Having to admit she's getting old is so hard for me. I'm crying just typing this. I don't know how to convey how much our girl means to us and seeing what may be the first real signs of a decline in her is so very upsetting. She's thirteen years old now, and while the huge battery of tests she had done last September when she had Vestibular Disease indicated she was extremely healthy for a dog her age, recently she's had some odd behaviors that have me worried.
To begin with, she's been acting a little more "scattered" in general. She's not hearing all that well anymore, and sometimes she acts a little distracted. More worrying, she's taken to pacing around at night and seems to have a hard time settling down to sleep. It's especially bad if we haven't taken her for a walk, but a couple of times lately she's refused to go out (which is in itself highly unusual). The heat is terrible right now, even at night, so I don't blame her if that's the reason. When we do manage a walk, she's not willing to go very far and she's been very slow, which also might be the heat, but she seems to settle down and rest better on the nights when she's had some exercise. Last night was horrible. She wouldn't go out to walk (which was fine, the heat index was so high even at 10pm that it probably wasn't a great idea) but she kept pacing and whining softly at the side of the bed and I kept getting up to see if she needed to go out and pee. She went outside briefly two of the 10 times she woke me up, but the other times she just walked around, got some water, and went back to the bedroom. Occasionally I wake up to her panting a little in the middle of the night, which makes me worry that she's in some kind of pain.
I called the vet this morning and asked if I could make an appointment for her next week. I also asked if I could give her something for pain in the meantime, to see if that's the problem. The vet told me to come by the office and pick up some anti-inflammatory medicine to try, and if that solves the problem (he thinks it might) I can cancel the appointment we made for next Thursday. I'm anxious to see if this helps! She's been slower about standing up and going up and down steps lately, so hopefully she's just got a touch of arthritis, which is relatively easy to treat. Easier than canine dementia setting in, which is my worst fear.
I wish I could be at peace with her aging. I'm not sure if it's the timing, what with the pandemic and other stressors in my life right now, but I'm having a terrible time dealing with this. I've been crying all day today. I was even shedding tears as I picked up the medicine at the vet's. Nothing is so wrong with Ginger at this point that I need to be this emotional about it but I can't seem to stop. Maybe I need to join Ginger and George and take a nap. I certainly didn't get much rest last night. Hopefully Ginger's first pill (which she got just over an hour ago) will start to make a difference and she'll be back to her normal self soon. I'll let you know. Meanwhile, I'm off to try to distract my weepy self with some mindless tv, a healthy lunch, and hopefully (if Marco will be quiet for an hour or so) a good nap. Wish me luck.