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[personal profile] hr_macgirl
Last summer, my sister's Rhodesian ridgeback mix died, just before she was scheduled to take a long vacation (my sister, not the dog, although the dog was going to have to go into the kennel). Sassy was a great dog, quite high strung, but an integral part of the family. None of us knew how old she was as she was a rescue. Towards the end of her life, she got all grey around her muzzle, but she never stopped barking at the UPS man.

It made me think about Toby. He turned 12 last autumn, definitely old for a cocker spaniel. Sassy's illness and subsequent death reinforced Toby's age, when last month Toby had a serious health scare. He went several days without eating, and was vomiting frequently. Instead of being content to sit in the house, he wanted to be outside, in my parents' back yard. My Dad could tell Toby was in pain, but there was nothing he could do about it. Toby also lost several pounds in weight.

After some veterinary care, it was determined that Toby didn't have any sort of blockage, but he did eventually recover. His digestive system is a little more fragile than before (my parents have started wetting his food down so he doesn't gobble it as quickly). Still, there's no doubt he's an old dog. When I was out at my parents' recently, Toby was more reluctant to go for walks (Dad and I managed to get him around the block most mornings, but Toby doesn't really like going to the park anymore). He's also mostly deaf, and my parents have had to start using hand signals to communicate with him.

How long will he last: six months? A year? When I think of how much fun I've had with Toby, the idea of the impending end upsets me. I took some fabulous trips to stay with him while my parents were both away and not away. I think the ones when they were away were the best. I had no other duties apart from to keep Toby occupied and to do the same with myself. I went to lots of yoga classes and took Toby for lots of walks. He slept on my bed and we generally bonded.

Toby isn't gone yet, but I'm afraid of the inevitable. Each trip back to my parents' makes me wonder if I will see him again.

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November 2016

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