Here is a photo of our past dog Ben along with Gypsy and myself 9 years ago this month. Gypsy was then a young girl, agile, full of energy and no grey muzzle. Her sight and hearing were sharp and her joints healthy. She was only 5 years old in this photo. Gypsy has been having trouble breathing recently with a lot of panting and so first thing this morning she was taken to the veterinarian. After X-Rays, echo cardiogram, along with a thorough examination her diagnosis was her heart is not functioning fully. Her results were read by a specialist in Colorado Springs and the conclusion should be available by tomorrow but initial diagnosis is that one chamber of her heart is not working. She was placed on a medication (Lasix) that should give her some relief inside of a week but it appears that our gal is just wearing out like so many of us do when we get older.
The other day I was locking up downstairs and Carol was bringing her back from her short walk and it has always been her custom when she sees me outside she wants to run up to join me. Carol turned her loose and she came running up the driveway just as she has hundreds of times in the past. When she got up to the back door she staggered a little and fell over. I can stay calm when I'm hurt but when the dogs are hurt or in trouble I come unglued. I carried her inside and we made her comfortable and shortly she had recovered. We knew then she had problems and her breathing has become more labored the past few days. It appears that one chamber of her heart isn't functioning and her running up the driveway with the wind in her face and a smile on her lips won't be happening any more.
Gypsy is now just two months short of her 15th birthday. She has outlived her life expectancy thus far by a full 3 years. It is looking like every day forward we are blessed by her presence in our lives. There is nothing animal science can do for an aging dog with a declining heart. If her lifestyle is moderated she could be around for a long time yet, then again we never know. She is not in any pain and she is perfectly willing to give up some of those things she previously did but can't accomplish now. She clearly enjoys a more sedentary lifestyle these days. She still has a quality of life and enjoys almost everything she previously did but she is more restricted.
As much as we hate the time when we have to say good bye to her, we know one day not to far down the road of life she will be crossing that rainbow bridge to be greeted by her brother Ben. So as we look at the above photo and remember how it was 9 years ago, we wonder where the time has gone. How could it possibly have gone so quickly.
We attribute her longevity to good diet as she only eats premium food, healthy treats, good exercise and regular doggy doctor visits. In the meantime we cherish every day we have with her and plan to give her good senior years of comfort and pampering. Wait a minute - she has had a pampered and spoiled life, well, more won't hurt there is always room for improvement.