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September 02, 2018

Living with Old Dogs...

Taking one day at a time, slowly..

We now have 3 geriatric dogs at home - in a total of 5.  Kaspar is still going strong and looking ever so smashing at past 11 years old.  Pretty old for a Great Pyr.  Has some discomfort in the hips, we can tell and he wants to sleep mostly, stretched out wherever it's cool.  Likes to scratch the kilims copiously before finding just the right spot, like making a nest, but once stretched out, nothing disturbs his sleep.  He's not eating much and of course that worries me but it is summer and hot and of course he's not doing much. Still he does eat some each day so we're hoping he stays ok for a long long time to come.  He did so well last winter, no obvious problems with hips or back legs so it was somewhat surprising to see him more affected in the late spring and summer but then again time marches on and all of our backs are getting more achy by the day! 

Little ol' man Elfie is now totally blind and pretty much deaf too.  Shouting his name doens't seem to work much but whistling still sometimes gets his attention.  He does run into doors and walls, so walks more tentatively around the house. He seems to do well in the dog yard, he knows where all the dog houses are and goes from one to the other, snoozes the day away.  It is harder to get him to get up and get moving, even after he's waken up and noticed it's time to go out (or come in), he will take a whole five minutes to get himself up onto his little legs, backside seems the most problematic.  Again the old backs are the painful ones, don't I know it!  Elfie is so old, we don't know how old he is.  Most likely in his teens..14-15 is my good guess.  Still eats well and chews up those biscuits even with all those teeth missing!  

Marguerite is still spry and happy go lucky but looking greyer by the minute on the head and muzzle.  No problems moving here but the last two years she has developed skin problems, seems to be grass allergies, particulalry end of summer (like right now) when the humidity is high and everything is itchy. Hasn't helped that since it's raining each and everyday for 2 weeks now, we haven't been able to cut the grass and it looks like more rain for ...well forever.  We may even have some tropical event next week so not looking forward to that!  Keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best. But it will be wet and then wet again.  

We are looking forward to the cooler weeather in a  month or so, and hopefully less rain. The days of October and November is when the dogs can stay out longer, sometimes even all of the day and night and really take advantage of the big yard for them to run and play in. And all the dog houses with nice cotton Mexican blankets to nap and snooze in.  

Oh, our old washing machine (and I mean it IS old!) had been nicknamed Lazarus. It has died several times already but then after a day's rest it will work again, although it bangs copiously and sometiems dances around the shed on the spin cycle. All those doggy blankets are not the kindest to this old thing. We can only do small loads now but that's ok.  A couple of doggy blankets at a time, then hang them on the fence or in the shed to dry and rotate.  All in a day's work.  Love the Mexican blanket, airy cotton, dry in minutes stretched out on the fence on a sunny day, a couple of hours hung on the line in the shed with the fan on.  Easy to switch them around as needed. Folded in 4 they totally cover the inside of a large dog house.  Small bathroom rugs (cotton, like rag rugs) are perfect for the small dog houses. 
In winter these same blankets go to cover the tropical plants and flower beds if we have a nightly freeze and the dogs gets comforters and quilts instead. Washed, dog blankets and rugs are stored in tose big plastic tubs with a few sprigs of eucalyptus to keep the bugs out .  The tubs are in the laundry shed as well, close to everything.  If anything we are well organized!