Last month I went to NYC with a group of local Twitter friends. We spent the day at MoMA, we did a little sight-seeing, we dined al fresco in Little Italy (followed by the best gelato I ever had), and ended the night in an Irish pub. I had a great time, especially because I knew I didn’t have to worry about rushing home to take care of Jasper, since he was spending time at my parent’s house.
Mom and Dad were willing to take Jasper for a few days, but I was lucky to get him back. Or so I was told. Jasper and my parents have a love-love relationship. It’s kind of annoying. They love to have him stay because they miss having a dog in the house, and Jas loves going to their house because there’s so much room to roam outside, and many more things to sniff. Always with the sniff sniff sniffing. I swear he’s part bloodhound. Or coke fiend. Whatever.
While Jasper was at “Gram and Pop’s” (I know, I’m properly ashamed of myself, don’t worry) he got the best of everything — lots of food, treats, and all the toilet water he could drink. He also got a haircut!
Who’s a handsome fella? Who IS? HIM is! *Ahem* Anyway.
With all that good came a little bit of bad. You see, Jasper’s getting on in years, and his back and legs aren’t as sturdy as they used to be. He’s got the arthritis, and some days it’s pretty bad. Most days he’s just a little slow and walks a little stiffly, but some days he doesn’t get up as quickly and whines a little when he first gets going. I’ve been able to quiet the pain down with some ‘over the counter’ medications from the pet store and they seemed to help. But, my parents have hardwood floors in their house, including the stair case, and wood floors + unstable old man doggy legs = trouble, and Jasper fell down their stairs not once, but three times. As a result, he had a much harder time getting around the last day of his stay. He didn’t move much from his blanket on the floor, and when he did, he cried horribly.
My poor baby.
So I brought him home and let him rest. For the next day, it was much of the same, as far as the not moving and crying went. He wasn’t able to curl up in a ball and lie down, so when he slept he was sprawled out all weird, and when he’d try to get up – oh, the crying – it broke my heart. He’d wake up in the middle of the night with it. I felt so helpless because I couldn’t help him – he’d growl at me if I tried. So I made an appointment at the vet for him to get checked out. He needed his yearly check up anyway, but this problem was enough to push me to call sooner rather than later. X-rays, blood work, exam, medications, and one mortgage payment later, and the vet told me there was no fracture, that yes, he has arthritis, but it’s manageable, and it was probably the falls down the steps that just aggravated his condition, not to mention throw some ligament damage in for good measure. So he’s on Tramadol, which must be bitter as hell, because let me tell you – it is a joy to try to get him to swallow those things, and has a follow up appointment tomorrow.
He’s feeling much better, but it’s taken a toll on him, I can tell. He’s slower to get up the stairs, and is still not fond of sitting or lying down. The Tramadol makes him thirsty as hell, so he drinks more, and then of course needs to pee more, and if I’m not letting him out the door toute de freakin’ suite…well, I don’t have to tell you. It’s been a trying time, but he’s improving, and that’s what counts.
Throughout this whole ordeal I’ve had to really think about what it’s going to be like not having him around anymore. Before I took him to the vet my dad said that I might ‘have to make a hard decision soon’, and I did not want to even entertain that idea, but you know…it happens. What if he had a fracture? What if he needed surgery? What if it had been inoperable? What if it had been cancer? I thought about these things, listening to him cry at night, and I cried right along with him.
I knew from day one with Jasper that our time together would be limited. He was six years old when I brought him home, I’m not delusional. And yes, he’s just a dog, but he’s my baby. He’s been with me for six years, waiting at the door when I get home, getting underfoot when I’m at the stove, sitting by my feet when I’m on the couch. I know he’s going to leave me, and I know it’s going to be soon. And it’s going to hurt like hell.
But I am so not ready yet.