Let's face it - we all want to live longer. And it has become increasingly apparent that if you share your life with a companion animal, your not only going to be healthier, you're going to live longer because of it. Google "living longer with animals" and you'll be surprised at the plethora of articles and studies illustrating that they are indeed our best friends and caretakers.
Read this article "Live Longer With Pets" by Dr. Oz in which he elaborates on living longer with dogs.
Inflammation is generally at the heart of almost every injury that we or our companion animals experience. To read up on the latest developments on treating inflammation, please visit the blog on www.keepwagging.com
Mr. Bishi, AKA was almost 13 years old, which is ancient for an English Bulldog. He succumbed to a number of issues and on his last day, it was apparent it was time.
We had put Big Tuna to sleep about two years ago and I still think of her everyday. And yes, I sometimes cry, still mad that at 8 years old, both of us were short changed. It didn't seem fair that we had to do this again so soon. But we knew the day was coming because Mr. Bishi was, well, old.
But there was one difference. As painful as it was to let Mr. Bishi go, I also felt gratitude that he had such a good life and honored that I could help him transition out of this life. And that is the only way that I can deal with a passing - hoping that I played a part in giving them a good life and then being with them as they depart, letting them know that they are not alone. This was the same feeling that I had when my mom passed away. A bunch of my siblings and I were with her and instead of being distraught, I felt honored that I could finally give her something. I helped her leave the confines of her body and go on to painting and dancing and doing whatever she wanted, just in another form. And she had a great life!
And so did Bishop. The Big Wiggle was always quick with a wag and in his prime, his whole body vibrated like he was being electrocuted and he was unable to control his back legs he was frantically wagging so much. And when you don't really have much of a tail as most English Bulldogs do, the wag comes out sort of like a spastic seizure, but in a good way.
Rest in peace Big Wiggle. We miss you.
When it's time to let go. This is perhaps the hardest thing anyone who shares their life with a companion animal has to do. Anyone who has been there understands that sometimes it is even more painful than saying goodbye to a human.
Let's take a look at our rockstar, Mr. Bishi. Bish has far surpassed expectations for a bully - he's coming up on 13. Our first two bullies, Maggie and Big Tuna passed at 8 and 8.5 respectively. Far too early but unfortunately not unusual.
Bish has full blown dementia, something that is showing up more and more in dogs because of better medicine and medications (more on dementia here). We're dealing with the cognitive disfunction effectively but over the weekend, Bish suffered two seizures. They were short but he lost total control of his limbs and dropped and lay motionless for 5 minutes. It was heartbreaking to watch and brought back bad memories of when our lovely girl Big Tuna passed.
Bish had a bad day and after much discussion, we finally made the very difficult decision to put him to sleep. Both of us felt that we probably held on a little two tightly to Big Tuna and could have put her to sleep a few days earlier. We were being selfish. We did not want Bish to suffer just because we were afraid to let go.
That's the balancing act.
But after we talked and cried and said good byes, Bish pops up like nothing is wrong and begins barking at us, demanding more food and trotting around.
What are you supposed to do with that? Yes, of course we were happy that he suddenly felt better. But it's that roller coaster of emotion that is difficult. If we put him to sleep, are we robbing him of a few days of possible pleasant experiences? His dementia won't get better so it's possible that he's oblivious to everything anyhow. If we let him linger too long, we'll feel horrible that we let that happen.
I guess the bottom line is you generally know in your heart when it is time. It's also good to get input from someone you trust to have them tell you when they thing your companions quality of life is negligible.
As for Bish, he's winding down and much less active but he is still showing sparks of happiness as he rolls on his back, barking at his gods, and then it's time for much needed rest.
We'll keep you posted on Bishi's condition and offer some additional thoughts on how to decide the time is right.
Cleaning a dogs ears can be one of the more challenging things you can do when it comes to your companion animals health. Drawing on many, many years of experience, I will show you how to do this and do it well.
In this video, we're cleaning the ears of Big Tuna, our third Bully that frequently was mistaken for a large, white meatloaf by dinner guests. Big Tuna was basically a big lump of sugar. She just wanted to hang with you and was more of a stereotypical "lazy man" bully. She's a very good patient and so she provides a good illustration of what you need to do when cleaning your dogs ears.
Before you start, you'll need the following items:
Gauze (3 x 3 or 4 x 4 )
Ear cleaner (alcohol free so it's less irritating) Noah's Ark is a good brand
Swabs - WARNING: only use swabs if you're an experienced ear cleaner and
you know how to use them.
The video is pretty self-explanatory. If you have questions, feel free to contact me or comment on this blog with your questions.
I also recommend that you join our Youtube channel. We've got a number of educational videos coming up and you don't want to miss them! For instance, we're going to show you how to clean the ears of a dog that isn't as cooperative as Big Tuna was.
A note on the video. We've had some very astute keen eyed viewers who have pointed out that the bottle of ear cleaning fluid we're using is expired. We use that bottle and refill it so no worries on bad product.