I continue to adjust to the fact that I am now pivoting through life with a senior pup – one with cognition issues.
My plan is to –
- adapt when necessary
- swivel when required
- and share what’s proven beneficial while living in Harley’s aging world
As our journey called “aging” continues – so will my occasional posts.
The last post I wrote regarding Harley’s aging journey
addressed confessed my fear of watching the progression of his physical decline. It is still a struggle for me, and probably always will be. My acceptance of where we are presently has arrived and like a roommate, she’s unpacked and completely moved in.
“Acceptance” has cleared a path for me emotionally and helps tremendously as the decline continues.
However…. lately, Harley’s been airing new behavioral habits – and they are some what peculiar. He seems increasingly restless. Lot’s of roaming from room to room, or pacing around in a circle wherever we are all in.
His vision and hearing are very good for his age. #soImtold When I call his name to ensure he can hear me (and recognize my voice), he will often respond with a bothersome glare. If I speak softly (above a whisper) he tosses his head in my direction with a sarcastic glance as if to say –
Yes, I can still hear you#smartass
CANINE COGNITION – WHAT TO KNOW?
Concerned and curious about an aging dogs declining cognition, I sat down with my man Greg Google to learn more about –
- cognitive behavior
- cognitive dysfunction
- the difference between the two and dog dementia
This was a deep rabbit hole to dive into…
- Cognitive behavior gives a dog the ability to make inferences, understand human gestures, read intentions and be sensitive to human attentional and emotional states. Helps them understand easy words, imitate human physical language, emphasize with our emotions and develop a unique way to bond with us.
- Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) shows behavioral alterations in older dogs such as disorientation, altered interactions with family members and pets, their environment, sleep-wake cycles, potty accidents and changes in activities.
- CCD is just another name for canine dementia or senility. #basically
CANINE COGNITION – WHAT TO DO?
Some experts call it cognitive enrichment – they suggest –
- providing puzzles, toys and activities that stimulate the brain, improve function and reduce boredom.
Those suggestions would never work for Harley – hell – he didn’t like puzzles, toys or even balls when he was younger LOL…
I am so grateful to have Jaxson around to help with interaction, and attention.
SPEAKING OF JAXSON –
he has become my sensei as I continue to pivot with a senior dog. By watching him, I’m learning how to better accommodate Harley.
Jaxson has taught me (through observation) how to follow his lead and adapt to Harley’s new pace/outlook on life. Jaxson never flinches or moves abruptly when Harley steps all over him, (literally) vs. around.
Now when Harley starts pacing in circles around a chair, stool or end table, I just slide the objects over and out of the way. Everyday I am better understanding how to “gift” Harley another great – uncomplicated, low stress kind of day!…
MY BIG GIRL PANTIES –
are all the way up! I’ve reached out to Doodle Doc and made a “quality of life assessment” appointment for Harley at the end of this month. NOTHING is going to happen other than a full cognitive evaluation and much discussion with me about all of this. #Ineedtalkingto
Harley Darley is my first dog, I want to know everything and do everything I can – but it must be done correctly. I rely on Dr. Pruitt’s holistic and scientific approach to veterinarian care. She will take the necessary time to observe and examine him as well as educate me.
I also want to talk with her about Coco Therapy’s new product (new to me!) called TriPlex MCT-3 Oil.
A human-grade MCT Oil for pets. Beneficial for brain health and to increase energy levels. Stops yeast infections on skin and in ears, Helps with seizures and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
I started adding it to Harley’s breakfast last month. More to come on that.
Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog ❤️
May 14, 2023
I finished walking the end of life path with Charlie Charizard on May 4, 2023. It came quite suddenly and I had to make that final decision. It’s now the first time in 15+ years I’ve been without any dogs in my life. It’s been a difficult adjustment and very emotional. I’ve been walking one of my neighbor’s dogs which helps. Due to my age I am not comfortable thinking about another dog. My biggest concern is leaving a dog for which my daughter and son in law would be responsible.
May 15, 2023
Very sorry for your loss. The loss of a beloved pet is a hard journey. Give your heart some time to heal and in the meantime, bless you for your dog walking gift to the neighbors. Hopefully it will provide your heart with a measure of comfort. Sending tender thoughts your way.
May 16, 2023
You are so sweet! Vicki and her beloved Charlie were a therapy team in our program for many years. Talk about one beautiful and gentle giant. He was a gorgeous Great Pyrenees’ who truly understood his assignment as a therapy dog! I learned a great deal from just observing the two of them.
May 15, 2023
Thank you, again! You have educated me on a topic I didn’t know existed. Cody will be 10 next week, and is active and alert, but I will pay closer attention to his behavior.
As an aside, while watching Live with Kelly and Mark this morning, Kelly mentioned their 17 yo dog was blind and deaf, and staring at walls. It was suggested that Chewy had doggy dementia. Second time in 2 days I’ve heard the term.
May 16, 2023
Hello Cheryl, can’t believe Cody will be 10 – Wow! Happy Barkday to Cody! Jaxson will be 9 at the end of the year and I swear this Dood still hasn’t grown up :)Yep CCD is a “thing” – and I truly believe Harley is now in the middle of it. I will know more after his assessment appointment with Doodle Doc at the end of this month. Stay tuned…
May 16, 2023
Oh Cathy, I sooo feel for you! My very first dog, Kissy, had some aging issues the last months of her life; but that was in 2003 before I knew there was a name for it, much less research being done to find ways to help pet parents help their dogs through it. But along with her cognitive issues, she was having heart and kidney issues. At 15-1/2, it was time to let her go to Heaven. I knew my Mom would meet her at “the pearly gates” and take care of her for me while she waited for me. Anyway, just know that I’m here for you if you want to talk.
May 16, 2023
Wow! 15-1/2 – that’s amazing! What a blessing1 I tell people that right now Harley’s living on “Jesus time!” i like writing this series because I truly believe it brings this community together even more knowing that we are not alone in this journey. I learn so much from all of you – and it helps me… All in all, Harley is managing well. Doodle Dad is as invested in the Boys as I am, so the sacrifices we are making in terms of separate trips to see friends and the kids is something we agreed to without any discussion. Harley can no longer travel, and I would never board him, nor do I really want to leave him with someone other than us. I know this will not last forever, so for right now we are living in the moment, making as many memories as we possibly can. Take care my friend and please continue to tune in!
May 22, 2023
I want to express my gratitude for your blog post about pivoting with a senior pup’s cognition. Your commitment to understanding the needs of older dogs and finding ways to support their cognitive health is truly admirable.
May 25, 2023
Thank you – I’m trying
May 22, 2023
Your genuine love and devotion for your furry companion shine through your words, and it’s evident that you go above and beyond to ensure their cognitive well-being.
May 25, 2023