Last week, my nearly 15-year old dog Misty suddenly lost her balance. She could not get up, and her legs were so wobbly that she could not even stand up to go and pee. I found her whining as she lay in a pool of her own urine, unable to muster the strength to walk away. As I tried to help her up, her legs flailed and gave way, and we both fell on the ground.
At that moment, I was full of grief. I realized her days were numbered, and that it was time to say goodbye. I told myself that all I could do was to make sure she was comfortable and knew that her entire family was close by as she approached her final hours. She no longer had the strength to climb up our bed, where she has spent every night for the past 14-plus years.
When I called her vet, I was sure he would put her to sleep. I was also thinking about discussing euthanasia with him, but my mind was fogged up. Instead, he injected her with antibiotics, steroids, and vitamins. I was so depressed to listen to what he had to say when he checked her out, as I focused on just making her comfortable.
As I watched the hours tick by, my dog stood on her own and drank some water. I didn’t think much of it as she again went to sleep. The next day, Misty again stood up, and this time, walked to a bowl of water without falling.
In the next few days, Misty made a full recovery. Not only did she begin to walk on her own, she also began to eat, and after a few more days, she had found the strength to go up and down the stairs, and hop onto my bed.
As I write this, Misty, my geriatric dog is alive–perhaps not as agile as she used to be in her younger years, but nonetheless happy and eager to please. She overcame the bacterial infection that I thought would overwhelm her system.
I am sharing this experience to remind readers not to lose hope so quickly when geriatric dogs get sick. I am so glad I did not ask for her to be immediately put to sleep when she seemed to be at death’s door, but instead gave medications a shot. I am also very happy that my vet did not think the worst upon seeing a weak, geriatric dog, but still gave her a chance.
This is not to say that you should let your dog suffer through what ails her – all I am saying is not to lose hope so quickly, if and when help is available. I am so glad we gave Misty another chance to live when it seemed that all was lost, and that she is still around to warm my bed at night.