I missed Jazz in last week’s photos; he wasn’t very cooperative, and all his pictures were blurry. So I ’ve dedicated a post to him. He’s about 95% blind, deaf, arthritic, and almost 16 years old. He had a melanoma removed a couple of months ago and is down to just a few teeth. We are inseparable when I’m at home or we’re camping together.
At first, I thought he just really liked me. Later, I realized that he is anxious. If we got separated, he would roam the house looking for me, but he couldn’t really find me, which made him anxious. Now, I dark, I turn on the lights as I go, because I think he can still see light. He will always pick a light room over a dark one, so I think he can see that, although he can no longer see most movement.
If I take a 30-minute walk with our four dogs, 3 dogs will want to walk more, but Jazz will be ready for a nap. He won’t sleep well for a couple of nights, and I know that it’s because he hurts. When he sleeps with me, he presses his arthritic hips against me because the heat of my body reduces the pain a little.
I could stop taking him out, but he LOVES his walks! His yips of delight are contagious, and his nose still works fine. I can’t leave him behind, and he is tiresome to carry. Finally, I broke down and bought a Dogger brand dog stroller so that he can walk a bit, ride a bit, and sleep the night he has a walk. We bought it particularly for when we go camping, but I thought we could use it during neighborhood walks, too. It’s easy to maneuver and folds to go in the back of my small SUV; we’re very pleased with it.
In the beginning, I’m pushing an empty stroller until he gets tired, it’s just crazy. He will walk in front of the stroller and then stop, not knowing he could easily be hit if I can’t stop in time. He zig-zags around the other dogs, tangling the leashes and wrapping around my legs. He’ll go wherever his leash reaches, often avoiding the path that the other dogs walk. He weaves left, right, up and back, all over the place. He’s not slow, mind you, he’s excited and going pretty fast. The other dogs must dodge around me, the stroller, and each other, while trying to avoid Jazz’s maneuvers. The leashes are constantly tangled and wrapped around me. Frankly, it’s exhausting.
When I put Jazz in the stroller, we can finally walk like a normal pack. Jazz is still a bit anxious in the stroller, though; he would rather have me carry him. In his mind, I’m miles away, not just the length of the handlebar. Since he cannot see or hear me, he has no clue I’m there if he can’t smell my scent. I’m still trying to get him used to the stroller, but I really need someone to handle the other dogs, which doesn’t happen very often.
It really makes me not want to go anymore, except I know how much the dogs like it. When I try to take only one at a time, I have to face three confused and sad faces when I leave, and that makes me sad too. Whenever I get too frustrated, I remind myself that it’s a good problem to have. Jazz’s still here, mobile, and in his right mind.
Jazz turns 16 next month, and I’m considering a little birthday party, similar to the one I had when he turned 15 (see A Party for my Snuggle-Buddy). Maybe I’ll invite my daughter’s dog over to join our pack of 4. Whenever bacon is involved, I’ve noticed all dogs are interested in partying!
(As an Amazon Associate, this blog earns a small fee for any purchase made from the Amazon links in this site. I only mentioned the stroller because I like it so much and believe readers would like to more about it. I appreciate your support of this blog.)