On Dog Noses and Carrying Straps and Other Things Elderly Dog Related

I carry my dog to his bowl of soft mush and then outside to relieve himself. When he’s done, I carry him to his dog bed. There’s nothing wrong with his legs, mind you — they work just fine — but he’s blind and he has a tendency to walk into things — walls, furniture — and bash his nose, and when he bashes his nose he cries. So to protect his nose (which must be permanently bruised by now) I just carry him.

Besides, he’s going to die soon or at least eventually. I mean he’s 15 and dogs don’t live forever (usually). And I feel as if carrying him is more loving and I want to be loving since he’s going to (most likely) die soon and must have a permanently sore nose from bashing into everything. And while he’s perfectly capable of going up the stairs at 2:00am if he is looking for a novel and exciting place to pee, going down the stairs is a bit of a tumble. Since my house has stairs strategically located everywhere the dog needs to go, I carry him.

The only problem is that the dog doesn’t actually like to be carried. To be honest, he rather hates it and only tolerates it because I am the Keeper of the Soft Mush. The petting on the head while being carried part is fine with him but the carrying? Not so much.

So when I am having a tender dog-carrying moment the dog is having a paw-wind-milling slightly frantic moment that generally results in my yelling, “Don’t make me drop you down the stairs for fuck’s sake! Trust me, you won’t enjoy it!” and involves the dog looking at me as if he can’t understand why I don’t want him to be happy and enjoy the freefall skydiving-dog-type experience.

He has other complaints. He’d prefer I just let him sleep in my bed or at least on my pillow but his breath is terrible since his teeth are rotting out and he’s too old for anesthesia to pull the remaining ones. And he sheds a surprisingly large amount for a dog of his size, which is about the size of a respectable cat. So the bed thing is a no-go for me and the carrying thing is a no-go for him but I am bigger and have thumbs. And also the bruised nose and blind dog issue has not otherwise been resolved.

I bought at the suggestion of a friend a dog carrying strap which is meant to be a compromise in the carrying department but he looks like a cow being airlifted and his center of gravity is slightly unstable and I feel that it is courting death to use it.

Sidenote: carrying the dog results in dog hair becoming embedded in everything I own. I don’t particularly enjoy this either.

My old dog no longer does the entertaining dog things he used to do. Once upon a time if I said, “Erie, Pennsylvania!” the dog would go nuts and spin in circles and run around the room like he was a circus dog. This was baffling as I adopted the dog in Kansas and lived in Ohio but something about the cadence tickled his little dog brain and evoked a spasm of doggie ecstasy.

On the other hand, he no longer stands on the dining room table eating food off the kids’ plates. Nor does he try to dominate ginormous dogs that walk by the house. He has not eaten a crayon or a child’s toy in at least four years. This lack of energy is not entirely a bad thing.

We are most decidedly in the old and pathetically cute stage of dog ownership. The some assistance required but still living a relatively pain-free life stage. My youngest has suggested we purchase a seeing-eye Guinea pig for the dog and while that does seem like a valid course of action I’m not sure the cat could resist eating the dog’s service animal.

I think what he really needs are whisker extensions. I study his walk around the house and sometimes he manages to stop an inch from the wall and turn away. I suspect it is his whisker warning system. I’ve seen false eyelashes for humans and if someone holds the dog down I’m pretty sure I can adhere them to his whiskers, but would they function the same?

I’m supposed to have a conclusion paragraph now but the dog is not concluded yet and seems to be quite happy spending the foreseeable future sleeping in his dog bed and bashing his nose into things (well, we’ve established that he probably doesn’t like bashing his nose into things) and I think as far as quality of life goes he’s doing ok. So I’ll just pull his dog bed a little closer to my chair and pet his little head. I’m getting old, too, and my vision isn’t what it used to be. Hopefully my children will let me sleep in a little bed in the living room and pet me on the head occassionally and keep me from bashing my nose into things when my time comes.