The following phrases are heard at least once a day in my home:
He ‘s stuck in the corner!
He peed again, yes again. You get the other dogs, I’ll clean up.
He took off his gentleman pants ( diapers) can you please put them on him.
Buddy! Buddy! That’s you in the mirror.
Good grief man, that’s my hand, not a turkey leg.
Arthur is mooing again can you please check on him?
Do you think he still experiences joy?
He knows it’s me, right?
Like humans, advancements in veterinary medicine and improved nutrition is allowing for longer lifespans. Like a human, the longer a dog lives, the higher the instance he or she will develop a disease. Our nearly 16-year-old Corgi, Arthur, has developed Canine Cognitive Dysfunction ( CCD) otherwise known as Doggie Dementia. For Arthur, it means that he no longer knows how to play ball, back out of corners, or navigate doors. He circles and paces constantly ( I mean like hours on end), he is obsessed with food and water, he’s sometimes snippy with the other dogs( he was always the most chill dog ever) and he has started to moo. Arthur no longer knows how to bark, but he can make the most mournful moo you have ever heard. But he can experience joy and loves to run ( after a good poop), and we believe he is still able to enjoy life.
When we first noticed some of the symptoms we didn’t realize what was happening. Last year I came across a book by Eileen Anderson, Remember Me? In the book, she referenced a Facebook group called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Support Group that has been incredibly helpful for me. We now had some answers, and in the Facebook group, we found friends, resources and people who truly understand what we were going through. The other day an article was published on CCD from George Washington University’s Veterinary Studies arm. It was very helpful.
Like an elderly human, he sleeps late, and the other day I went in to wake him up about 8:30am. He was nowhere to be found. Looked in the closet, in the corners no Arthur. He would have to go past us to get to another part of the house. For a minute, magical thinking kicked in, and I thought,” Well, this is like the show The Leftovers. Maybe he just disappeared, maybe this is how his story ends.” Turns out he was BEHIND our bed. How a 20-pound Corgi fit behind the bed is beyond me. He wasn’t making any noises either. It is stressful caring for a sick pet, and you have to keep your sense of humor. If you are lucky enough to have someone else living in the house make sure you both truly understand what is happening with your dog or you’ll be at odds with how to handle the situation.
Bottom line, if your dog is exhibiting signs of CCD, read up on it and talk to your vet and try to keep your sense of humor.
We take it day by day, with the acute awareness that time is slipping away. Arthur’s Birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day. This year ( 2017) we threw him a 15th birthday party. We invited friends and served champagne ( to humans) and used my finest china. My husband remarked that the dog had a better birthday party than he did and I told him that as when he is 105, we will use the good china for him too. Here is a picture of the birthday boy.