An open door at the top of our stairway beckoned yesterday, so Maddi, our elderly Pyrenean, clip clopped her way up to the top and out. Having done so, she proceeded to explore her surroundings before heading to a comfy spot for a lie down. Unfortunately, like hill walking, going up can sometimes be much easier than coming back down.
Poor Maddi! The stairs must have looked insurmountable to her as she peered down its length. Eyes squinting, she gingerly placed one foot, then another, on the step below. Meanwhile, Hubby stood at the bottom of the steps, encouraging her with ‘Come on, Maddi, come on.’ I stood at the top of the stairs and watched for some minutes.
As Maddi began to make her way downstairs, she found herself slipping and sliding on the smooth wooden stairs. Angling her body to the left of the staircase, Maddi started to make her slow and painful journey downwards in a sitting position. Thus, she looked like a child bumping his or her way down the stairs.
By the time Maddi had covered two-thirds of the staircase, her hind legs and feet were splayed out to give her balance. We could see her concentrating hard in order to reach the bottom of the stairs without falling. Hubby said that this was the worst he has seen of Maddi’s inability to negotiate the stairway.
Both Hubby and I felt so sorry for Maddi. I wanted to weep on her behalf – first, for all the abuse and pain she had suffered before we rescued her, and now, for her descent into old age, where even her limbs do not obey her will. Maddi is a dog of strong will, and I think it is this that helped her survive the first 2.75 years of almost untrammelled hardship. Poor Maddi was either chained up for days on end in a yard that was open to the elements with no food or water, or she was kept in a concrete storeroom with no light or heat with two other male Pyreneans, again with no food or water.
Yet Maddi survived the madness that surrounded her. Maddi is a pedigree dog, and for the first months of her life, was taken to dog shows and shown in the ring. For that reason, she walked well, lifting her legs proudly as she would have done in a show ring. Now our poor dog has wastage of the muscle in her hind legs and nothing will induce her to walk short of a good sniff around or treat. Thankfully, she still likes to play, which means that she is still exercising those legs and helping to prevent further muscle wastage.
As I write this, both Hubby and I are awarer that Maddi may not be with us for very long more. Despite her stubborn will and tenacity, our 9-year old Pyrenean is suffering from arrhythmia, and her breathing can be rather laboured. It is probably the reason why she snores so loudly too. I don’t think I have ever heard a dog snore the way Maddi does – like a droning airplane!
Having spoken with the vet today about Maddi’s legs, we have been advised that glucosamines may help to ease her joints but only exercise can strengthen her legs. Meanwhile we give Maddi Metacalm to help with the inflammation related to her arthritis. Old age is certainly no pretty picture!
However, we will love Maddi to the end.
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