Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fat Charlie is Okay

I was going to title this simply "Fat Charlie" but when you have a fifteen and a half year old dog, and you title your blog post "Fat Charlie" everyone would gasp and think that he died. So I added the "is okay" to prevent  heart attacks among Fat Charlie's many dear friends.

Here he is, right this very minute, lying next to my chair as I type. He's okay. He has laryngeal paralysis. It doesn't bother him mostly, but three times in the last year (most recently Monday morning before I left for work) his larynx has gone into spasm. He can't get air in or out. He gets so oxygen starved that he is incontinent and his legs slowly buckle. The first time it happened, I thought I was watching him die.

As he is about to lose consciousness, the larynx muscle doesn't have enough oxygen supply to stay in a spasm and it relaxes. Air goes whooshing in and out, and Fat Charlie looks up at me with big eyes that understand more than I can. The first two times it happened, I screamed for Bill in a panic. This last time Bill happened to be right there in the room. I calmly held Fat Charlie, and told him you're okay bud you're okay, and when he started getting some air in and out in big deep hungry gulps, it was Bill - my steady, one you want in an emergency, keep his head and assess the situation, Bill - who said, "Well. I am certainly glad THAT didn't happen while you were at work! My God, that was awful."

Now Bill understands why I screamed for him the other two times. In a high pitched help me I ain't birthin' no babies terrified Friday the Thirteenth aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Biiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllllll kind of scream. By the time he got to me the other two times, Fat Charlie was already at the whooshing air in and out stage, and Bill (might have) thought I was being a nanny booboo. Now he understands.

Mama Pajama fell down our entire staircase the other day. She hates to be helped. Hates, hates, hates it. I try to get a gentle hold of her collar at the top of the stairs. She dodges. And wham! Thump! Crash! Down, down, down. My heart hits each step with her little sideways body. She gets to the bottom, stands up, and looks at me.

"Oh, Mama Pajama! Are you okay?"

Mama Pajama is okay.

I, on the other hand, have 25,007 new grey hairs.

Having two fifteen and a half year old dogs is not for sissies. Just sayin'.

Hug your hounds


  1. Ohhhh..Gussie turns ten in February and I am already seeing little signs that the stairs are gonna be a problem. You are so brave...I would probably hyperventilate and then Bill would have 2 patients.


  2. I have a 16-yr-old whippet so I hear you. He's getting incontinent and somewhat dimented, but I love him and we are enjoying whatever time he has. If I had unlimited funds, I would take in old, sick dogs and love them forever. Sigh.

  3. If you have never had an old dog before, things happen, and you are clueless as to what to do. Maybe there are books, but I haven't seen them.

    Its a brand new road to walk with an old tired dog and it just ain't easy except for the cuddles.

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  4. Maggie never liked to be helped either but she finally gave in to being lifted in and out of the car. She realized that if she didn't give in, she wasn't going!
    Seniors are the best!

  5. Oh my god. Old dogs are pretty tough aren't they? Although the time we have with them is terribly fragile. My love and good wishes to all of you.

  6. Oh wow! We are sending you hugs and love because I think I would need lots of it in those moments.


  7. I am a Whippet in Germany.... feel free to check out my blog and photos!


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