Mosby is now the old man of Hillcroft. He will be 12 in July and has all the characteristics of a senior dog. He had slowed down in the last year or so, but didn't really show his age until lately. Once he stepped on that path, though, it seems he is rapidly heading towards his final months.
The gray is starting to cover his muzzle and face, his eyes are cloudy and his hearing is not sharp. Often, he has weakness in his back legs and he acts as if his joints bother him. He's lost weight, even though he eats every meal. His appetite is not alway strong so it may take him longer to eat his food, often needing encouragement to finish.
Mosby still enjoys going outside and socializing with the other dogs. He likes to sniff around the trees in the back yard and doze in the sunshine in the recent, spring-like weather. Sometimes, he'll even break into a trot as we go back and forth to the kennel!
But, a recent development is that Mosby is showing signs of dementia. It started about a month ago with periods of restlessness and barking, about mid morning. Even though Claire and Lauren are in the house with Mosby, we realized that he felt alone. This was easily solved by turning on the tv. Either the voices or the movement comforted Mosby as he would watch for awhile, then go soundly to sleep.
Lately, Mosby has become worse, needing a very rigid routine to make him comfortable. Since the kennel is what he knows best, that's where he heads if given the opportunity when something out of the norm happens. When Lauren jostled him as we came inside to see if food was left in his bowl, he immediately made a u-turn and ran out the open door, going to the kennel. The same thing happened when a mop I had left by the back door got knocked over and landed on Mosby as he was coming inside.
When these incidents happen, Mosby goes into a complete panic and is so frantic that he doesn't respond to me or seem to recognize me. It's so hard to see him like this when he's always been such a happy, carefree dog. It brings back a memory of our trip home from Clarion with Mosby, when we made a puppy potty stop. I had Mosby on a long lead and he was running to me after I called him. I heard a woman say nearby, "look how that puppy loves her"!
I need to concentrate on memories like that and help Mosby cope with his aging body and mind. While the recent developments are happening more frequently, we have many more normal days. We know what makes Mosby comfortable and happy and if that means more time in the kennel as it gets warmer, rather than in the house with us, well, so be it. We always treasure every day we get with our seniors!