The Realities Of Having Senior Dogs

The joys and responsibilities of having a dog

By George Gombossy

Yesterday was all about dogs for me. While at the New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care in Windsor there was a stunning 11-week-old black German Sheppard waiting for his shots with his family.

I could not help myself. After getting permission to pet him, I sat next to the pup who immediately stood up and started licking my face. The feeling was incredible: there is no drug out there that can compete with the love a dog can bring to your life. A part of me was saying what a joy it would be have a puppy again.

But let me tell you why I was at the 24-hour clinic. Our 15-year-old (we are guessing because she was adopted) Muffin – a terrier mix – had not eaten in four days and was getting lethargic. I took her to our vet in West Hartford, who after running a series of blood and urine samples determined that Muffin had kidney problems which required that water be given to her intravenously at a hospital for at least 48 hours. Odds were that she would recover with treatment and maybe live with a diminished kidney function for another year or two. The tab for her hospitalization and diagnosis – $2,000 or more.

Back at home we have our second adopted “child” Nitza, a 95-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback who is also a senior at 11.5 years. Over the past week she has defecated in the house at least five times – once last night once this morning. She isn’t acting out, she simply can’t control herself. We give her medication for her arthritis and for incontinence – $100 monthly – and they help.

Thankfully I work from home. Otherwise I don’t know what we would do. We limit the time away from home to four hours unless we can take the “children” with us.There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about how long they will be with us.

If I did not have Nitza and Muffin in my life I would have missed a lot of unconditional love and TLC.

But when we adopted the two did we really consider what we would be going through when they became seniors? No and nor do most people.

So yes, if you can financially and emotionally care for a dog, adopt one. Just remember it is a HUGE responsibility and not just fun and games.

Check out other pet stories on George's new site: CtPetLovers.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephanie Paulmeno, MS, RN, NHA October 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Hi, George, What a great article. While our two adopted (shelter) dogs are only about 4 or 5 years old now, we recently had one who we adopted that was blind, hard of hearing and 13 years old. We loved her to pieces; Trixie only got to live with us for about 6 months before she died of a major stroke, but we made sure they were the best 6 months of her life. It was great that you pointed out to folks that the cost of owning a pet can be huge, and unexpectedly so, before they commit to adoption. Our prior dog, before Trixie, lived to a ripe old age and the end-of life care and midnight runs to the emergency care center for comfort measures were indeed costly; but on the other hand even one of our younger dogs has accrued quite a medical tab. His eating a portion of a towel resulting in a bowel obstruction carried a $3,000 vet fee. It was a hardship but he was worth every penny. We've gotten it back many times over in pure love!
George P. Gombossy October 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Thank you for your inspiring tale Would love to use your comment on ctpetlovers. Com George
Stephanie Paulmeno, MS, RN, NHA October 26, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Please feel free to use it, George. I also wrote an article for Patch a month or so ago about Trixie. It was about the special joys of special needs dogs. Perhaps you'd like to check it out under my name, Stephanie Paulmeno. I think you would enjoy it because we clearly both have a very special place in our heart for our four-legged friends.
George P. Gombossy October 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Could I ask you to email some of your blogs to me at george@ctwatchdog.com, would love to use them under your name at CtPetLovers.com, our new site. Please check it out. George


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