It's no secret U.K., our golden retriever is old. He'll be 14 this coming October, which is quite old for his breed. He hasn't been a puppy for quite some time, but in the last recent months, he has been quite frisky. He plays tug-o-war with Lallie and they chase each other around the house. It's always fun looking at U.K.'s big smile and wagging tail and of course, to hear Lallie's laughs and screams.
But the past few weeks, he hasn't been himself. He's been having lots of accidents in the house and then yesterday, I arrived home at around noon to check on him and found this.
Of course it is, that's why I took this picture from my cell phone (afraid he would hop down before I got the picture....I think there's something smudging my lens!)
This is U.K.'s chair. His very own personal Lazy-Boy that he's had for years. The chair sits right outside our bedroom in a little alcove (because he's not allowed on the carpet in our bedroom) and this is where he sleeps (with a little cleaning now and then! (You should also know, for this story, that there are two steps down into this alcove area.) Shortly after I go to bed, I always hear U.K. hop into the chair and it makes this little squeaking sound letting me know he's there. If Husband goes to bed before me (which is rare), it throws U.K. completely off. He just paces back and forth between the chair and the living room waiting for me to go to bed. It stresses him if our bedtime routine is knocked off balance.
Anyways, after I took the picture, he didn't move, he just stayed there, like that with his paws on the floor and his back end in the chair. I got closer to pet him and say "what's wrong?" and realized that the area smelled funny. Not like an accident, but like wet dog smell. I called him again, and again and again and he tried to get down and he couldn't.
He was also panting really hard. I mean, as if he had just come home from a really long walk.
I walked away for a minute to set my things down and came back to his front paws stretched nearly 3 feet out from the chair (with his hind legs still on the chair just like the picture) and on top of the first step up into the main room.
Before I could get to him, he literally fell out of the chair and sprawled himself across the stairs.
He could not get up.
I had to lift his back end and push him up to the top stair.
Then he just laid there, didn't even move his back end to comfort himself. Laid there just like I put him.
It's like he was paralyzed or something.
After a minute or two of petting and talking to him, he stood up, shook it off and got back to his typical smile and wagging tail. I let him out to do his duty and he did just fine.
I check the chair to make sure it was in fact, not soiled and it wasn't. After about five minutes away from the area, the smell dissipated (old dogs, do smell....especially their breath.) So I put it all together, the smell, the panting and realized..... he'd probably been standing like that in the picture for a while. No telling how long.
I immediately called Husband and we decided to get him to the vet. The doctor is going out of town for a couple of weeks, but the symptoms sounded too serious to let him go without an appointment for that long. So I dropped him off this morning before work and am awaiting the phone call to see if everything is all right, if something is really wrong, or if he's just plain old.
Regardless, we know that our time with him is drawing to a close and that makes me very, very sad. In fact, I'm tearing up as I write this last sentence, even for a fair-weather dog lover like me. We've had many, many good years with him and we, especially Lallie and Husband, have formed bonds with him over the years. I even have the sweetest picture of him in my office. It would be sad to have to let him go. =(