In my brief Profile at the top of my blogs, I mention our elderly dog. One of my blog friends emailed me the other day to say how much she enjoys reading my blogs (isn't it great when complete strangers do this!), and she said she is a doggy person, and wanted to know more about our dog. So I started to write a brief para. or two about Elsie, and ended up with the following pages! I'd been thinking my blog was getting a bit boring lately, and wondered what else I could write about. I was so pleased with my little story about our dear old Elsie, I decided to post it here.
"Elsie" is 18/19 years old now - not sure exactly, without checking her original papers which are buried beneath other paperwork somewhere. She is a cross between a Kelpie and Fox Terrier, we think. We got her from the RSPCA here in Melbourne, to be a friend to our other dog at the time, Eric.
Our first dog was Tammy, a white German shepherd, who was absolutely beautiful, with a really loving nature. We got her as a puppy, and within a year she had all but destroyed our back yard through boredom while we were at work, so we figured she needed someone to play with. A friend who lives in the country told us about one of his neighbours who had a bitch who'd just had 9 puppies, and he was going to drown them all. So Ken hightailed it up there to get one of them, and that's how we got Eric.
Eric and Tammy were great friends, and when Tammy died 9 years later, Eric howled non stop for 2 weeks, so again we decided we had to find another friend for him. This time we went to the RSPCA, and there we found Elsie, who looked quite a bit like Eric - black and tan Kelpie cross. When our vet saw her for the first time he immediately said "Ah! Spare parts for Eric!"
Eric died when he was 18, so he and Elsie had about 8 years together and were great friends except when I took Elsie for walks on her own, because Eric was too old and frail to keep up with us. We would hear him howling all the way around the block! After he died, we decided Elsie would be our last dog, because if all our animals were going to live for nearly 20 years, any new pets would probably outlive us!!
Elsie is now almost blind, deaf, and more recently, arthritic. She always used to run around our yard, which we tried not to change too much, so she would know where things were. But now, she struggles to get up the steps to the back of the yard, and usually falls down them on the way back to the patio at the side of the house, where her bed is. I'm amazed that she hasn't yet broken a leg, but when she tumbles, she still manages to pick herself up again, albeit slowly.
It is the Eternal question, isn't it - do you 'put her down' or let her die naturally? Elsie wanders around the house to the back door without fail every morning about 8 am when we feed her, and she eats every morsel in the bowl, then goes back to her spot on the patio. At night, she is back at the door, waiting for her tea from about 5 pm onwards. Sometimes I might be late for some reason, and she sits there and waits. So she knows she is going to be fed twice a day. How can we take her to the vet and say "Put her to sleep - she's deaf and blind, and arthritic"? But she eats, drinks water, defecates (all over the yard, lol), and patrols the yard when she isn't having a snooze in the sun somewhere, so she is still very much alive in our opinion.