My dog, Sidney, has become Creepy Watson:
Sid is getting pretty old. She turns 14 today. She started losing her hearing a while back and now it’s gone. We still talk to her all the time, but it is literally falling on deaf ears. She’s had to adjust with being deaf and so have we.
Sid no longer hears the garage door when we get home so there isn’t an excited dog waiting for us when we come up through the side door in the kitchen. Now she is usually sleeping until we reach down and give her scratches or a kiss on the nose. She no longer can identify the sound of my motorcycle coming down the road so she no longer runs to the front window and looks for me, barking when I come into view. When she wanted outside when she could still hear, she used to go ruffle the plastic shade pieces that cover the deck door because the noise always got our attention. When she lost her hearing, she stopped doing that. Now she prefers to go to the door, then turn around and fix my wife or I with a stare until we come let her out.
If I want to see if she wants out, I point at the backdoor when she is looking at me. She either runs towards the door or stays wherever she is. I started using a double index finger point with my hands close together to let her know it’s time for her favorite treat. She caught on pretty fast. I can no longer call for her to come from the other room to hop up by me for some scratches. Now I have to go find her, make sure she is looking at me, wave to get her to follow me, and then finally wave or pat the surface of whatever i’m on to get her to jump up.
Sid has always been a curious dog, wanting to know what Mom and Dad were doing, but often, unless it involved food, she’d either just look from where she was and perk up her ears, or perhaps come in for a quick look and then leave. If food was involved, she was always right there until she was told to get out of the kitchen.
Now, she’s no less curious, but she needs to see everything to satisfy that curiosity. Before if she was chilling on her bed in our bedroom or in the office, I could walk by, give her a wave and say “Hey Sid, how you doing?” or maybe stop by to rub her belly for a bit and she was fine. After she lost her hearing, she has to get up and follow us wherever we go when we walk by. And if we think she is sleeping and she isn’t, whenever we turn around, there is Sid, like Creepy Watson, standing just behind us. It was a bit unnerving for the wife and I at first, but we’ve gotten used it.
Sid is in the final few years of her life. The expected age range for a dog like Sid is 14-15. The vet told me earlier this month that even though Sid has had cancerous tumors cut out of her twice, she has always been so healthy that she might live to be 16 or 17. But anyway you look at it, she’s old. She’s deaf. She has glaucoma in her eyes, but she still sees pretty well. The vet doubts she’ll have to deal with going blind, which is a blessing. Her nose is as sharp as ever. She still goes outside and runs as fast as she can to chase squirrels. Recently some rabbits have taken up living under our deck and hanging out in the yard. Sid can’t get under the deck, but she walks around all the time, her nose just a sniffing away, hunting up those wascally wabbits.
Rarely are we granted the mercy of an animal going quietly and painlessly in their sleep. I know that someday, sooner rather than later, I will be tasked with making the best decision for her even though it will be the worst decision for me.
But I will make it.
I will not let her suffer.
I will not keep her alive for my own selfish purposes.
Parting of being parent to a pet is doing what is best for them, not for you. But that day isn’t here yet. And until it does, I’m gonna take as much time with my Creepy Watson dog as I can get.