When Dante, our Yergess, (your guess is as good as mine) started walking into the floor lamp, we got rid of the lamp. When he walked into furniture, we weren’t worried that he’d be hurt. When he stopped getting to the dog door in time, we put out incontinence pads. When he stopped wanting to walk around at all, we put him in the playpen. He ate and slept and died there. He was 17.
When Buffy, our poodle-mutt, could only walk in small circles, and only looked happy at meal time, we put her in the playpen. We tried taking her out for walks, but she only wanted to sniff the tree in front of our house. When she started having seizures, we took her to the vet and cried as she was euthanized. She was almost 20.
Petruccio, our beagle-mutt, still goes for walks around the block. Not very fast. But when he’s home, he spends his days sleeping in his dog bed and getting out of it to eat and to urinate or poop somewhere away from his bed, if only a foot or two. We’ve covered the downstairs floor with incontinence pads. Sometimes he comes into the kitchen and quietly sneaks up behind us, causing us to trip if we tak a step backwards. For his safety as well as ours, he is now in the playpen. He just turned 19.
He’s in much better condition than Dante or Buffy was when they went into the playpen. But I think this is his last year. It is much easier to pick up and change one of the two incontinence pads in his playpen than to crawl around the first floor checking each pad to see if it needs to be washed.
Still, when I look at him, sleeping in his playpen, I have a mix of emotions. This dog has never played with us, like Dante or Buffy. He did love Buffy. But when she was old and weak, she could no longer growl him off, and he tried to rape her. But he is our dog. He is part of our family. And I know this is his last summer.