Saturday, November 16, 2013

Katy update

Katy's annual checkup was last night, a million thanks to Bob for taking her. She's very difficult to get in and out of the car now because she can't jump at all. We'd noticed some more pronounced hopping down the stairs and ways she'd run without rotating both hips but had assumed it was all due to her arthritis.  

It turns out that she's torn a ligament in her back right leg. Her arthritis is also advancing, so that she can no longer have full range of motion in her right front leg. She said Katy was a tough old bird, since she had never really changed any of her behaviors despite tearing it. She only winced and grunted as the she was rubbing on her arthritic legs. 

The vet doesn't recommend surgery at her age and kept referring to "quality of life" measures, such as pain medication and anti-inflammatories as our best option.  

Her weight at 50 pounds is a little heavy, but this is due to the limited exercise options she has now. I've noticed that she is eating less and usually leaves her bowl partially filled throughout the day. Life has a way of balancing things out.

Her cloudy eyes aren't cataracts, just wearing down over time, and she's got a small benign growth in one of her ears. Sam is sure she's losing some of her hearing, although vibrations work well to alert her to things.

Katy came to us in a situation where if we didn't take her, she's probably have been killed as a 6 month old. With 5 million animals in shelters each year, and 3.5 million of them euthanized, the odds are never good going in. But as a black dog, the least-adoptable by statistics, and an adolescent with a submissive/wetting problem, she didn't stand a chance. 

Her submissive problem went away within the year. We think she's been beaten or threatened by a male before she was dumped, since she had to learn not to growl at Bob in her first days home. Having Ian as an older brother saved her, too. He taught her how to be a good dog (mostly -- she still can't stop herself from barking at dogs walking on the sidewalk, although she sees and hears them less and less now) and she, in turn, helped Ian in his old age, when he'd gone completely deaf and almost blind. She was his eyes and ears in those final days. 

Ian died in 2006, and we'd adopted him in 1997 when the vet guessed he was at least 6 or 7 then. We only had him for 9 years but he managed a 15-16 year life span. We've now had Katy for over 12, the longest of any of our pets. The vet we took her to at adoption guessed her age at a year and said she was "probably full grown" which still amuses us to this day. 

Katy "full grown" her first week home

So, she could have another number of years, and we'll baby her and treasure every one, but last night, letting it sink in that her vet is now referring to her as what amounts to a geriatric hospice case, I had to snap a few more photos, just to hold this moment in time. I was trying to avoid the flash (and demon-eyed dog), but in the low light of the night, her blackness was working against me.


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