1.16.2011

Putting the FUN in Canine Cognitive DysFUNction

a.k.a. Doggy Dementia.




This is about our oldest dog, Suzie. She is a miniature dachshund and she is somewhere around 18 years old. Which puts her somewhere around 126 years old in dog years.
And her mind, it is a'slipping.

This about.com article describes Suzie's behavior so well, I am suspicious that they have been peeking in our windows.

She stands at the hinge side of the door, wondering why it doesn't open and she can't get out of the room.
She randomly walks in circles. Over and over and over.
She gets stuck under things like end tables and Sofia's feeders. She wanders into the closet and stares at the walls.
And we laugh hysterically.
Because truly, these things are funny! She's cute. It's endearing. When you see her running around the house trying to get the little metal decorative table off of her back, what else are you gonna do?
Besides help her, of course. Once you contain your laughter.

She also does things that are not fun. Not funny. Not even a little bit endearing.
Like, her "loss of housetraining". Sigh.

She doesn't respond to commands. We thought she was going deaf, but it appears that she can still hear, it's just the dementia. But the sleep irregularities and barking for no reason? They are the ones that are going to drive me completely off of my rocker. She has combined the two, to save herself trouble I suppose. So when the house is quiet and she should be sleeping, she randomly decides to bark. Except that it's more of a "yelp". It is extremely loud and piercing and makes me want to rip my ears off of my head.
Alternately, I have considered putting Suzie in the washing machine and setting it on SPIN.
(I'm kidding, PETA, and stay off my blog, ya freaks.)
I honestly have no idea when I've slept for a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes, we can quiet her by wrapping her in a blanket and sort of tucking her in to her doggy bed. Sometimes, there is no consoling her. She doesn't like to be petted, picked up, or touched at all, really.
Sometimes, she wakes up the other dogs and they start barking, too. We can't keep her outside so that we can sleep, because I'm afraid she'll wake the neighbors. Even though we are a good distance away from our nearest neighbors. She is LOUD.

She is not in pain. She's just cognitively dysfunctional. The dysfunction is taking over!

There's not much we can do. And I don't feel guilty about laughing at the funny parts, not for a minute. When we were fostering for the dachshund rescue group, I picked Suzie up from the shelter. She had been dumped off by her former family because she was old and they wanted her put to sleep. They weren't willing to pay for it, though, so they just surrendered her to the shelter. There was nothing wrong with Suzie except for untreated worms, which were quickly cleared up with meds. We kept her, thinking she would probably not live long and we didn't want her to be put through the trauma of going to yet another home. And I was attached.

That was about three years ago. She has basically been spoiled rotten for three years, because we figured she didn't have much time left and wanted her to be comfortable and happy. She had her own bed and her own blanket, and she was kept away from the other dogs a lot because they annoyed her. She has lived the good life. And we will continue to keep her comfortable for whatever time she has left here.
I just wish they made Ambien for dogs.


A former foster, Honey, with Suzie.

19 comments:

Whitney said...

Aww. What a sweet girl. I feel really badly for her and her canine dementia. Our family's 13-year-old chihuahua mix has "selective hearing"...he doesn't bark anymore when someone comes up to the door, unless the other dogs warn him first. But if you mention food, he can suddenly hear. It's the strangest thing. He has recently acquired the incontinence where he doesn't even know he's using the bathroom. We blame this on him slipping a disc in his back several years ago. It breaks my heart that there's nothing we can do for older dogs. It's a miracle they've lived as long as they have. You're such a sweet soul to take in foster pets. :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Keeping Suzie in my prayers. I remember when our Maggie went through that, it was hard to watch but we also had to laugh. You know that one night my husband dropped a Mid-Night pill and Skye ate it. I freaked out but actually read that the ingredients in it they give to dogs to settle them down from fireworks. Maybe the vet could give her something.

Emmy said...

Oh that is funny and so so sad. So nice that you are taking such great care of her, hope she doesn't have too many more problems

Mamarazzi said...

aww poor baby. whe we got Coco my little Chiweenie 7 months ago my husband made me promise that when she got old and sick and needed any kind of surgery or medication that we would just let her go.

yeah, like THATS gonna happen.

boys are so dumb, they will believe anything!!

Myya said...

Poor sweet doggie. It is amazing how very attached you can get to an animal. I had my puppy for 8 years & then when I had my 2nd I had to let him go live with some friends. I cried for weeks. I still get really sad and it has been almost 3 years. I know that he is so happy where he is now, they can give him the attention he used to get pre marriage, pre babies. He lost 25 pounds & is so much healthier because he gets excersized. I am still sad though. Sigh.
Ok so I am still cracking up at Mamarazzi's comment about boys being dumb & believing anything. hee-hee, that is SOOOO true!

jennifer said...

Yes, laugh. Every chance you get. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and she did some things that we laugh about even now, years after she's gone (throwing her teeth because she DIDN'T want to get in the car). It's like God gave us a little comic relief in the middle of something that was so painful as to be unbearable.

Suzie is blessed to have a loving family.

Alicia said...

Aww! That's so sad!! I can't imagine my dogs going through that. Poor baby!

Missy said...

What a sweet beauty! Wishing her the absolute best. Pups definitely make our lives more enjoyable, don't they?

myevil3yearold said...

We have an elder boxer. He is 150 lbs of fat and laziness.

He loves my kids more than life. I truely think he thinks they are his. He was around for their births. I remember my mom saying he might eat Ethan when we brought him home- that was almost eight years ago.

Apollo is also losing his ability for potty training. Did I mention Apollo is an inside dog? Be thankful your dog is little.

Venom said...

My son insisted once on adopting a 12 year old dog who'd been used half to death in a puppymill. She had lice and all, every single one, of her teeth had to be pulled. He fell in love with her at first sight. She lived to be 18 years old, and everyone who met her adored her. We were glad to have given her a home who loved and appreciated her just for herself for the last third of her life.

He & Me + 3 said...

She is precious and how blessed are you all to have had her around for so long. That is awesome. Truly a part of the family. I can't blame you one bit for spoiling her. She deserves it.

Tara R. said...

I can remember when you all got Susie. 18 is a long life for any dog. I'm glad that in her final years, she's with a family who loves her and takes such good care of her.

Angelia Sims Hardy said...

Oh sweet Suzi, what a precious funny girl. I can hear in the post all her crotchedy ways. She has done a lot of doggie living!

It's a wonderful thing to accept her and spoil her. She sure lucked out finding your family.

Sherrismiles said...

I never knew there was such as thing as "doggie dementia" poor little thing. How kind of you to give her a warm home. I'm sure she knows she is loved and well cared for even though she doesn't like to be held or touched.

lol@ ambien for dogs. I remember driving to Ohio once and taking my ex husband's min pin along for the ride and her vet said we could give her some xanax. I swear to gosh, it didn't do a thing for her! She cried and whined the whole trip from FL to OH. In retrospect it would have been better if I took the Xanax instead.

Shell said...

LOL @ Ambien for dogs. I've said that about toddlers....

April said...

That Suzie's a keeper in my book! We have a long-haired doxie named Maddie who's 10 years old and we love her to death. She's nearly blind in one eye and as ornery as they come, but we wouldn't trade her for the world!

Brandy@YDK said...

you are a good doggy mama.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

That reminds me of my dog when she grew old. She did all that.

I miss my little Corky!

C said...

awwww so sad... i bet the howling and barking is all about her not remembering where she is and being scared by it.. bless her long little puppy dog ears....