What do you think she thinks is happening?

I can't hear youI don’t even know where to begin the list of what is physically wrong with Old Dog. Her belly is covered in those fatty deposits (I think they’re called lipomas); she still has a match to the large one on her rump that we got removed four or five years ago (at this point the surgery to remove the one on her neck would be worse than the lump itself, which does not seem to bother her at all); she’s still on pain medication and has responded to it so well I plan on keeping her on it forever; I think she’s working on a good set of cataracts; her ears have always been infected, it seems; and now she’s gone deaf.


But she’s so good, and so sweet-natured. And it really is kind of funny. I mean, it’s not funny, but you have to laugh about it. She’ll suddenly sit up, not facing me, and start barking. And barking. And barking. And not stop. Yelling at her, surprisingly, does nothing. This morning I went and put my hand on her to stop her barking, and she jumped about a foot in the air. By the way, she was steadily barking at a piece of furniture. I always thought that chest of drawers was a little shifty.

It’s getting hard to tell what she wants. She’s always come and stood by me when she wants something, and I’ll go through the litany of “do you want to go out? Do you want some fresh water? Do you want some attention?” and she’ll usually start moving when I get to the right thing. Now she just keeps staring at me, as if I’m not doing my job. The other day I stood over her, rested my neck on her head, and asked if she wanted to go out, because she was just standing in the kitchen, not going anywhere. She wagged her tail and went to the back door, so I guess she could feel the vibrations of what I was saying, even if she couldn’t hear me.

And it’s awfully hard to get her to stop scratching in the middle of the night, now.


7 thoughts on “0

  1. K&S have a Maine Coon who had a stroke which nearly killed their cat, but he recovered. He is now completely deaf. Before the stroke, he was always nervous, and jumped at every noise. Now, he is always relaxed and seems much happier.

    I’m not saying that deafness, or any of the other ailments are a blessing for Old Dog. Just that little joys can sometimes be found, and often times, just a touch can mean so much.

    Of course, you knew that already.

    1. I do, I do; already during a thunderstorm she seemed much less concerned than she used to be, and she also sleeps a lot better (as in, longer bouts of sleep without waking up and fussing at her paws, or her ears, or just scratching, or whatnot). And she doesn’t seem concerned about it at all. It hasn’t stopped her from barking at the guy across the street who lets his dog out into his unfenced front yard. It hasn’t stopped her from lumbering into the back yard and doing some Twilight Barking (although I do wonder what she’s talking about). She doesn’t seem concerned about it IN THE LEAST. It’s far more difficult for me than it is for her! I can’t get used to calling her from the other room to tell her it’s dinner time, and her not coming! 😉

  2. They’re like kids; they soldier on. We had a poodle that lived to be 22 (I know!), but was pretty much blind at one point. He could still fly down the stairs ahead of my mother when it was time for chocolate ice cream. He’d get to the fridge before she would. And when I had him at my house he surprised me by climbing up the stairs without ever having been in the house before.

    As long as she’s comfortable and happy, it’ll be OK. And you? Will adjust. xo

  3. It’s so hard when they get old and they don’t know what they want and you don’t know what to do for them.

    When our wee ancient cat went deaf I did the talking while touching my throat to her head thing. I think she thought it was human purring. Seemed to make her happy and it made me feel less like she was so cut off from us.

  4. First of all, love to you, sweetie, and a big, big hug.

    You know I’ve been through this ageing process with mine, this is some of what I learned, even if one little piece comes in useful then that would be great:

    Never walk up behind her and touch her, unless you want your puppy on your living room ceiling! I gave mine quite a few unintentional frights. 🙁

    Walk in front of her and then bend down, pet her then guide her to wherever you need her. My biggest achievement (IMO) was gently blowing on her forehead if she was sleeping and I knew it was time for her to go into the garden, she’d waken up so gently and without any fright. I used that technique throughout the day, then once I had her attention would pat my leg for her to come with me. If she was in front of me I’d blow onto the fur on her back and she’d turn round like, “Oh, you’re there, what is it now???”

    Hand signals worked amazingly well: whenever she’d walk in the room (by this time almost 75% deaf) I’d wag my hand like a tail and she’d understand (it took a few tries) and wag back. She LOVED that. Too cute, and I felt it made her feel less alone. Likewise, we had signs for dinner, water, even though she was fifteen she picked them up so quickly.

    I would stand with my hands by my sides and then move them slowly outwards (“Whaddya want?”) with fingers outstretched and she loved that, would take me to her bowl, toy, the garden door…

    Best hand signals of all were hugs, just in case she felt lonely, even though she received so much attention: each time she walked in a room it was like she was strutting onto a stage, (‘I’m HERE!!!!’) I swears… 😀

    Cataracts, they were the worst: at the time there was a product on the market for humans/pets that was supposedly dissolving them but whether that is still available, I don’t know and I just can’t remember the name. Try not to move furniture or leave things for her to trip on. Difficult as hell, but worth the effort.

    The fatty lumps are just that, unsightly fatty lumps that both dogs and humans get as they age, forget worrying about them, mine had a couple, one that was really big at her sternum but thankfully we had an old fashioned country vet who said just to leave it, it would never harm her.

    I don’t know what she thinks is happening, I never worked that out with mine and it killed me when she started to get confused. I don’t think the hearing bothered her much but the eyesight bothered me as it was such an indication of how she was ageing. I hated that her eyeight deteriorated, suddenly she was disoriented in her own home, ths the confusion.

    I know how you feel. You know how I feel. You’re so close to her, you’ll work out methods of dealing with her ageing.

    I love you, will try and call this weekend.

  5. Wow I have to tell you I thought not only was I looking at a picture of my dog but also that I had written your post. My dog Rocky is almost 13 yrs old, was found on the side of an interstate in VA along with his littermates, and looks exactly like yours. He has fat deposits, is losing his hearing, barks at odd objects, whines all the time, goes out in the middle of the night, barks at who knows what outside, and has even come in the back door just to walk through the house and bark to go out the front door. I think that is weird. (My husband thinks it is a brilliant way for an old lazy dog to go from the from the backyard to the front without walking around the house.) I have talked to our vet about him and she suspects the barking is related to the hearing loss which is apparently very common. But she also suspects he may be starting to develop canine dimensia. My parents had a Yorkie that developed that and I am not convinced my dog has it yet but at this point I may try the medication to see if we both can get a full night’s sleep.

    I agree with Karen above about the hand signals. I have developed a few with my dog who is not completely deaf but when the kids are asleep and I don’t want to yell loud enough for him to hear me, a stomp on the floor so he feels the vibration and looks in my direction with a hand signal works great.

    Good luck!

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