Daddy's Senior Moments
When we interviewed Cesar about Daddy's senior years, his deep emotional bond with this 14 year-old Pit Bull was apparent. He shared thoughts on Daddy's current physical health, Junior's impact on his mental health, details on his very special way to roll in the grass, and how he himself copes with Daddy's aging.
Daddy is having more and more senior moments. He sometimes has trouble getting up, has to take bathroom breaks a little more often, and doesn't take the cold as well as he used to. He can't hear well, which is something that's been happening for a while. His sight is going. He has to open his eyes extremely wide. They almost look like a cats'!
But his appetite is great, and his nose is still fantastic. When we go for a walk, he spends more time than ever sniffing the ground. It used to be: smell flower, pee on it; smell flower, pee on it. Now he can spend 5 minutes taking in the scent of a single flower.
We still take him along on the pack walks, but where he used to be two or three feet behind me - because Daddy has always been medium level energy - now he is twenty feet behind. After about thirty minutes, he's done, and someone takes him back to the car to rest, while the younger generation continues on a longer trek.
Daddy has been receiving a lot of help from acupuncture and homeopathic treatments for his stress. In my career now, I have to travel a lot. When I go away, he can become disoriented and sad, which makes him a little tense. I am really glad that Junior came into his life. It has been very helpful. He keeps Daddy alert and young. "Come on, correct me! Come on, tell me what not to do!"
After this interview today, we're going to give Daddy a shower and clean his teeth. Then we'll go to his favorite spot in the park. He loves to roll in the grass - a lot of dogs do - but he has a special way to do it. He finds the highest place, then rolls down backwards. Just slides all the way down. Then he goes right back to do it again and again and again. He didn't do it in the snow, but he loves to do it in the grass. And of course, he likes to do it after he takes a shower, which I understand, but at the same time, it's like, come on Daddy! I just gave you a bath!
After that, he knows I am going to give him a nice, juicy, meaty bone. He just knows. He goes to his place, like 'this is next.' He knows exactly what I am going to do. He just knows me.
Daddy has always been a sweetheart. Many senior dogs lash out when someone accidentally bumps into them in a way that hurts. But Daddy just doesn't have it in his bones to respond with a bite, which is very unusual.
Daddy has been my kids' grandpa. He helped me raise them. We don't share much about the whole passing away thing. Right now, we're doing some Dog Whisperer segments about letting go. It's hard to hear, because you have to come to reality. To see someone as amazing as Daddy grow old - it's painful just to think about it. But I don't want to share that around him, because he's going to think, 'What are you worried about? I'm not gone yet!' But as humans, we anticipate things, and we get emotional at the wrong time. Of course, dogs have emotions, but they don't get emotional prior to the occasion. So I won't do it in front of him.
The preceding story was originally published on October, 9, 2009, four months before Daddy passed away on February 19, 2010.