Zelda was my oldest dog. She was a pup from my first litter and led an active life. She loved to go hunting in the woods with my cousin's dog. We weren't always thrilled with the prizes they brought home, a couple of skunks complete with odor and a face full of porcupine quills.
Bentley didn't age well. He lived with a pinched nerve in his back from the age of six and by the time he reached 14 he was pretty crippled by arthritis, but it never stopped him from doing whatever he wanted to do.
This brings me to Morgan. She's past the recent scare we had with her high fever. The antibiotics apparently took care of the infection and she's feeling well. Morgan shows signs of her age but they aren't all what I expected. Yes, her coat is messy, she doesn't want to be groomed especially her legs and feet, and her eyes are transparent. The color faded from her eyes several years ago making them strange looking, but they still work.
When I come back upstairs from feeding the others, I give everyone their meds. They line up and because I always go in the same order, they each step forward when it's their turn. Morgan is last because she takes the most. Some days she gets in line with the others and opens her mouth for her pills. Other days she waits lying on the blanket and I have to find her and open her mouth and hold it to keep her from spitting them out.
Then it's time for our breakfast. Rob makes a slice of toast for the dogs and cuts it into little pieces. Sometimes he spreads it with peanut butter. They wait patiently till we're finished, then gather around for their toast. Sometimes Morgan joins them, sometimes not.
Then it's her nap time till around 11 when she tells me she needs to go out. When she comes back in she likes to finish her breakfast. She's wide awake by now and wanders around the house. Sometimes she'll settle down with a toy, sometimes she interacts with the other dogs and sometimes she just paces. It's all OK.
At 2:30, an hour before dinner, the torture begins. That's the time each day that she decided to bark at me. It starts with her standing in front of me talking and groaning and making cute funny noises. But it soon turns into barking. I try to figure out what she wants. I check the water bowl and fill it with cold fresh water. I take her out to pee. I offer her a biscuit. I smooth out her blanket, but none of these things stop the barking. She just stands there for an hour barking at me. Rob and I have decided that she just simply wants to bark. It's not easy listening to an old dog bark for a solid hour, but it seems I need to get used to it.
Living with an old dog is challenging, but it is so worth it. Even being barked at for an hour each day is better than the alternative.