was just ignoring me. Once I figured it out, it was a lot easier to be patient with him. He’s not being naughty; he can’t help it. He has always been a good dog, and he wants to be a good dog.
4. Let him suffer
I’m sure I can’t stop all of his pain, but I will do my absolute best to make sure he’s not suffering needlessly. Arthritis and other ailments may be inevitable, but he’ll be taken care of whether it be pain medications or a special bed. And when it comes time, I’ll do my best to make the right choice at the end. Hopefully, that’s many years from now, but I feel like it’s a good idea to think about it a bit so I’m prepared. I’ll be with him during his last moments.
5. Focus too much on the future
With Quincy’s near death experiences, I’ve been forced to think of the difficult things to come. But I can’t let that ruin the good times that are still to come. So among the things I will never do to my old dog, I will include being preoccupied with the future. I don’t know how much time he has left. It would be a shame to waste what’s left of it worrying about and end that I cannot prevent. So I will focus on the moment and enjoy who he is now, in the present without fearing the future.
As I write this, he’s laying next to me on the sofa. Intermittently, he lifts his head and lays it on my knee for a few moments before curling up in a ball again. So now I’m going to close my laptop, sit back and relax, and listen to his happy little noises as I rub his ears.