Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Old Girl!

Our pup is fourteen years old today. Happy Birthday, Zoey!

Of course I can remember the day she came home at ten weeks of age. I remember thinking how big she looked for that age; not a puppy-look but more like a teenager. I thought maybe she was going to be bigger than female Pudel Pointers are supposed to be. But she didn't become a big dog. Remaining on the smaller side is how she turned out.

She's the first dog we've ever had who wasn't a chow hound from the word go. Always rather finicky about her dry food, but eager to inhale the raw venison she's been raised on. We'd manage to fatten her up a wee bit over each winter but then summer would come and she'd spend her days outside patrolling our big fenced in yard when she wasn't out running in the woods with us.

We thought she would never outgrow her puppy personality. (Hyper and frustrating at times!) And she didn't until about age eleven or twelve. Then last summer, almost overnight, we noticed a remarkable difference and she started acting like an old dog. Sadly, her eyesight and hearing seem to have checked out to a large degree.

In the morning she gets a little dish of kibble which she sometimes eats, sometimes doesn't. At night we've started feeding her a mixture of cooked rice and ground cooked venison with a couple chunks of her raw venison meat on top and she consistently devours it and then checks the floor surrounding her dish for anything she might have missed. But she's still not putting on any weight; rather she's lost quite a bit and isn't much now but bedraggled fur and bones.

She's still enjoying life though. ( Mostly enjoying sleeping, I admit.) The second hubby sits down at night for a little recreational reading before bedtime, she plops at his feet giving him the old evil eye until he gets up and gives her a small treat to munch on. Then she says good night and goes to bed.

Sometimes she doesn't want to go for a walk at all and then other times she's eager to go and exhibits some of her old pep and energy.

Her new habit is to go through the whole house scrunching up any small rug she can. Maybe it's harder to find a comfortable spot on which to rest her bony frame these days. (Although she does have three comfy dog beds in various rooms of the house!)

Most importantly, the old girl exhibits no pain so we'll keep catering to her. Let's see, fourteen years times seven to equal her age in human years? That would make her ninety-eight today. Maybe I'll feel like going through the house messing up rugs when I'm her age. I do hope I get something else besides rice and venison as a steady diet though.


Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

My wonderful 16 year old dog is skin and bones also. So I have been feeding her extra treats, well, just because how do you say no. And she is so thin. Well her collar had been off for a couple of months and we took her for a ride the other day so the collar had to go back on. This dog that you can see every bone in her body, put on weight - in her neck! The poor collar is on the last hole, two down from last time! I guess there is such a thing as to many cookies :) But I think I will still give her all she wants. How can I not.

Anonymous said...

Sounds so similar to my boys too, both will be 16 this year and it was like Zoey, almost overnight when they hit about 13 years old that I noticed they were aging. Both are blind and deaf now too and sleep most of the time, have lost weight too, but yes, still enjoying life, so they'll be around for as long as they are happy and pain-free!
Happy Birthday Zoey!!!! :)

Susan said...

What a sweet old girl. I guess you just go on as long as you both can, sustaining her on love, venison and those very important night time treats. I have a couple of middle-agers and they are getting to that point where they are not quite the puppies they were even last year.

Sparkless said...

Glad to hear she still has some pep in her for her 14 years. We haven't had a dog for years but a couple of my cats lived to 14 years old and then their kidneys shut down.
I've got an 10 year old fat orange tabby right now and she sure acts her age, sleeping lots and only going out once a day.
It oddly comforting to see them age gracefully.

Erin said...

Happy birthday Zoey! You are lucky to have her for so many wonderful years. Marley turns 9 next month and I hope to be able to have her for 14 years, that would be amazing. Sprocket on the other hand, she's hell on wheels so I'm sure she'll stick around for 20 years LOL

Mama Pea said...

Jane - That's kinda strange about your pup gaining weight in her neck! (Hope that doesn't happen to me . . . I'd finally have 36" hips but a football players neck!)

Rain - Both of your dogs will be 16??! Wow, you must be taking very good care of them!

Susan - For sure . . . we'll just enjoy her for as long as she has.

Sparkless - We feel very happy that although Zoey is definitely aging a lot, she's still hanging on to her good nature and doesn't complain at all.

Erin - It's especially hard to lose a pet when you have kids at home 'cause the dogs have been there as long as they remember. Even though we got Zoey after Chicken Mama was gone from home, she gets a little sad every time she leaves here now thinking it could be the last time she sees Zoe.

Zoey says a big thank you to everyone for their birthday wishes!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mama Pea! :) said...

What a lovely post, Mama Pea... and a happy birthday to sweet Zoey!
Henry loves to scrunch up rugs, too, especially the one by the front door that opens inward (you can see how that works: I go out front door, Henry scrunches up rug, I come back inside and get rug jammed under front door, I squish through 8" opening of front door -- repeat sequence 8 more times a day.) He's only three though -- I can only imagine what nonsense he'll try at 13!

Leigh said...

What a precious gift that long life is. Keeping them as happy and healthy as possible has so many rewards. It's wonderful you have so much venison to keep her happy.

Mama Pea said...

Fiona - Obviously Henry is telling you he vants to be aloh-ne! Or he's mad that he doesn't get to go with you every time! Zoey says thanks for the b-d wishes!

Leigh - Venison up here is not a problem. There are so many highway killed deer that law enforcement is happy to have folks pick them up for dog food. Zoey is sitting next to me right now with her head on my lap. Sure wish her hearing and sight weren't going so quickly. The only thing I keep thinking about is that I don't think animals suffer such a loss in the same way humans do. They just accept whatever without questioning it.

meemsnyc said...

Happy birthday! She is a cutie. It's tough when they get older, but they do have their spark still.

Mama Pea said...

meemsnyc - Thanks and you're right. As long as they aren't in pain, some days they seem as young as spring time!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday to Zoey! What a wonderful thing to write such special thoughts about her on her birthday. I'm in the exact same place you are with my furry friend Rhett. He'll be 15 on April 10th and he's also almost blind (still see's a few shadows)and only hears if you yell really loud or talk loud right up against his ear. I got him when he was 8 weeks old and he has slept every single night since then curled up under the covers against my belly. Rhett is a little white 7 1/2 lb Maltese and has truly been my dearest and best friend since the day I got him. Oh the wonderful memories we build with out special little friends...they are priceless!

Unknown said...

Its suppose to say.."Oh the wonderful memories we build with OUR special little friends...they are priceless!"

mtnchild said...

Happy Birthday to Zoey from SueAnn!

Mama Pea said...

Anna - Welcome! And thanks for commenting. I always wonder if it's better to lose a pet after only a few years (say 5 or 6) and be sad about their short life or to have them until they're 14-16 when they feel so much an integral part of your family. Well, we just have to enjoy them to the utmost while they're with us. That's how they live . . . in the moment.

Yvette - Zoey says thanks to SueAnn!