I spent a lot of time in the summer of 2018 with my dogs in the backyard, reading during the day and looking at the stars at night. I even blogged about it, so I would remember it a year from then.
It won’t always be like this, I thought. This might be the last summer. The last Christmas. Her last birthday.
I need to stop thinking like that, because Mia is still here!
It’s now been more than a year since she’s put any weight on her back legs. For several months, she continued to scoot her way around the house. We’d come home and find her under Rob’s desk, or sprawled in the kitchen waiting for us. Her front legs were so strong. She really motored in her little wheelchair.
Gradually, she slowed down more. It got harder for her to hold herself up on her front legs in her Best Friend Mobility wheels. We’re still moving her around the house by lifting up her hind legs while she steers with her front. Sometimes Rob gets the hind end and I take the front and we fly her like an eagle to the car, where we drive her to the park, where Rob wheels her in the wagon to a spot where she barks at other dogs and watches Leo play.
I get tired of people asking how old she is, and people actually say horrible things to us like “It’s so sad when dogs get old.” Lately, people have been saying it’s nice of us to take such good care of her. As if we wouldn’t. I always say, “She’s been very good to us, so we’re returning the favor.”
Aside from not being able to walk, her worst medical issue was an open pressure sore in December that I really thought wouldn’t heal, but I put MediHoney on it, and gave her two rounds of antibiotics, and sat beside her and watched Hallmark Christmas movies, and then all three seasons of The Leftovers, and it healed.
And she’s still here.
It’s stress-inducing for me to take her to the vet, because I have an irrational fear they’re going to say, “Oh no, this dog is too old.” But they never do. As it happens, one of the doctors is partial to old dogs. She gets it. A lot of her own dogs have had “mobility issues.” So clearly, this is the only vet we should be making appointments with from now on.
For our last appointment, Rob wheeled Mia in, lifted her out of the wagon and set her down on the floor. When the vet came in, I pointed out, like, 57 different things that were wrong. The stinky ear, this bald patch here, this sticky belly here. A few minutes later, I remembered to point out a goopy eye.
Our vet’s response: “She looks great. You’re doing a fantastic job.”
Really, it hasn’t been that hard. You hear things about knowing it’s time when the bad days outnumber the good days. Mia doesn’t have bad days. She’s alert, she’s happy, she’s still extremely interested in food. She pees and poops. Unfortunately, she does both of these things in the house, but most of the time, the poop is easy to pick up, and I’d say 75 percent of the time, we successfully get her outside and hold her up while she pees.
Except today. I got peed on three times today. That’s the only hard part. Managing her “business.”
It’s a very small price.