Thursday, September 09, 2021

Now, it’s Jake’s turn

This morning I noticed that Jake was breathing quite fast, faster than normal, and fast enough for me to notice. I tried cuddling him in case he’d just awakened from a bad dream, but his breathing didn’t calm. I watched him for the morning, then I rang and booked him into the vet.

The thing is, Jake’s now considered “geriatric” and, at 14, is the equivalent of an 81 year old human. I knew he had a lot of problems that could be expected of a guy his age: I often say, “He’s hard of hearing, hard of seeing, and hard of moving. But he’s happy.” Even so, I know he’s declining as he ages, and I could tell something had changed today.

Jake was diagnosed with heart failure, which is common enough in old dogs, and he has problems with his mitral valve (like Sunny had). This has led, the vet believes, to a “collapsed trachea”, which makes him cough. It’s also led to a bit of muscle loss along his back.

Even so, he’s in good spirits and seems happy, he has a (very) healthy appetite, and he doesn’t seem to be in any distress, so we’re going to try medication to ease his symptoms. We’ll see how he goes and decide what to do after he adjusts (he’s got a recheck on Tuesday).

The thing is, I’m well aware that he’s an elderly dog now, and even under the very best circumstances, the time before him won’t be long—we just can’t know how long. I’ve said for some time that I don’t know if he’ll see his 15th birthday, but that’s up to him.

As always, I’ll do whatever I need to do to help him be as healthy as he can be for as long as he’s happy and content. He’ll let me know when it’s time (they always do), but that’s not now, and probably not soon. Hopefully.

So, that’s where we’re at. Leo (who, by the way, at 4 is 30 in human years) was NOT happy about being left home all alone. When I got home, he cuddled up in my lap to keep me home. Meanwhile, Jake lay on the floor next to my chair. I hope both will continue doing that for a long time, but none of us knows how long we have, do we? I learned that in the hardest possible way. So, I’ll just be glad for what I have in each moment, and for the gifts those moments truly are.

This is a revised and extended version of something I posted to bt personal Facebook when I got home from the vet. The photo above is of Jake saying hello to me on his first night in our home, back in June 2007, and it was included in my blog post about his arrival.


Roger Owen Green said...

This is actually why I didn't have a cat for 30 years until my daughter insisted. Our cats are 8 y.o., so we should have some time...

Arthur Schenck said...

Yeah, the constant departures are really hard to endure.