Sunday, February 15, 2009

Winter

In the good old days when Thurston was alive, it was not unusual to see both dogs strategically positioned near food.


These days, Satan's Familiar need not 'position' nor strategize as he simply hops on the table, at will.

Here is Jekyll, five years ago.



Here he is this morning, rounding the corner toward 16 years on this planet (in April).


Yesterday, the Matron's dear old friend took another downturn. He lost what remained of his vision.


He has also lost a whole host of other abilities, most of which have to do with Bodily Function. Currently, he is not convenient. He is messy. Plus, he favors this spot smack in the middle of the kitchen.

Yesterday, he had some kind of Inner Disturbance demanding that he pace frantically about while bumping into walls and dripping poop. This went on for a couple of hours. The Matron wiped and watched and when he walked into an open closet or tight corner and couldn't get out, she retrieved him.

When the Matron needed to tend to all other tasks during this time, Stryker took over.

Winter has fallen in so many ways. February is the cruelest month here. The snow is gray and embattled. So are the people, denied sun and heat for so long. Jekyll wears his winter in the 23 hours a day he is sleeping, in the legs that buckleand the snout that no longer tries to sniff a hand.

He can no longer go outside alone because he falls down hills and gets tangled in brush. Yesterday, he fell down the stairs he can no longer see.

So the Matron's family has made this commitment - when their old friend is awake, he will not be alone. They'll take turns on Jekyll duty, keeping him safe and clean. John is currently serving.

The Matron hopes her children are noticing how the elderly are treated in this household: with respect, kindness and care. She desires the same, some day. Where this old friend goes, she will follow -- with everyone else.

Death is back in their household. It is not here yet but has declared its presence in the midst of the black ice and sleeping roses. Dear, sweet dog friends! Give yours a little kiss on her behalf.

18 comments:

kmkat said...

I am so sorry for Jekyll's downward turn. It is hard to watch, but your family is clearly committed to his well-being. I gave our senior dog (13) an extra headrub in J's honor.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Wishing you all peace and comfort.

Beth said...

The "inner disturbance" Jekyll experienced sounds like Vestibular disease (or syndrome) which our dog also experienced. He recovered from that - somewhat - but with his other ailments, life was not good for our pal and we put him "to sleep" (hate that expression) last month. It's tough. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I'm glad you're all so dedicated to his well being. It must be tough on him and you. My dog is almost 12, but I vow to do the same for him. Your poor little guy , though, bless his heart.

Jaywalker said...

Oh, you write so beautifully about him, the poor thing. Poor you, poor Jekyll. Gave my weepette a squeeze but he tried to bite my nose.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It is hard to watch a loved one decline.

laurie said...

oh dear the hardest hardest time of living with dogs. we all face it. i hope we all face it with as much love and devotion as you do. sixteen. a very good old age for a dog, who has lived a good long life of great happiness.

so hard to see them get so old. i'm sorry.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh my. Your family is so loving and compassionate. Bless you.

Professor J said...

Jekyll is fortunate to have such a loving family. I'm thinking peaceful thoughts for you.

Heather said...

Getting old really stinks.

Jason, as himself said...

Poor doggie. This is just heartbreaking. And I love that you're turning it into a life lesson for your family.

I'm sure that during whatever remaining time he has left, he will know that he is loved.

She said...

oh I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm glad Jekyll has such a loving and caring family to help him through this painful transition. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Peggy Sez.. said...

Jekyll could not be in better hands. I did as you asked and gave each of my "babies" an extra hug and kiss today.

ChellyBelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your poor doggie, Matron!

I... wonder if maybe it might be easier on him to put him to sleep rather than keep him going.

I think you're an exceptional family to arrange yourselves to keep him company in his decline, but if he's in any pain at all, under any stress at all, it may be unkind to make him continue on.

I don't beleive that pets are here for our convenience, and when they become inconvenient, we should execute them, but I do see a certain kindness in oblivion; when I am exceptionally old, and have lived a good, loving life, I don't think I'll want to linger long past the point when I am no longer able to function in any way that could be considered "living". Existence is not life.

I wish you and your family all the peace in the world in this difficult time.

Cha Cha said...

Oh, honey. I have so been there. I wish you and your sweet friend peace. And you are teaching your kids a very important lesson, with grace.

Minnesota Matron said...

ChellyBelle: I couldn't agree more. No, he appears to have 100% zero pain. He enjoys his food, senses our presence and follows us the best he can and sleeps. The inner disturbance is over, although the incontinence is not. If we put him outside the minute he rouses, that works. It's just labor. But he's definitely not in pain. I will admit that after he fell down the stairs a couple of days ago, I thought that maybe he WOULD be in pain from a broken bone or worse. But he survived it.

Kimberly said...

I'm so sorry. As an animal/pet lover, I have been in your place and I know how hard it is. it is wonderful that your family is committed to making sure he is comfortable and cared for until the end.

Thinking of you . . .

Becky said...

Poor pup!

Hang in there, guys.