…I have been elevated to official ‘Old Dog’, status in the family. Now, how on earth did that happen? I began this blog almost 12 years ago as a lively, forward thinking, pup. I was proud of my ability to escape from anywhere. No fence was too high, no hedge too thick…um, well, there was one hedge in which I got stuck, but we won’t dwell on that. (If you must, you can read all about here).A Twist in the Tail
The fact remains that I have gone from being that cute bundle of fun,
to this staid old lady.
One thing I have not lost, is my appetite. On that subject, I should explain that a year ago, I had a nasty lump form in my mouth. Off to the vet we went. I was allowed to ride on the back seat of course (there are perks to being an old lady).
Due to this worrisome virus affecting the humans generally, we were obliged to wait outside the Vet’s building, which suits me. Much better the Vet comes to me than me go to her. I have been telling the Boss this much for years but it has taken this virus thing to convince her.
The Vet appeared in due course. She was a little concerned and to my horror, decided to take me into the building. Well, alarm bells rang. The Boss had let me down. She handed my lead over to the Vet without so much as blinking. What was this about? She was surely coming with me? The Vet tugged my lead a little. I waited. The Boss did not move.
“Come along Flossie,” cajoled the Vet. I dug my paws into the gravel and turned my most soulful look on the Boss.
“I think I had better go ahead for a bit,” said the Boss.
Whew! That was a relief, for one minute I thought I was going to be separated from The Boss and taken into that dreaded building by myself. As the Boss walked towards the door, I followed, all waggy tail and tongue lolling. Then something happened. One minute the Boss was there, right in front of me, the next she had side stepped us both and I realised that we had gone through the door into the waiting room without her. What was she thinking? It had to have been a mistake. Poor Boss, she would not let me go willingly, would she? I turned back to give her more of those puppy dog eyes, but she was standing outside sending me encouraging noises like, “it’s Ok Floss, Go on…Good Girl,” I realised she was trying to be brave, she might be suffering more than me from this enforced separation so, with an enormous effort, I allowed my own misgivings to be put aside.
The Vet hauled me into the surgery where she and a nurse plied me with praise and fuss. I began to enjoy this after all. I didn’t even mind when they prodded my mouth open and took a look inside although their muttering would have caused me some alarm had I understood. I was just waiting for the treat that inevitably follows such a visit. Sure enough, a nice crunchy biscuit was given to me…I think it was crunchy, I swallowed it in one.
What happened after this, is a bit of a blur to be honest. There were other trips to a different building to see another Vet who invited me to stay for a while. Now, not knowing this other building and knowing the Boss would not willingly abandon me again without good reason (and still hopeful of a treat or two) I happily agreed to stay. I am sure the Boss was around somewhere, but to be honest, I spent most of the time asleep and when I did wake up, I felt rather groggy. Thankfully, the Boss was there when I finally came to my senses.
It was a while before I realised my mouth didn’t work properly anymore.
“We had to remove a small part of her jaw and of course some teeth, but she should be fine, the tumour hasn’t spread, we think we got it all.” The vet explained, as The Boss listened intently.
“Poor Floss, you’ve had some of your jaw taken away but it will be fine, and the nasty lump is gone,” the Boss crooned, as she watched me slurp my dinner – no biscuits that day, very wise.
Well, that was a while ago now. I have mastered the technique of eating, though losing those teeth was a bit of shock. Without the piece of jaw at the side, my lip gets caught on a remaining tooth. I can usually put that right before anyone sees but sometimes, when I catch sight of myself in the mirror, I am smiling rather manically. It doesn’t do a girl’s self-esteem much good.
I am sure other dogs talk about me – not that I am likely to hear. That’s another thing, I have found my hearing is not as good as it was, these days. There was a time when the rustle of a crisp packet a mile off, was on my radar. These days I can barely hear it a few metres away and I don’t always hear the Boss calling me either. I am sure I have missed out on quite a few treats.
I compensate by barking. I mean, if I can’t hear the humans, I have to remind them where I am. I find lying at the foot of the stairs and letting out the occasional low bark, normally gets them to emerge from their hiding places. Barking is quite new to me really. Not sure why I have avoided it for the most part, all these years. Oh well, this newly rediscovered ability is very useful. I have re-trained the boss using it. I find that if I bark continuously and loudly, she puts her walking boots on and ties the laces much faster. I really think she’d forget without my kindly encouragement.
This morning, I had successfully barked long enough for her to get ready in record time and we were out of the door before you could wag a tail. Charlie looks on in surprise when I use this method of training but I tell him it is just one of the prerogatives of the older dog, there are many more and I intend to make use of them all!
Yes, I really think I quite like my new status, not least, because the Boss and her humans willingly forgive all kinds of behaviour, telling each other,
“She’s getting old, she can’t help it,” well, who am I to argue? Now, anyone got a biscuit?
Love Flossie X
(12-years-old in March)