Adopting the Senior Dog: It Was Worth It

20131215_201005March 30, 2013 was an exciting day that brought me unexpected surprises, laughter, tears, frustration, joy. I adopted Arthur (formerly Cheech), who was 11 at the time. His family had to surrender him and I had decided I was prepared to bring a senior dog home. I trekked to Staten Island with my ex boyfriend, who was part of the whole adoption process, and brought home my 70-lb bundle.

This dog. He was hilarious and ridiculous. In the beginning, from trying to eat his harness when I came toward him with it to doing unmentionable things to his dog beds (I blame it on the steroids), there was no end to the excitement. He became attached to me and got VERY agitated and would throw himself against the door whenever I would load things into the car. And there was a LOT of loading things into cars, considering I moved twice in the 2 years I had with him. OH yeah, and the pooping in the car thing.

How about the time I tried to pin down his beds under the feet of the couches so he wouldn’t hump them and he just yanked them all around the living room, along with the couches, and then tore the bed up and spread the stuffing everywhere? Oh, and this was while I was away and my friend was dog sitting.

But then there was his hop dance.

I learned a lot about bulldogs and their health conditions, and dog health in general. Yeasty skin? Check. Abscessed teeth? Check. Dry eye? Check. Deafness? Check. Aural hematoma? Check. Skin allergies? Check. Staph infection? Check. Canine MRSA? Check. Infected anal gland requiring hospitalization? Check. Enlarged heart? Check. Suffocating gas? Check. Incontinence? CHECK. The list never seemed to end. Maybe my vet was right when he told me he thought only veterinarians should own English bulldogs.

But Arthur was such an irresistibly grouchy, stubborn old man. I fell for him. I loved him and his squishy face and I loved giving him bulldog hugs and loved getting his shy, tiny kisses. Last October he and I moved into Craig’s place and Arthur weaved his way into Craig’s heart and into McKinley the bulldog’s heart, too. He was well loved by everyone he met. When we were walking, people would actually pull their cars over to look at him and tell me they thought he was great.

About 2 weeks ago, our old Bubba developed bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus) suddenly and an hour after we noticed something was wrong we had to make that incredibly sad decision to say goodbye to him instead of putting him through a major surgery at almost 14 years old with heart disease.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, it was all worth it. I’m so glad I got to spend these couple of years taking care of this boy, really keeping him comfortable. Every hour of sleep lost running downstairs at the sound of his toenails clicking, every twisted back muscle from carrying him up and down stairs for never-ending bath routine, every penny I spent, worth it. My good boy was a good boy and he deserved it all.

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