We have had to face an unwelcome truth this week: our little dog is failing.
Mufasa joined our family in December 1997. He was a 2.3 pound ball of fluff. My husband did not want a dog, but I really, really did. I talked CJE into letting me bring him home with me on a trial run one weekend. He never left. The tiny ball of fluff grew, not much, but some. I think the most he has ever weighed was 6½ pounds. CJE has often called him a “dog-lit,” because he is like a dog, only smaller. He became a sweet, mostly well-mannered little dog. Small enough to be a lap dog, he is altogether cuddly and adorable.
Last fall he bit our son, Liam. He didn’t mean to and he wasn’t being vicious. Liam startled him, and as Mufasa can’t see or hear anymore, he just lashed out. We have worked with Liam over the winter to not scare the dog, to be nice to the dog, to put a hand on the dog first so he knows you are there and that problem, while not going away, has gotten better.
Unfortunately my sweet little dog has become rather defiant about not going outside to potty. He doesn’t have much fur and hates the cold and wet. So this winter, rather than go outside to potty, he has been sneaking around all over the house to do it. We have had a pet door for several years and he knows how to get himself in and out, he just refuses to do it. This past week has been worse than ever as he has done it twice now right in front of me. I have to be constantly on alert. If he jumps down off my lap I have to watch him like a hawk to make sure he goes outside. I have to leash him to the bed at night so he will wake me if he tries to go anywhere. If I am leaving the house for even 2 minutes I have to kennel him.
I have spent much of the past several days in tears. This is not what I want, and perhaps if I had enough money to throw at the problem, it would go away. However, I feel that would be a lot like putting a Band-aid on a bullet wound. He is 14 years old, the issues are going to keep coming.
The poor little thing can no longer see or hear. This gives him no opportunity to obey. What I want or need him to do no longer matters. I have no way of getting across to him these desires.
As he has indeed been my constant companion for 14 years, this is not a decision I have come to lightly. We will all be devastated and miss him terribly. I feel just horrible about it, but in the end his quality of life has become the determining factor. He now lives in an almost constant and complete state of confusion. He doesn’t understand why he can no longer be loose in the house to come and go as he pleases and because we cannot get anything across to him, he no longer obeys and then subsequently is in trouble.
It has become a matter of trust.
CJE and I have agreed I will spend this coming weekend with my dog. I will give Mufasa a bath and walk him and assure him that he is loved.
CJE says: “Are you sure?”
Well, I both am and I’m not. I’m not simply because I just don’t want to do this at all. I am because I really want my memories of Mufasa to be happy ones. I don’t want the sweet memories of what a great little dog he has been completely colored over by the problems he is having and creating now.
5 hours ago