Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The heartache of animal ownership

Our beautiful dog Baerli turned nine on Friday. The downside to owning a large breed is that their lifespan is short. In the case of Bernese Mountain Dogs, 8-12 years is considered good. And poor B has been in the wars lately. She's torn her cruicate ligament in one leg. There's a nasty tumour (thankfully benign) in her mouth. Then she hurt one of her front legs too and was hobbling very badly. On Friday night she wouldn't eat her dinner (for the first time ever), nor breakfast on Saturday morning. Happily she's eating again now. Then on Sunday after a very short walk and swim she was finding it so difficult to get up that she peed on her bed and dripped all the way to the door rather than go outside to the toilet. Yesterday I spotted that her urine was very dark brown. Straight to the vet. A raft of tests ruled some things out thankfully, but we don't know what's wrong yet. It's so hard to see her miserable. We only want to do the best for this lovely old lady.

Then last week while I was away for work, five-year-old Gretchen hurt one of her legs too and was limping. The way she hurtles across the paddock after the frisbee, it's no great surprise, but it's hard to keep her quiet to allow it to heal. She's so desperate to play.

Meanwhile, every time I look at our frail 19+ year old cat Lilly, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. She's eating, drinking and sleeping fine, but can't groom herself properly, or hear, or see much either. Is she in too much pain? When is too much? I just don't know.

One of the hens has had mites on one leg, which I've been dunking in oil and rubbing gently to (hopefully) help remove them. Yesterday she disappeared. Another hen has some kind of wound on her breast but seems otherwise fine... I don't know what to do.

I wouldn't part with them for the world, but they sure can be a worry. There's so much more than cute and fluffy when caring for our animal family. Every now and then we consider getting some goats or sheep, but I don't think I'm ready for livestock. Especially not after reading a series of Facebook posts by a friend about the birth of calves (to some very obstreperous cows) at their place last month. Now THAT sounded stressful.


  1. Hope she's on the mend. It's heart breaking to see animals in pain and they seem to take it so much better than we do sometimes

    1. You are so right Louise, it's us who are a mess! She seemed quite happy yesterday. She's having surgery this afternoon, so fingers crossed. It's a hard decision to make.