Over the past few months my family and I have noticed marked changes in one of our canine kids, Tucker. Tucker is my 10.5 year old Australian cattle dog. He has been my right hand man for over a decade. He has always been reliable, happy, social, and outgoing. Over the past few months he has become a much different dog.
As most heelers, he has always stuck very close to home…..until recently. He has wandered off to the neighbors house twice……I caught him a mile from home just walking down the center of the road aimlessly…. And he will stand in the middle of the road, or sit, like he has no idea where he is. And I don’t think he does know where he is anymore.
We have also noted that he is sleeping much more than usual. He also requests to go outside multiple times, when he has just been let out. Then he just stands there and then wants back in. He has always been very social with both people and animals. He nipped at a barn cat buddy of his that rubbed up against him…. And this morning he snapped and growled at Flash.
After having him examined by our veterinarian, she suggested he may have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Or in layman’s terms, Doggy Alzheimers. Many of the symptoms associated with this are, sleep disturbances, wandering off, staring into space, incontinence, not answering or following commands, trouble negotiating stairs, or new situations, among others…….
So now he only goes outside if I am with him. I can’t leave him to wander off and get lost to starve….or stand in the road and cause a car accident, or get hit ….. Not that he has much interest in doing much these days.
So now comes the struggle…. Am I making the right choice by keeping him on this earth…. Is his quality of life good enough? Is my own selfishness keeping him here in a world that is now cloudy and confusing for him?
At this time I just really don’t know. I am struggling with what decision, if any, to make. All I know is, my best friend has changed. But just because he has changed doesn’t mean I don’t love him like I always have. He has always been here for me…. Now I just have to be here for him, and make the right decisions for him.
Please pray for guidance, for emotional strength, and the courage it will take for this journey in our lives.
From the HK Bar to the world, hug your pets, enjoy them, love them as they are.