Your Elder Dog – part 3

Last week I commented on the issues involved when your dog gets old. Obviously there are physical problems you and your dog have to deal with. An important one is mobility.

Chimo is finding it difficult to get up and walk around. She makes the effort, but her body can’t always respond the way she expects. I really sense that she doesn’t understand what is happening to her. Sometimes she will bark while lying down for no apparent reason. It is as if she wants someone to make the aching stop.

Beside medical solutions the best we can do is accommodate her and let her know that we understand. There are words in her vocabulary that help.

When we approach her and she is in the way of our steps, it used to be that we would say “Look Out” and she would move. Most times she would anticipate and move before it was necessary to say “Look Out”. These days we use “Stay” instead. That tells her that she doesn’t have to struggle to get up, because we’ll step around her.

The other situation happens when we can detect that she is in hurting. I explain the use of “Poor Dog” and “It’s Alright” in The Heart of Your Dog on pages 74-76. Even though there is no immediate injury, showing compassion for her suffering results in tail wagging and no doubt an endorphin response, easing some of the pain.