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The Long Goodbye

April 13, 2021

A while back I wrote about the privilege of having old dogs.

One of the good things that came out of the pandemic was the opportunity to stay home every day with the dogs. 

With a houseful of veterans every day is a gift. Along with the privilege is great responsibility and remembering about the promise you made to that wonderful puppy that joined your family.  I am starting the process of keeping that promise.

PJ turned 14 in January and this time last year he was showing in the Veteran groups at the IABCA shows and winning but over the last year he has been slowly growing old.  His hearing has been gone for a while but then day by day his sight started to narrow as did his mind. 

Getting his Farm Dog title at 13

Now we face the long goodbye, but because of my promise to him that goodbye will be on his terms and not mine.

PJ is suffering from Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), like many owners it sort of snuck up on me, with a few behavior changes.  Health wise the old guy is fine, losing some weight like old dogs do but still eating and drinking.  But he wanders and paces, gets stuck in the corners and lost in the yard.  He is anxious and disoriented a lot of the time.

Currently he is getting all the support we can give him and as long as he is not scared or hurting we will treasure a little bit more time. 

As a young veteran

I write this to remind myself that I made a promise to always to the very best for my dogs, even if the best is what breaks my heart, and saying goodbye a week too early is more important than saying goodbye a day too late.  A promise is a promise after all and love often hurts.  

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