Friday, April 23, 2010

Note To Self: Be Here Now

I don't write a lot here about what I'm feeling. I figure I have friends for that, and it's kind of personal- I mean, who knows who's reading this. But I'm having a bad day. Mac is getting old. I've mentioned that he's not technically "old," he's actually a "veteran". The issue is, I started writing about him being a veteran almost a year ago. Which means he's a almost a year older. Or more veteran.

He's in great shape for a veteran, and it's true, he's only almost 9. He often acts like a puppy, and sometimes even puts on his puppy (not poker) face.


I mean, puppy face, right?

But lately, he's showing his age. His ear is constantly infected- see how his right ear is kind of small and misshapen? It's pinched, or closed, and I think I'm finally going to surgically open it up. This may actually mean removing the entire ear canal which would involve surgically closing it up, not opening it. I went to the vet to discuss that last week, and the vet agrees that it's time. After 8+ years (who knows when the injury happened) of infection, it's probably nearly closed up with polyps and infection gunk. Ew. Then last night, his legs caved in on him. He kind of spider walked around like he didn't know what was happening then pretended everything was ok, but was more frantic in his friendly antics than usual. And his back right kept falling out. I didn't freak out, I let him sleep it off, and hoped it would heal.

This morning, his back right kept falling, he didn't really want to put weight on it, and his back left wasn't so good. He kept jumping on the bed like normal, and not quite making it, pulling himself up with his front legs. It was time to go back to the vet. I admit, I have a feeling he was faking this injury because he wanted to go back to the vet. He loves the vet. Check out this picture from last week. No stress, in fact, I kind of have to pull him out of there.

OK, I know that dogs don't do things like this on purpose. And I know that although Mac is going to hide his pain, I know that it can't possibly feel good to have his legs fall out from under him. The vet couldn't find anything. He also noted that Mac wasn't going to tell us anything. He's worried that it might be his back since Mac's showing wobbly on both legs. Mac's hips seem OK since his joints aren't popping out of his sockets (I think that's how it works?) and there's no swelling anywhere. It's a mystery, because there's no real evidence.

Only it's not a mystery, because Mac is a veteran. I talked a little bit about our history together, but we've had a great almost-eight-years, and Mac was a young adult when we met. It's inevitable. What's funny is that just a couple weeks ago I decided I was going to tell myself and Mac that he was only 5. I figured it couldn't hurt. But I have to come be real: he's a veteran.

I had a hard day today: I couldn't bring my dog with me anywhere. My sidekick. My partner in crime. On a normal day off I take walks with Mac, with my camera. I drive around with Mac. I go to the camera store with Mac, I do everything with Mac. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't leave the house because I didn't know what to do By Myself. I make myself eat by myself- as much as I pretend I don't like people, I'm kind of a social person. But without people, I still have my dog. It was a Hard Day.

My sister pointed out today that our grandfather is 91 years old. He's amazing: he's mentally sharper than I am, I'm pretty sure, and mobile. He lives with my not-grandma, alone, and they go to the opera, the movies, etc. He's got aches and pains, a failing knee, and one bad eye. But he's 91. He emails, programs the VCR, or whatever people use these days (TIVO, maybe? I can't do either) and orders NetFlix. He's in great shape. He's a veteran (literally and figuratively). It's inevitable. The people we love age. The dogs we love age, too. We keep them comfortable, we acknowledge them and their gifts to us, and have to remember to be here now.

Baby Mac

Veteran Mac, about two weeks ago

now that's handsome


Sarah said...

I'm sorry :(

It's not fair when dogs get old. I hope Mac's feeling better soon, and will be ready to join you for many more adventures!

YesBiscuit! said...

All good thoughts for you and Mac...

image415 said...

I hope Mac feels better. He's still a pup!

Dognerd said...

I'm with Sarah - no fair!! I really hope he is feeling better. thinking of both of you.

Anonymous said...


harleymom said...

aww Mac - he still has a lot of years to go! Harley really is senior. She got a card in the mail from the vet about being a senior and coming in for her senior checkup. I try not to get upset about it but it is really hard. So far she is going great, she was 11 in november. Slowing down quite a bit - we take pretty short walks these days.