Sunday, January 11, 2015

In praise of the old fashioned heart attack

Mick the Wonder dog has passed the 16 year mark and he spends most of his time sleeping.  He still wakes occasionally and watches me with his big brown eyes and occasionally he'll even run a lap around the house after a good poop.  Despite these occasional glimmers of life, it is clear that Mick's in his twilight years and while I'm in no way in a hurry for the end to come when it does come I'm hoping that its fast.  Like many pets, Mick is a member of the family.  He adds his personality - a touch of stubbornness that's very much in line with other family members and a touch of mischievousness now and then to let you know he's a real dog.

With his advancing years, we have purchased a kiddie pen from Craig's list to curb his night time wandering (and urinating).  It is equipped with his carpet, blanket and towels spread over a drop cloth.  Some may be shocked to hear that Mick took to this nightly containment very quickly.  My theory is that it provides him a sense of security and domain, but he hasn't told me whether I'm on the right track or not - perhaps I should try snore once for "no" and continuous snore for "yes"... ok, he say's he loves his pen...

While the pen has helped to address Mick's growing incontinence issues, the fear and dread of every pet owner is that circumstances may evolve where we may need to make a life or death decision in regards to his ongoing care.  At times, I will watch him sleep and then look closer to see if he's still breathing.  Much as there will be sorrow in the loss, I undoubtedly would rather nature takes him quickly rather than being placed in a situation where I must make the decision.

And so there are things to take from this dog's life.  We adopted Mick from the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society which I routinely refer to as the Menand's Shelter.  Mick was about 2 when he came to live with us.  Overall, I think he's had a happy life; he has been my walking companion on many trips to Cook Park and The Crossings.  He hates having his nails clipped, but hey, welcome to life, Mick.  And like all dogs, Mick appreciates good food - even now Mick will wake up when its time to eat... and so it is that while so many are starting their New Year's resolutions to eat better or exercise more, I find myself taking some cues from Mick - enjoy life it don't last forever; a cheeseburger and a heart attack beats Alzheimer's and a nursing home any day!