Zachery has good days and bad days: days he is hungry and days he is not hungry at all, days he walks well and days he needs to be picked up and carried down the stairs. For my sanity, I have started to pick Zachery up and take him outside anytime he moves, or if I have the feeling the 4 month old puppy needs out. It is much easier to take all three dogs out every few hours; it leaves much less mess to clean up.
Sometimes when Zachery gets up, I find he really just wants me to give him attention and Love him and help his tired, atrophied muscles to relax; and sometimes he just wants to go to bed.
Something in Zachery’s personality has changed recently, he used to be one of the dogs that needed to go out when we got home; now there is a need to connect, to know I haven’t left him, a joy that I am home. Zachery has been the dog left home because Charlie needed so much attention, Charlie has anxiety attacks, Charlie goes crazy when he is left alone! Now Zachery is in need, He NEEDS TO BE LOVED AND CARED FOR, not just be the other dog anymore.
It is humbling to see the LOVE that Zachery has for me. He is not a dog I have appreciated for the most of his 18 years. He is work to me! I don’t vacuum for dirt, I vacuum for Zachery’s hair! I walk him, I feed him, and I clean up after him; he sheds hair like no dog I have ever seen in my entire life. I just recently realized the fine hair we have had to use a sticky roller to clean off our clothes, all these years, comes from him. He has long coarse hair, but his fine winter coat is what covers my clothes every time I pick him up.
Zachery has worked his Love on me and I now care for him as if he is my child. I try to coax food into him every day; it hurts when he has no appetite, but it is wonderful when he is hungry and eats; tonight he ate almost a full can of dog food! It is hard to figure out what he will eat: he switches from wanting dry dog food, to canned dog food that is all mush, to dog food that is meat and gravy, or rice, home made soup; he even tired of turkey from Thanksgiving!
I clean up after him and treat him with dignity because I know it is not easy for him getting older and he is not as able to control his body as well as he used to. I have been carrying him down the stairs for a little while; partly because it is faster, and partly because it has been hard for him to walk. Then all of a sudden he is walking and going down the stairs all on his own without help and he even has some speed to his walk.
This end of life walk is a bit crazy, God Willing the end will be peaceful.