This is the Archive for the ‘old dogs’ Category. It contains all blog posts related to old dogs.

Tomorrow at 3pm

September 16th, 2010 2 comments

It’s been an extremely difficult 24 hours, and we have about another 24 hours of time left with Cory. I’d just like to thank the huge outpouring of support from so many of you via personal emails, Twitter, and Facebook.

We have read many of your comments to Cory so he absolutely knows how much love and support is out there for him. We have received well-wishes from across the globe, from South Africa to Sweden, the US and the UK.

All your support has really helped strengthen our family as we prepare to say goodbye for our longtime friend.

Nikki Brown, the Canine Angel has provided especially touching support through this process and I would like to extend a personal thank-you to you, Nikki.

I’d like to share an email I received from her today which was really insightful and very touching. I think it should be read by anyone going through this difficult process:

Hi Jayson

Yes I read your latest blog post and was thinking of you all through the night.

I have pointed many people to this link when they are facing the decision you are all facing.

Please read through it all, It has helped many people through the transition we call death.

What ever you, your mom and Cory choose together will be right. What ever decision you make make it with love in your heart.

I know that most pet owners who have left their animal friend to die naturally have been left with less guilty feelings after and have felt a sense of freedom and Peace.

Some pet owners cannot bear to watch their pet suffer at the end of the time and make the decision to ease their friends pain.

The above link helps you to know what the signs are when your dog is nearing death and how natural these signs are. It will help you to understand the dying process and what is happening to Cory.

The body shuts down before the mind, If you can let Cory go naturally then he will have a better transition into his next stage of his journey.

It all depends what your spiritual beliefs are, Just remember whatever decision you make will be right and please don’t attach any guilt to that decision. Feel the love for Cory and his life, This is the last miracle he has to share with you all.

And Please get everyone to say these 4 phrases to Cory. Whisper them in his ear.

I love you
I am sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you.

These 4 phrases clean any negativity from the soul.

I am sending Cory light and Love, he is an amazing dog. One that has touched my heart in so many ways and I thank him so dearly for the miracles he has shared with me.

Please keep me posted and pass this mail to your mom right away.

I love you all.
Nikki xxxx

Categories: old dogs, Updates on Cory Tags:

Cory is not doing well

September 15th, 2010 3 comments

Hey guys, I know nobody likes bad news. And I struggled with whether or not to post this update because I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day who has been following Cory. But I decided that it would be untrue to this blog, Cory, and his fans to hide the truth.

Cory’s last days are probably upon us.

Cory’s miracle at the lake was truly a miracle but we’re beginning to see that it was really Cory’s last stand; his last hurrah at the things in life that he loves so much.

We plan to have a family meeting tonight to determine Cory’s fate but we are all pretty sure of what needs to happen next. We have consulted with Cory’s surgeon, his vet, and Gary, founder of Cory’s favorite food (Darwin’s Natural Pet Food).

I don’t want to give anyone any false illusions about Cory’s health, so here’s the scoop:

The pool isn’t helping him. We have been giving him 30 minutes of pool-time each night in the hopes that we could rehab his hind legs and soothe his arthritis pain. Unfortunately, he seems to be on a slippery slope that just isn’t getting better.

He’s unable to stand on his own, so he lays idle all day waiting for us to get home from work. He favors his right hind leg to the point that he’s trying to walk on only three legs, and he just doesn’t have the strength to do so. His left hind leg is atrophying badly and he doesn’t even use it while swimming, as we had hoped.

His senses are sharp and his mind is clear but he is giving us signs that he can’t take much more of this. At some point we need to decide whether we compassionately help him end his suffering. And that’s what we will discuss tonight.

When Cory’s time comes, we will continue to run this blog, and Cory’s Story will live on. Only weeks away from publishing, we had hoped that Cory would make it to the launch of his book but it’s looking unlikely that he will.

This blog will live on to serve as a resource to dogs suffering from canine epilepsy and cauda equina syndrome, because Cory showed that they can be overcome. We will vigorously promote Cory’s Story to help all dogs live longer, happier, healthier lives. At 13.5 years old, Cory has already well outlived his expected lifespan for a Labrador Retriever, especially one suffering from epilepsy and cauda equina syndrome.

We’ll keep you all updated as we move through this difficult process. We appreciate all your love and support so far and Cory knows you are thinking of him.

I’m going to share a poem that we read for the first time on the wall of Cory’s veterinarian clinic years ago. At the time, we couldn’t imagine this ever applying to Cory:


Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for not heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick for though I should lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to the bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.

Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.


(Author Unknown)

The pet we loved will remain with us forever, and cherished memories will abide within our hearts reminding us that the love we shared together is eternal.

Categories: old dogs, Updates on Cory Tags:

Cory’s New Pool: Arthritis Relief?

September 7th, 2010 2 comments

After Cory’s miracle at the lake, we discussed what may have been the cause for his unbelievable recovery. We decided that it was probably a combination of the fluid movement of his joints in the water, helping to lube up and loosen his joints, coupled with the cold water which may have had a soothing effect on the pain.

Determined to help Cory feel that sense of freedom again (and hopefully regain his ability to walk unassisted), we bought a pool for him last weekend (we got it on craigslist for $50). Unfortunately, the pool is not quite deep enough for him to swim, but with his life jacket on his buoyancy is enough to keep almost all pressure off his legs, allowing him to move freely in the water.

Watch as his eyes just lighten up as he gets to play with his ball. We think this must be a very freeing experience for him since he gets to move about in the water wherever he wants. He’s still unable to stand up or walk on his own outside of the water, and improvement has been evident but slow since we bought the pool. We are hoping that with 2 swim-sessions a day, his atrophied muscles will strengthen enough to allow him to at least stand and walk on his own.

If you have any suggestions for arthritis relief for dogs, please tell us in the comments!


Cory’s Miracle at the Lake

August 17th, 2010 No comments

If you read Sandy’s last blog post, you’re aware that Cory’s health is declining. For the last month or so, he has lost the ability to stand up on his own, and he can’t take more than a few steps without his hind end collapsing.

But to our complete shock and amazement, this weekend Cory stunned us. Apparently driven by his undying love for water, he swam for the first time in months. But the fact that he could swim wasn’t what really shocked us. It was when he actually exited the water and began walking with a little spring in his step. He proceeded to grab a tennis ball and demand that we throw it for him, fetching it numerous times and bringing tears to our eyes as we witnessed the sparkle and life returning to his. Take a look… we would have never expected this to happen.


And here’s Cory walking on his own for the first time in months.


Update on Cory (8/11/2010)

August 11th, 2010 6 comments

First off, let me assure you that the book, Cory’s Story, will not have a sad ending.  It is about the life of our dog, Cory, and his success in conquering canine epilepsy. I don’t like books that make me cry at the end, and I believe in the power of positive energy.  But I can’t continue this blog without being honest with you, many of whom have contacted me both publicly and privately expressing such kind wishes for Cory’s well-being.  The truth is, the surgery which Cory had on his spine last March (see the Cauda Equina section of this blog) did not bring him the cure we were so hopeful for.  Cory’s hind end has completely failed, and his shoulders are so full of arthritis he cannot walk without assistance.  He cannot get up by himself once he is lying down. With tears choking my words I called the woman who owns the place where Cory has been getting hydrotherapy and cancelled the rest of his hydrotherapy sessions. Her response was to inquire how he is doing otherwise.  (You mean other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?)  So I told her that his mind is still sharp and clear.  He has no problem with his hearing or with seeing.  He sleeps peacefully by my side of the bed every night without any signs of discomfort. He wants very badly to be with us and he responds with pleasure to hearing us talk about him and having us hug and pet him.  She listened intently and then told me that she has a “doggie wheelchair” which she will lend to us. I don’t know that that is, but I can’t wait to pick it up this evening. I will let you know how it works for him.  We are remaining guardedly optimistic. I will keep you all posted on how it goes.

Categories: Cauda Equina, old dogs, Updates on Cory Tags:

Health Considerations for the Older Dog

July 1st, 2010 No comments

It snuck up on me.  One day I looked at my dog and thought to myself, “when did you get old?”   Wasn’t it just last week you were pulling me all over the neighborhood on our walks, with me pleading with you to slow down?  When exactly did you stop jumping up onto our bed for your morning hugs and cuddles?  When was it that you decided not to jump into the back of the SUV to go for a treasured ride?  I remember researching dog ramps and ordering one online, but that was because I thought you might need one “someday,” and now you cannot get into the car without it.

That’s the way it is when our beloved dogs gain senior status.  It is wise to prepare for that inevitability emotionally and to educate yourself so that you will be ready and able to help them when they need you.  Of course, you cannot predict when your dog is going to officially become a senior.  It is certainly not at a specific age.  In fact, generally the smaller the dog, the longer the expected life span.  For example, if you look at two dogs who are both 10 years old, the one who weighs under 20 pounds is roughly 56 years old in human years, and the dog who is over 90 pounds is about 78 years in human years.  That’s a 22 year difference!  A lot will have to do with your dog’s overall health to begin with.  But if you are able to make yourself aware of the subtle changes that come with aging, you will be in a better position to get help for your dog’s health problems when they might be easier to treat.

Common signs of aging:

  • Tiring more quickly;
  • Reluctance to jump into the car, or falling when attempting to jump onto something that used to be easy for the dog;
  • Graying hair, especially on the face;
  • Difficulty getting up from or lying down on the floor;
  • Sleeping for more hours of the day than before;
  • Increased dream activity, shown by the dog moving his legs as if running while sleeping;
  • Problems with vision or hearing;
  • Excessive sneezing, where the dog’s nose sometimes hits the floor with the explosion of the sneeze;
  • Dragging hind legs over the knuckles during a walk;
  • Tumors, especially fatty tumors that form under the skin;
  • Growths like warts that form on the dog’s skin, often on the face;
  • Incontinence, resulting in accidents in the house.

What can you do?

  • Be vigilant to the changes your dog is going through and educate yourself about the therapies that are available for aging dogs;
  • Adjust exercise so your dog remains confident and does not get stressed by overdoing it;
  • Keep excess weight off if at all possible.   I found that this is easily accomplished by feeding an all raw, natural diet.  Obesity is probably the most common reason for stress on the overall health of your dog;
  • Have a geriatric work up done by your veterinarian about every 6 months to screen for common ailments in senior dogs such as a thyroid imbalance, kidney, heart or liver diseases, arthritis and diabetes;
  • Keep your dog’s teeth clean, (periodontal disease is one of the most common problems seen by vets in their senior patients).

What Therapies and other Aids are available for aging dogs?

In addition to traditional medicines, such as the commonly prescribed  Rimadyl for arthritis pain in dogs, there are a host of “alternative” therapies that are becoming popular to the great relief of owners of senior canine citizens.  They include holistic therapy and homeopathic remedies.  Here are some examples:

  • Arnica Montana, is a homeopathic remedy that you can buy in any health food store.  It works wonders for dogs with aches and pains, and there is absolutely no danger of any unpleasant side effects.  It especially provides relief from sore muscles after exercise.  (This remedy is actually made for humans, so you won’t find it at the pet store);
  • The following must be done by licensed professionals, but the benefits can be well worth the cost:

Massage, (often combined with the      hydrotherapy in the same session);
Chiropractic treatments.

Other Aids:

Life Jackets, if your dog is a swimmer;

A harness may help if the dog’s rear end is weak and he needs assistance walking   or using the stairs;

Portable Steps to allow the dog to get up on the furniture; (did somebody say “to help dogs get up on the furniture”?)

A sturdy telescoping ramp to allow the dog to easily get into and out of the car or RV;

Carts (See K-9 Cart Company.  They make custom carts for dogs, tailored to their specific needs).

I realize that there is much more that can be said about health considerations for the older dog, but it is not my intent to write a book on the subject.  I hope that the things I mentioned to watch for and the suggestions for what you can do will help you with a place to start.  It is a sacred journey we share with our canine companions and a special honor to have them live long enough so that we can care for them in their golden years.

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