Nov 23, 2013 at 10:35 #473022
Where do I start? My beloved Henry is still alive but I feel as if I am losing him every day.
Thirteen years ago I was called to help evaluate a Cairn Terrier in trouble. His family had sent this 11 month old puppy to his Vets in order to euthanize him. They had tried training and worked with a behaviorist but they finally concluded that he was dangerous and untreatable. The Vet had called me as a last resort. He knew I had just lost my lovable Sammy and Henry didn’t have another alternative. It was love at first sight and I was determined to change his fate.
Henry is a big, beautiful blond Cairn who was bred and born in a puppy mill. His original owners were not mistaken that he was a dangerous dog for their family (including their young children) to keep. He and I were just lucky to find each other. Henry needed help and I was looking for a challenge. His early years were spent in evaluating his behavior with the help of experts from AMC and the University of Pennsylvania, training classes, fun socialization, agility classes and busy days accompanying me while I worked with dogs. He and I built a wonderful friendship, a home and a business together. With the help of some very kind and smart people and medication, Henry overcame his terror of noises and his fear and territorial aggression. He became my helper with shy dogs, a lover of people who adores children and the best friend I have ever had.
Henry has always been as healthy as a horse. Soon he will be fourteen but his hearing and eyesight are perfect, his senior bloods indicate perfect health, his appetite for his breakfast and treats is as hearty as ever and this morning he was out running the yard with his dog buddies. Everything was perfect until slowly and gradually my Henry started to show signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. At first he just seemed to be less enthusiastic about going out to play. I thought his hearing was the problem when I called for the dogs to go out and he just stayed in bed. Then, about six months ago, his buddy Toby died and Henry’s problems seemed to accelerate. He began to stand and stare as if in a trance or get lost in his own yard. Stairs now have gates and rugs have been replaced with washable whelping pads. I am happy to make any adjustment to make things easier and safer for him.
What is truly heartbreaking for me is to see his tail tucked between his legs all of the time. He may raise it up at half mast and swish it a bit for a cookie or a lot of clapping and praise but it soon sinks down tight underneath him. He has never lowered his proud little carrot shaped, Cairn tail in his life except during a thunder storm…ever. Is he so frightened? I don’t know if it’s fear or something else. I am worried that I am being selfish hoping that it is something else. If only I could be sure. We worked so hard to give him a happy fear free life it would be so sad to have him end his life that way.
My Vet and I have discussed Anipryl but I would have to take Henry off the medications that he has been taking for years. He would have to be off them for months then given the Anipryl. If it didn’t work he could go back on his meds. The last time Henry had to be taken off his meds he had a terrible time stopping and starting them back up again. My Vet suggested I try a supplement called Senilife first and see if it helps. I know that waiting is risking letting him get worse but I just can’t figure out what will help or hurt him more.
I am still, somehow, hoping that Henry has more happy time left with me but I am starting to understand that this will be reason I will lose him. My relationship with Henry has been the best, closest and deepest I have ever had with another living creature.Aug 1, 2015 at 1:22 #473023
Hey! Would you believe I have a westie who is 14 and has similar problems. She isn’t scared however seems a bit lost and restless at times. She mainly sleeps, but when she’s awake she is restless. Walking around – seems like she’s in a daze. I wonder is it just old age? 🙁
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