Animals and Ageing

I have for the last 12 months struggled between guilt and love, I have a beautiful Golden Retriever named Pete, who for the past 16 or so years has and is a loyal, loving friend who has developed arthritis in his hips and has taken to not being able to stand or walk quickly and he poops where ever. The medical term is “walk, sit and drop syndrome”

I can tell when he is about to as the only indication is he lifts his tail, sometimes I can get him outside in time but others especially at night he doesn’t realize he has done it. The smell of dog pooh wafts up and we both know one of us has to get up and deal with it. Pete for all of his life has slept on a mattress on the floor of my bedroom, with the occasional stint on the bed and in his compound outside at the farm if we go away. We abandoned that as he aged as he doesn’t wander off the farm now he sleeps by the door on his mattress waiting for us.

Over winter he started to do this every night and as he has moved to sleeping by the door or next to my bed, off his mattress so it is me that gets up to deal with it. We can sometimes leave him out all day for over 14 hours and he will come in lie down and within an hour poop. Lately it has turned to 3 times per night and I have to admit I now can’t do it any longer.

I feel guilty at putting him outside as he walks around the house going to each door, front door, lounge doors, bedroom door, rear lounge where the cat flap is and to the laundry door and barks, He will even lay down on the grass and bark, I have gotten up from my office a couple of times as he won’t stop (his record is 1 hour) to ensure he is ok.

Even his friend Matilda the cat who use to sleep with him has found better, by better I mean cleaner digs to sleep in without the smell or the substance. He has on one occasion gotten her with his poop. Pete also has this week (2 nights) been disorientated and I have found him struggling to get off the treadmill, I have no idea how he got on it but I was on Friday at 130am thinking I was going to have to get a night light for him in the bathroom so he can get up drink and not get lost in the night.

I had a day and night with him yesterday and last night, I left him out all day whilst I cleaned the house, floors and carpets and cleaned up 4 “oopsies” as my husband says – all done outside but by the doors so flies and the smell waft in, I let in him at 930pm and I was up to him at 1am – cleaned up put him out, let him back in at 3am – cleaned up at 330am and then shunted him out at 530am, where he slept against the bedroom screen door and pooped, so I had to clean that up.

I have woken and decided I don’t want to do it any more, broken sleep, dog poop and feeling resentful towards him. At least outside it is still outside, not on the tiles or carpet. It is time for me to move him out, the weather is better and even if it was cold, we have bought him a lambs wool jacket that we put on him in winter and he has a fleecy lined bedding.

He is very much loved and wanted and I want to allow him to age gracefully and fully medicated (arthritis medication) I want to be able to go bed and not worry about dog poop, I know I will have guilt for a couple of days as he will bark, he will want to come in and be at my feet but I will spend time with him outside and I suspect tonight – going to be his first night out will be the hardest.

Pete on his day bed..

Pete on his day bed..

Pete & Matlida - she sleeps away from him but touching him when she can

Pete & Matlida – she sleeps away from him but touching him when she can

 

 

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