Chapter 38 – Year 17

The rest of year 16 passed by pretty uneventfully.  Gabby was playing and pushing her big Kong all over the place.  When she was in the hospital in April 2014 I never dreamed that not only would I have her home again, but that she would pick up where she left off. 

Once year 17 came around I started to see her strength and activity level decline. She definitely wasn’t as strong, and she had the lazy days a bit more often. She was still that same old Gabby in spirit, though. The video below was taken about five weeks after her 17th birthday in November.

As you can see, she has that gleam in her eye and the enthusiasm, but she was moving just a bit slower, and seems a bit stiffer and less surefooted.

Incontinence Returns

In January, I noticed that she was starting to leak again.  She was drinking a bit more, but what was the main cause is the proin and its sphincter strengthening effect had worn off.  She did not have accidents in the house, but she started to leak when she slept, or when I left her in her crate.

Putting her on the proin again would solve the problem, but then the seizures would return.  She had not had one in almost a year and I did not want to go back there. She wouldn’t tolerate a diaper, so I decided to try other options.

Above was my solution for her crate.  I got the biggest crate they sold at Petsmart, affixed a water bowl to the grates and put a doggie toilet in it. Since I had trained her to pee on command, it was relatively easy to train her to use it.  I put her bed at the end, then lined everything with “pee pads” to keep her as dry as possible when she leaked.  The solution worked very well at keeping things under control. When she did get some pee in her fur I gave her a sponge bath to keep her clean.  She was always very clean!  When she did have an accident in her crate, she often pressed her butt against the grates so the poop fell outside the crate!

February and the worst omen… and new sleeping arrangements

In February Gabby had her first seizure in almost a year, even without the proin. It was small, and she had just fainted and fell over. She woke up quickly. Doc checked and bloodwork was normal.  The seizure could have been related to her CRF or it could have been something else.  We didn’t know. She was an old dog now, no doubt about it.  Lots of things can start going wrong.

Around February she was also not quite as surefooted as she used to be.  When she stood by the edge of the bed she got wobbly and fell off once or twice. I looked for solutions, but there were only two I could think of.
1) She sleeps on the floor or in her crate without me, on her pee pad, and I stay in bed.
2) I sleep on the floor with her like I did when she hurt her back the first time. I put pee pads under her usual sleeping spot.

I didn’t have to think that long about this decision.  With all the love and happiness she had given me, and the love I had for her, I wasn’t going to make her be away from me. She was most happy and content when she was curled up touching me, and I would not deny her that in her final months or years. I wanted it for me, too, anyway. As I told myself as I curled up with her on the floor, it was a good problem to have.  If she was happy and healthy and with me, I would have slept on the floor forever!