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The Worst Thing about Pet Ownership

As a pet mom, there is nothing that makes my stomachs sink faster than getting the call from the veterinarian saying there are concerns about my dogs’ health. That’s what happened last week following Lincoln’s biyearly vet visit. His blood came back with abnormally low platelet counts and after getting a retest, his numbers looked even worse. And the concerns of how to best balance doing everything I can for Lincoln began.

Lincoln in Huntington, WV (From: Herald Dispatch)

Fortunately, today Lincoln is still bouncing around and the outcome from the blood work looks curable or manageable. So I breathe a sigh of relief.

But this is not the first time we agonized over Lincoln’s health. We affectionately call him our little lemon. In addition to his major food allergies, in 2006 and 2010, he had major surgeries costing several thousand dollars each from painful and scary back injuries. 

Still somehow in my mind, my dogs will live forever. They will always run to greet me when I get home and curl up on the couch next to me. But as Lincoln and Ellie continue to climb into their senior years, it weighs on my mind that the time will come when I will have to make hard choices. Lincoln and Ellie have been my first pets as an adult and I honestly can’t imagine what my life, home, or desk at work would be like without them.

As they've started to move a little slower, it has served as a reminder for me to spend more time with them and make sure I enjoy their unique quirks and personality to the fullest. What about you? If you've got a senior pet, how do you give your pet extra love?

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He loves to snuggle, but has never been allowed on the furniture. Now we put a blanket down and let him spoon on the sofa.

I just made the choice to put a pacemaker in my 13 year old Westie.  I didn’t think much prior to this that he may not be with me much longer. Now there is more us time and more scratching his belly and walks.  Not thinking about losing him yet.

honey is a resuce dog, a lab mix, i adopted her when she was four. She was the first dog i got as an adult. She has always been very independent and doesnt mind being left alone, and dosent seem to get jealous of the other dogs for attention. She is 12 1/2 now and i can see her getting thinner and its harder for her to get move around. But she has always been round and i fear i have taken that for granite. I had a friend over a few weeks ago and as i was moving around the house, i heard the normal shuffle of movement from the dogs. My friend said, “wow, honey follows you everwhere huh?” I looked down and honey was lying like she always does a few feet away contently. I got up and moved around to test this theory and sure enough, honey would wait a few moments to see if i would return to the room, if not she would quietly get up and reposition herself in the room i was in. I never noticed before! She has just always been near. I dont know what it will feel like or what void there will be when she isnt around anymore. When she isnt my silent, furry, shadow keeping me company when i dont even realize it.

I have a 60 pound Shepard mix named Fannie. She is over fifteen years old with a heart condition. She was my little girl and before I knew it she turned into my little grandmother. Fannie is doing good in her old age. She does not look like a fifteen year old dog, and does not act like it. I take her to the park and she swims in the lake and trots along the meadow. But I am well aware that at fifteen she has lived longer than usual for a dog her size, and I know how things can change in a short time. My veterinarian has Fannie on palliative care, along with her heart medications, she has other medicines to make her comfortable so she can live out her life and hopefully die naturally, at home. Fannie now sleeps almost all the time, and I check on if she is still breathing. Having a old dog is very special but it is also bittersweet.

I so agree, it is the worst part of pet ownership. With Jasmine we’ve been through two years of agony with couple times having her at the brink of death.

Fortunately she pushed through all that. But the pain of seeing her suffering was horrible.

It’s a toss up, I had a hard headed husky….probably when she ate a cow….or maybe when she scratched THROUGH 3 oak doors…it wasn’t just her, two of her siblings and both her parents had the same behaviors (I hear).  She live to 14, can’t say I was upset as she got older….she would still escape, but wasn’t so good at running things down.

I was thinking about this very same thing this morning.  My seemingly aloof and ever watchful Chow mix Lexie is approaching 13. I have been trying not to listen to the internal dialogue that my head and my heart have been bouncing back and forth.  She’s been getting preferred treatment as of late, her house mate Barklee gets slighted a bit. If there’s such a thing as “more spoiled” she is acting the part!

Jessica: I hope he lives a long and happy life. What a great pet mom you are!

Kim: I do the same thing! They have a section of the couch covered in a blanket so we can watch movies together!

Jenn Cherry: Wow! Your comment nearly brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing! It’s funny how when they start showing their age, we’re reminded to make sure we appreciate our time with them. Honey sounds like an amazing dog.

Anthony: What a great word, bittersweet. I completely agree. I am so thankful to have Lincoln still here, but it is tough to see him age and not be as spry as he used to be. Thank you for sharing your story about Fannie!

Jana: You’re right. There really is no worse feeling. Jasmine is certainly one lucky dog to have you.

L Green: Haha. Never thought of it that way.

Brenda: Haha. I know what you mean! Lincoln gets the comfier bed and the extra special love as he’s our old man dog. But Ellie will get her turn when she gets older. Thank you for sharing!

The worse besides getting the bad news your bestest four legged pal has not long to live, is the final good-bye. Just went through this with our sweet yellow Lab. She was only 11, cancer. We had her 3 months after the tests. Those months were spent spoiling her, more cuddles, extra cookies, and totally devoted to her. No trips, nothing was as important as just being with her. That was her favorite thing, just being with us.

I am fortunate now to have a puppy, Cooper, but just a couple of years ago I had a 15 year old Lhasa Apso, Tyler.  Everytime we went to the vet, which became a monthly, then weekly, and sometimes daily visit, something else was wrong.  I was part of a layoff in 2009 which to some would be a disaster, but for me it turned out to be a blessing.  I got to spend every day of the last year of Tyler’s life with him. That is time that I would not take any amount of money for.  We snuggled and slept in and just enjopyed hanging out together.  There is one thing that I learned in that year that I had never realized before.  These sweet furry blessings in our lives age just like humans, but at a very accelerated pace.  They can be incredibly cranky, they sleep 3/4 of the day, they move slower and sometimes need a little help getting around and need us to be much more patient than we have been in the past.  It was sobering to watch Tyler and know that someday I too would be experiencing these same issues. As crazy as it may sound, being out of of work in 2009 will always be one of the best years of my life.  I got to spend 24 hours a day with my best friend. Cherish every moment with the furry angels in your life.

[...] pet owner would agree the biggest challenge we face in pet ownership is accepting the limited time we have with our furry companions. We can all sympathize with any individual who has lost their pet, because most of us can remember [...]

[...] of my pups are microchipped now, neither of them arrived that way when we rescued them. I adopted Lincoln from a rescue almost 7 years ago and at the time microchipping seemed much less common. Ellie [...]

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