Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Bailey's Health

Here's Bailey as heart disease and
hip issues take their toll. 

Over the past nine days, Bailey has been battling numerous health issues. On Sunday, March 3, we hiked up into the saddle at Whitecap Mountain. The next day he spent most of his day with Sharon at daycare. He sat in a snow bank. As I sit here tonight, I'm thinking that Sunday hike may have been his last. I'm not saying he's going to die tomorrow; he's ill, that's for sure. I hope he'll get back to the point where he's a retired hiker and old gentleman...a.k.a.,  a good dog. Time will tell. 

He sleeps 90% of the day and is struggling with his hips. He's finicky about eating, though this evening I cooked some pork loin for him and he liked that. I've been to the Vet's 3 times and they're great. One step at a time. I had the hard conversation about euthanasia on Thursday, but Dr. Mickols said, "We're not there yet." I asked her technician what Bailey could eat... she said, with a small smile, "Whatever he wants." 

At this point in his illness, Bailey is sitting outside in snowbanks a lot. Sometimes he's looking around as life floats by; at other times, he's  sleeping. I keep an eye on him out through the dining room window where I usually do my morning reading. This morning, I got up from my chair five or six times to check on him. More time passed and I looked out again, no Bailey. I looked through all the various windows around the house and then grabbed a pair of shoes to run around the house in the snow. 

In the distance, I saw him trek through the woods into my neighbor Cindy's yard. He lay down in the sunshine on her front lawn. I stepped through the trees and bushes and got to him. He looked at me like, "Really? Can't a guy just take a nap?" Hand on his harness, I led him down to the road and up Prospect Avenue to our driveway. Not sure if this a sign of aging and dementia, or boredom from not hiking for 10 days. 

Last Friday, he walked 2 miles, including a loop at the base at Black Mountain Ski Resort. Other days, like today, he's walked less than a mile. Not that anyone needs to read this, but he didn't poop for 6 days.

As I write here in the dining room, he's asleep on the carpeted floor. He's had a good dinner of pork loin  and a big handful of dog cookies. I had hot dogs, beans, and apple sauce. We took a 30-minute ride in the van to charge up the batteries. Nowadays, he rests on multiple cushions between the driver's seat and the passenger seat. I scratch his ear and feed him dog biscuits. 

This decline has been fast, but not unexpected. I'm selfishly hoping he makes his 14th birthday in May, but I won't let him suffer. He's too much of a good dog to end his life that way.  

One of my favorite pictures after hiking Whitecap.

Hiking Mystery Mountain, December 2023. He looks so damned 
happy in the picture. Probably knows a treat is in his future. 

This is the first time Bailey looked like an old dog to me. 
Must have been around 2021. 

First check up in July 2010.
He likes that lady doctor. :-) 


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