What Do I Do With This Dog?

He’s sweet.  He’s kind.  He never holds a grudge.  He takes nothing personally.   He has no ego.   He takes the high road.  No, I’m not talking about spiritualist Eckhart Tolle, but I could be.  My dog Simon is all these things but has one MAJOR flaw that’s driving me insane…

Simon is 13 years old and incontinent. He loses control. Several times a week… inside the house.  I’m at my wit’s end.

I brought Simon to the vet who said he has kidney issues.  No kidding.  This situation is causing him to drink rivers of water, which is causing him to lose it in the house.  A lot. I was given special food to feed him and pray it works.

Now I know lots of people would take a dog in this condition to the vet for the “final visit,” if you catch my drift.  And part of me understands this decision.  After all, it is your home and no one wants it messed with, literally.  But I look at this animal and even though he’s half-blind, stone deaf, arthritic, hoarse and incontinent, he’s happy.

Simon still follows me everywhere, creaky and wobbly and visibly relieved when I settle down in one spot.  He lies in our dining room each morning, not only catching a sunbath but keeping one eye on me as I write in the kitchen.

He still loves his dinnertime at 4:00 p.m. prompt, circling around while I place his dog food in his bowl.

He still loves his treats.

He still smiles.

He still makes three slow turns before easing down into his doggie bed each night.  He still gives a content sigh after closing his eyes.

In his young pup days Simon was a great watchdog, alerting us if anyone set foot on our property.  He’d stay by my side protectively if any repairman or stranger came to our home.  He taught my sons kindness and responsibility.

He showed understanding when I’d put him on his outside leash, get distracted and forget to bring him back in.  An hour later I’d remember and dash to get him.

One time I did this when it was cold and rainy and I felt shame as I wiped him down with a towel.  “I’m so sorry,” I murmured, leaning my face into his damp forehead.  Simon wagged his tail.

Simon has taught me several big lessons in life – how to live in the moment, how to love unconditionally and how to forgive.

Now I’m getting one last lesson…how to be patient.  And yet as long as Simon is enthused about life, I’ll keep going.  I’ll try and help this crazy-looking hound I adopted ten years ago.  I’ll try and give him a comfortable and merciful old age.  After all, I know Simon would do the same for me.

Still, these days can be trying.  One minute I’m swearing as I’m cleaning up another accident.  The next I’m sighing, scratching behind his ears.  And always is the question, what do I do with this dog?

And always is the same answer…love him.

 

(Postscript: Simon passed away peacefully in July, 2015).

 

Do you have an old pet you just can’t quit?  Comments are always welcome.  Thank you for reading and sharing..

 

 

34 Comments

  1. Yes. I've had two dogs that became incontinent as they got older, and it was awful.

    Most recently, our dog Gus had to be put on pain medicine when he had cancer, which caused the worst messes while he was sleeping. Every morning, I got up, rinsed off his bed with the hose, put it in the wash, washed him off, then took a spot scrubber and washed the carpet. We put up with that for 5 months before I felt it was time to call the vet for a final visit. Afterward, I called in an industrial carpet cleaning service. I probably would have pulled out the carpet if it couldn't have been salvaged.

    I know exactly how you feel. Our dogs give us so much, I feel like it's the least we can do for them in the end.

  2. Just saw your link on my blog… Oh Simon! Have you tried those belly bands? I know that the rescue I'm about to work with uses them. I truly have no idea what I'm getting into, do i? : )

  3. We have a rescue dog and she has got to be the sweetest thing ever. I've always believed when a pet is ready to go, they have a way of letting you know. If they still have joy then it's probably not yet time.

  4. I agree. Simon still loves his routines and his life. I could never take that away from him. When he seems listless and no longer interested in living, that's another story.

    • Laurie Stone

      Paula, I miss Simon everyday. It was hard at the end, but he gave us 10 wonderful years. Thank you for reading.

  5. OMG Laurie, we have the exact same problem with our dog – he is 13 years old and he leaks a bit. When he’s in the house, he wears a diaper. He has other health problems, but he’s still such a good companion. I understand the feelings you were having completely.

    Sorry for your loss.

    • Laurie Stone

      Thank you Sharon. Its hard watching a pet age. Diapers are a good idea. We were getting close to using them before he passed.

  6. “Simon still follows me everywhere, creaky and wobbly and visibly relieved when I settle down in one spot.”

    I loved this post. So crisp and well written, and I was literally warmed by the relationship between you and your dog. This is absolutely priceless. Glad to have found it over The Women of Midlife.

    • Laurie Stone

      Thank you so much, Julie. I miss Simon everyday. Anyone who’s ever had a pet, knows the heartache as they age and when they pass. Thank you for reading.

  7. You got me with that last line. I am so sorry. I know what it’s like to lose a pet. No one should ever give them a “final visit” unless there’s nothing else to be done. We wouldn’t do that to people, would we? I know I”m preaching to the choir here…

    Love this piece. What a wonderful pup and I fell in love with him as I was reading.

    • Laurie Stone

      Terri, So true. Simon was loyal till the last. I agree, many need help at the end which makes it so poignant. Thank you for reading.

  8. A very touching post. I am not (yet) in your position, but I do wonder myself what would I do if that happens to my dog. My parents had a dog when I was a little girl, and he died peacefully because of his old age. Then my close friend’s dog had a problem with his back legs because of old age; he could not walk at all. The vet told her that her dog might be unable to walk ever again (the dog also had a problem with his liver e.tc). My friend did not give up; she bought a ‘wheelchair’ special for dogs. Her dog used it for a year already and last Christmas, her dog can walk again without the wheelchair support. He can not walk on long distance yet, but it is amazing to see. He is 15 years old now. Sometimes keeping the faith may bring the miracle that we wish for..

    • Laurie Stone

      How interesting, Indah. That’s amazing how the dog walked again, especially at that advanced age. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

  9. Aw, so sweet. We have a dog too who is a member of our family. I get so irritated by some of the things she does, but then – like you – find myself nuzzling her. She always always always loves and forgives us unconditionally. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from her.

  10. It’s such a tough call isn’t it? We made the final vet visit with our dog when he was 14 and my husband and I both cried and wished he could have stayed young forever. They leave a special place in our heart don’t they?

    • Laurie Stone

      They do, Leanne. Simon had to be put down last summer and I still miss him everyday. Thanks for reading.

  11. I feel like I read this before and it still breaks my heart. Our older dogs are so sweet and special and they ask for nothing, just happy to be in our inner circle. They spend such a short time with us on Earth. A beautiful post and the tears are flowing!

  12. We made the agonizing decision to put our 13 year old dog down 12/28/15 and we miss her every day. She was incontinent and we tried everything, including dog diapers. Finally it got the best of us. So sorry about your loss of Simon. He sounds like he was a wonderful dog.

    • Laurie Stone

      Molly, We could not have lasted much longer with Simon this way. We got close to doggie diapers, but then he was in such pain at the end, the decision was made for us. Thanks so much for reading.

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