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Some days it feels too hard

07 Jul

Le Moo likes to hang out in our partially unfinished basement. We don’t know why…if it’s the cold concrete floors, the darkness, or the general idea that she gets to sleep uninterrupted down there. We have a baby gate on our steps that we try to keep closed when we’re not down there, otherwise she goes downstairs and refuses to come back up unless there’s food involved. Unfortunately, sometimes Hub goes downstairs for something (it’s sort of his man-cave) and Le Moo follows. Then when we finally get her back upstairs, if Hub forgets to close the baby gate (it’s set up down half a flight of stairs around a corner out of sight) then Le Moo will just kind of disappear and we’ll have to go searching for her.

So she was down in her lair this morning and it was time for their lunch, so I’m yelling and yelling for her–sometimes she’s a hard sleeper–while I’m putting together their food. I turn around and I see her in the hallway at the top of the stairs and I’m like “you lazy cow”… and then I realize she’s limping. And my heart sinks.

We adopted Le Moo in the fall of 2011, and from what I remember, she was about 3  1/2 years old at the time. We’re at about 4 1/2 years from that time, so she’s about eight years old. She’s 95lbs (ish…we’re working on getting some weight off of her, even though we’ve never been able to accomplish that in the last 4+ years), and we think she’s a large breed dog. Large breed dogs have shorter life spans than their smaller counterparts. Le Moo is the twilight of her life. She’s had these limps on and off through her entire time with us, and our vet has never found anything. Despite Le Moo’s stature, she can haul ass when she wants to, and she’s prone to po-go’ing when she sees a bird or some other critter she wants to chase outside the fence. We’ve never gotten the po-go’ing on camera, but it’s pretty amazing the amount of air that she can get when in flight. Most of the time, the limp resolves, probably because she strained something when running or jumping. It’s wholly possible this limp, too, will resolve. I sat on the floor and checked her feet, paws, toes, leg, elbow, etc. She didn’t show any distress and I found nothing.

After the initial alarm, I’ve left her to rest on her own. Now I’ve been interrupted by the request to go outside. I took the opportunity during Le Moo’s snooze on the deck to inspect her paw and I have found a sore. I thought there was something on her pad and I pulled it off but it felt like…a sticker (as in a piece of paper with glue on it). But now there’s a sore left behind, which explains the limping. I’ve contacted the vet to see if we need to do anything other than keep it clean, but there’s not much we can do with a foot,  you know?

Anyway, after the initial alarm and the back and forth with Hub about what was going on, I told him If there was any reason for me not to get another dog in the future, it’s the worry and anxiety I get over them. It’s so hard to be worried all the time. He said he understood, but that they give us so much back, it’s worth it. I said, Some days it feels too hard. Some days it does. Le Moo is in her golden years. I can’t even fathom the idea of losing her, especially after losing SP. Butthead has been throwing up on and off, not to mention her ACL replacement and ensuing second surgery AND ensuing limping issues. I go to sleep every night and wake up every morning wondering if Butthead has gotten sick. We don’t know why she’s throwing up, and it’s sporadic and hard to figure out. We’ve put her on digestive enzymes in case it is acid reflux or tummy issues, and we have pepcid on hand at our vet’s recommendation if the enzymes don’t work. But it’s more worry for me. More anxiety. These I need like a hole in the head.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my dogs. I love my dogs more than I love most of the people in my life. I can’t imagine my life without them. I couldn’t imagine life without SP or life without my parents’ dogs over the years (their current, Cray-cray Lab, is limping and we don’t know why…sigh). But the stress over caring for them and worrying for them is tough. How do I balance it? How do I manage it?

How do I handle the ache that keeps settling into me knowing that Le Moo is aging…and that one day she’ll be gone? How do I not sit in this chair and cry?

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4 responses to “Some days it feels too hard

  1. joey

    July 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Oh man. See, I loved my Felicity kitty like that. I just loved her so hard. I love all my animals and I can’t imagine life without them, although like you, I know it’s likely inevitable. But the thing is, I love my dog like that now. I do. That same ferocity. And I remember how quickly Felicity was diagnosed and gone. It’s been a long time, but the pain….well, you know.
    Sometimes, I’ll be petting my dog and she’ll look at me with her big brown eyes, so expressive with their eyeliner, and I weep at the thought that she won’t live forever. Then I wonder why we do this? How do we manage? Love. It’s just love. Love to break and mend hearts in constant flux. All we can do is give them the lives they deserve, so when they go, we can have that peace. We did the very best we could.
    Truth be told, I look at my husband and ask the same damn question. Please God, take me first. Humanity is vulnerable with love, but then, there’s that flux…

    Sadie came with a broken paw that never healed right. She always limps, but unless she’s been exercised a lot, no one really notices. I know I’ve done right by her. That’s what you have to focus on. ❤ Sometimes people get 16+ years out of big dogs. I want to be in the lucky group.

     
    • meANXIETYme

      July 7, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      It’s not all about the final end of losing them–although that is a big thing because I get the loving them so hard–it’s about the anxiety of the things that do and could happen to them while they’re with me. The accidents, the sickness, the issues, the thunderstorms, the fireworks, the throwing up, the limping. Worrying about all that stuff. I’ve done this to myself by bringing these animals into my life.
      I feel the same about Hub…I worry about him all the time. I worry about something happening to him, about him getting hurt or sick. I don’t have a choice with him at this point in my life–or my family–but I don’t have to choose to bring another dog into my life again. I don’t have to do this to myself again, on purpose, knowing how hard it is.
      I will. I am almost positive I will. But this is the thing that would give me the most pause (paws?) about doing so. It’s not the money or the change in life or the irritation over peeing in the house or barking at 2am.
      At this point, Butthead will almost always be prone to limping because of her torn ACL and the trouble post-surgery (and post second surgery). Le Moo seems to have limping issues on and off, but I worry more about her because we’ve never found a real cause. At this point in the day (evening), I am not convinced the sore on her paw is the source of her limping. She’s limping too hard for it to be that teeny tiny sore. Hub is anxious to take her to the vet, but our vet doesn’t work on Friday or Saturday, so we might have to take her to a local place and hope for the best. 😦 Likely they will xray her and feel her up and find nothing conclusive and send us home with pain pills. But we shall see.
      I know we give them the best life and that we spoil them senseless, and there’s nothing more I can do.
      And some days it doesn’t feel enough.

       
      • joey

        July 7, 2016 at 10:40 pm

        Oh yes. I understand. Good luck with the anxiety until Monday. Maybe it will lessen some after you see the vet. Worry is the worst.

         
      • meANXIETYme

        July 7, 2016 at 10:45 pm

        We might hit the local vet tomorrow, depending on how bad the limp is. We’ll see. Oh, and Monday is my one-year-post-cancer follow-up ct scan. So yay. (More worry.)
        But thanks for the well wishes.

         

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