Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's not nice to pick on the elderly

But sometimes, it's the only way to let off steam.

My dear old geriatric doggy is trying to prove she's "still got'em", I guess to allay my fears that today's the day I'm going to find her curled up for an endless sleep under the lemon tree. One day, she can't move and just sways there staring off into space like Lindsay Lohan, she gives me great pause to think whether there is another way to house her comfortably when I shove her out the door at night. The next, she's toughing it out and playing keepings-off the apples (Pepper LOOOOOVES apples and carrots) with Jazz, who can't stand apples but eats them if it means stealing something off Pepper.

So yesterday, I spent the day doting on Pep, making sure she was comfortable inside by the heater. Fluffing her doggy bed and helping her up and down - she really seemed to "feel it" yesterday - and becoming more and more convinced that she wasn't long for this world. Last night, when I put her out, I said to Steve, "Surely there's some way we can have her inside." But there really isn't. When she is left unsupervised indoors now, she wets the floor. I'd hate to think what would happen during an entire overnight stint. When she's left outside, despite it being really cold, this still doesn't seem to daunt her too much. But surely it can't be doing her any good, getting so cold. She is so arthritic she can't bend her legs very often. Still, she strangely still seems to prefer roughing it out in the wet - her entire coat was dripping and frozen yesterday morning, hence me warming her in front of the heater - despite having a whole undercover deck to sleep on with a variety of dog beds and camping spongey floor squares in sheltered corners of the verandah... she just doesn't think to sleep on these, for some primal reason.

Day or night now, the other thing she does is bark. Short, sharp, insistent and persistent barks. So perfectly timed you could play a piece of music to their metronome-style beat. It. Drives. Me. BONKERS. It's like drip torture. The only way to stop this is to get her inside. As she's deaf and really hard of seeing, it's no use even standing at the door doing angry sign language at her anymore and it's not nearly as satisfying because she doesn't respond (because she can't see me). She has gone quite mad - or is she merely very clever?? I still can't work the old girl out. I think it's a smidge of both, to be honest.

But, what I need to know is this:   Is there a solution I have been overlooking here? I want to be able to give Pepper a comfortable night indoors. But the cat sleeps in the laundry - she is a messy thing as well and I think I'd rather a dog pee accident than a cat one somewhere in the house - so Pep wouldn't have access there. There is nowhere else we can put her that doesn't have some sort of carpet and I'm not prepared to let her potentially roam inside while we sleep. Any comfy beds we give her outside get nabbed by Jazz - she doesn't understand the concept of "This is PEPPER'S, not YOURS, missy." So whenever Pep makes a midnight 12-minute dash to the lawn and back to relieve herself, her nice warm bed is in the meantime stolen by her able-bodied little backyard mate. This morning, I came out to find the princess spread-eagled across Pepper's bed and Pepper huddled in a cold ball next to her on the freezing wood. Jazz is such a spoilt poop-head.

The other thing that goes with getting old - reeeeeally old - is the loss of one's ability, apparently, to keep certain sphincters shut. So we have an audibly loud bugle-blower of the stinkiest variety now residing amongst the family indoors. The LGBB constantly seems to think it's me. It's funnier to blame "farties" (as she has always called them) on your mother, I hear.

The only thing for it these past few weeks is to let our old dog out regularly to take a pee and have a drink, then lead her back inside gently by the collar - I didn't realise until a few months ago just how frail she is, when on one of these occasions, I firmly pulled her and the poor darling actually winced. Ever since then, I have been ginger with her, even though sometimes she is so annoying with these geriatric antics that I'd like to give her a boot up the backside.

Of course I never would. Who knows what smells it might dislodge.

Blurring occurred here I don't know how, because her head moves at 2 frames a second.... 

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