It’s interesting to observe the interaction of Betty and Kasey. Betty wants to romp, and Kasey wants to sleep, but they share one great interest: pawing through as much dirt as they can. It was be a close call whether our backyard bushes survive the furious digging competition.
Recently we took Kasey to the vet’s office while we went on a weekend trip. When we returned the vet reported that Kasey had been very anxious during her stay — so anxious that they actually had to give her some kind of sedative to calm her down. One symptom of her stress was that when the vet’s assistants would try to walk her, she would constantly tug them toward the road, as if she wanted to return home.
Of course, this news made us feel like crap — nobody wants to hear that the canine member of their family is suffering from anxiety issues — but it also leaves us with tough and limited choices. Although it is increasingly common for people to travel with their dogs these days, we can’t take Kasey along every time we go on a trip. We can’t take her everywhere we go, and leaving her alone in a hotel room seems like a recipe for disaster. We’ve had her stay at our house with a dog sitter who stops by a few times a day for some of our short trips, but that approach often produces accidents. We’ve taken her to the vet, where the anxiety issues have occurred, and we’ve boarded her at kennels, but those stays seem to leave Kasey sleep-deprived and exhausted. Kasey is an old dog, and the constant barking you hear whenever you visit one of those kennels seems to really bother her.
People used to talk about “a dog’s life,” as if the leisurely romping and dozing we associate with pooches was the kind of lifestyle we should all aspire to, but researchers have found that dogs in fact deal with lots of issues. Many dogs have serious problems with separation anxiety when their owners leave the house; others are high-strung and have delicate constitutions thanks to the constant inbreeding needed to produce the latest designer dog. Some dogs take daily medication for psychological issues, which really makes you wonder: what does it say when our modern society is to the point where there is a significant issue with dogs being over-medicated for mental conditions?
I’m not sure what we’re going to do with Kasey when we travel; we’ve got a while before we both have to be out of town again. I do know this: I’m willing to accept a few accidents on the carpet if that means she doesn’t have to be sedated.
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that our dog Kasey may be dealing with deafness.
If true, it’s not surprising, because Kasey’s getting to be of pretty advanced age. She’s a rescue dog, so we’re not exactly sure how old she is, but the vet estimates from her teeth that she’s probably somewhere around 14 or 15. Lately she’s experiencing some of the gimpiness, gastric, and bladder problems that you see in older dogs, and she spends a bigger portion of her day sleeping, too.
The apparent deafness, though, seems to be a more recent development. I’ve particularly noticed it this week, while Kish has been on the road. It used to be that when I would get home from work Kasey would hear me walking up the steps and the key rattling in the door and come to the foyer to greet me with a few welcoming wags of her tail. Now she doesn’t, and when I call her she doesn’t come, either, so I have to search the house to find her. Usually she’s up in the upstairs bedroom. As always, she’s happy to see me when I come into her field of vision, so I’m guessing that the change in habit has less to do with diffidence about the arrival of the Old Boring Guy and more to do with not hearing me as I come in.
There are other potential signs of hearing problems, too. Kasey is terrified of thunderstorms, but lately it’s only the loudest peals of thunder that seem to bother her. She doesn’t come running like she used to when the clatter of the bowls in her feeding area indicates that food is being laid out for her enjoyment. She seems to bark more, and I wonder if that is because hearing herself bark is one way of interrupting her increasingly quiet world.
There’s no problem with living with a hearing-impaired dog, really — you just need to make sure that she sees what you are doing and can then follow the patterns of behavior that we’ve established over years of living together. She doesn’t need to hear “time for bed” if she sees you heading up the stairs, and the sight of her leash is as effective a communication about going for a walk as a verbal command. If she’s adjusting to a changing world, we certainly can do that as well. Kasey may end up as deaf as a post, but we’ll love her just the same.
It’s become increasingly common to see people traveling with pets these days. Whether it is service dogs or dogs taken along for comfort or company, canines are a much more frequent sight on airport concourses than they used to be.
All of which leads to the question of what the pooches do when they feel the call of nature. The Philadelphia airport answers the call with a small astroturfed area complete with retrieval bags and a bright red fire hydrant.
Richard and Julianne are getting a new dog in the near future. It’s a Lab that has been bred and recently gave birth to a litter of three puppies — who are now two weeks old — and the breeder sent us this photo of the pups.
It’s kind of shameless to post pictures of puppies, but I just can’t resist it. Is there anything cuter than puppies?
Paisley has arrived for her brief stay with the Webners, and immediately she upset the well-oiled rhythms of our household. For one thing, she follows Kasey around wherever Kasey goes — no surprise there, dogs are pack animals and Kasey’s the leader of the pack — and Kasey clearly finds it unnerving. At heart, Kasey’s a loner . . . which is why seeking some solitude behind boots and shoes seems like a good idea. And, of course, when tiny puppies are around you worry about accidents, and chewing, and stains, and curious little pooches getting trapped in inaccessible areas where they can’t get out and you can’t get in.
Who’d have thought that an impossibly cute eight-pound bundle of fur could cause such chaos?
Today the upset will end, as Paisley heads up to her new home in Hamtramck and Kasey gets to get some sleep and slide back into her leisurely lifestyle.