Will I know when it is time for my dog?

You act and look like you are still a puppy sometimes, but I know something is brewing and you are getting older.

As a hospice vet myself I should see all the signs, but I can be in denial when it comes to my own pets (probably because it’s a bit scary).

I never cared for a collie before. The other dogs in my life all aged and slowed down and had obvious symptoms but with you it is very subtle.

When we do pain scoring as hospice vets, we often say Collies are never in pain because they don’t show. And you are no different in hiding any discomfort you might have. Nonetheless I have started you on supplements and arthritis meds already a long time ago. Nothing, and certainly not your age, seems to slow you down. We tried to retire you from our farm where you go to work every day, but you get miserable at home, so dad has started taking you again.

You have been a pain in the butt sometimes, swallowing hooks, running under cars but mainly honouring your nickname “smelly” as the love for anything decayed or rotting is real with you, and you roll in it immediately.

When I met you, you had zero recall which made your dad very frustrated to the point of him, although you were his dog, kindly handing you over to my care. I don’t know how you always knew I was a vet but words like “advocate “and “I should listen to her heart” are always followed by you running out of the door…

I don’t know how you always know I am a vet, but as soon as you need something vetty you get nervous and run

I’m considering your quality of life and as everything with you is about moving and having your freedom your arthritic pain and ability to walk will be key one to monitor for me. And although you are the smelliest dog I have ever lived with; you are always clean again in the morning. But you must do that yourself because you hate being groomed. Lying in your own faeces and urine will also be something that would impact your quality of life a lot.

Your biggest fan is your 7 yr old human side kick and I am contemplating “how do I warn him”? As you are being managed on your heart meds and pain relief, I am not saying anything now, but does that make me a coward and a bad mum?

I am expecting a decline but for now I want to do the same thing I tell my pet carers when their dog has been diagnosed and doing well on meds and care; you have done all you could so try not to let the worry take away the enjoyment of your dog still being there, being present in your life and the life of your loved ones..

I know worry and sadness are a way your mind and heart try to prepare for oncoming loss but when I look at you, you look the same as you did 10 years ago. So, it is not strange even someone like me who works with elderly pets every day finds this a confusing time?

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