Charlie in forbidden chair

A Jack Russell Terrier in the height of his powers is anything but temperate. Inside the adorably innocent exterior, resides a razor sharp brain wrapped in a chaos of planning his next adventure. Though his DNA includes the destruction of unwelcome rodents, Charlie cannot be bothered with the effort, instead he chooses to share the wealth of fallen fruit with all comers.

To say that Charlie is a dog of many talents is an understatement. He is a fast learner and as a puppy he learned a few tricks to show off, and mastered a few household chores as long as the treats kept coming. As he ages we find that his ideas frequently take precedent over ours, and as we age along with him it sometimes seems easier to let him do it his way.

As dogs have their own way of aging, it is hard to determine just where they are in the human scale of things. It seems to vary between breeds. We have been blessed to have several different breeds in our lives. Healthy small dogs as a rule live longer than their larger companions and we have had both, sometimes two at a time. A miniature dachshund with some health problems, stuck it out for 17 years, while a supposedly healthy German Shepherd dog developed cognitive problems at ten, as did a lovely quiet Old English Sheepdog at the age of eleven.

As with we humans, it’s a mystery that we, along with the medical profession, are determined to solve. Which brings me to the subject of today’s veterinary services.

Though we have been able to handle most veterinary problems through the years, save the annual vaccinations and occasional surprise injuries, we chose to enroll Charlie in a Wellness program when he came to live with us. For this privilege I pay approximately $50 per month. It entitles him to two big visits a year “free” of charge. Complete exams, dental cleaning and vaccinations. Charlie has been well cared for in exchange for the joy he has brought us.

Last week I discovered a roughness behind one of Charlie’s ears, and since he was due for an exam and tooth cleaning, I mentioned that there might be “something” to look at. When we collected him later in the day, the vet gave me the breakdown of his visit. The rough spot was a tumor, which when addressed, would come to approximately $600. and put him in the famous plastic head cone for some time while it healed.

Today we went in for the second part of the annual check up. On the way home he seemed pretty lethargic and lay in my lap in the car, where I cuddled him and stroked around his ear which showed no sign of roughness or a mass. That was good because we had already decided not to pursue a surgery at his age. When we got him home I looked over the papers which showed the results of his visit.

A small liver problem: a daily pill. Possible eye issue: we had already noticed his hesitation on coming through a partially open door: a paw reaching out to make sure it was open. Possible ear issue: no problem there, Charlie hears a footstep on the front porch long before I know they were there. Lately Charlie has been hesitant upon jumping up onto places he shouldn’t be anyway. I no longer tap dance.

For each of these things there were suggestions of tests to be given. No test for my dancing however.

For those of you familiar with the medical profession, does this sound familiar? We are grateful for the strides the medical profession has made, both human and animal, but as with humans, there is only so much which can or should be done regardless of the cost. We come, we are young, and then we age. and suddenly we aren’t as good in many ways. Nothing is perfect and maybe it never was. Enjoy it all while you can and play the hand you drew.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

21 thoughts on “ONE-EYED JACKS WILD”

  1. I don’t know anything about veterinary medicine, nor do I have any pets (husband is too allergic, unfortunately), but I guess that at some point, aging happens to us all. It’s impressive you had a dog live until 17 years old. That’s 119 in people year’s! Hope your pooch does okay.


  2. A good and timely post, Kayti. You always make me laugh. Our Jack Russell is going for his 14th year. A few weeks ago he had dental work done. He could not get out quick enough. He shakes like a leaf each time we walk anywhere near the dog parlour or Vet’s surgery and leads us away in a wide arch. Yet, he will take on a pit-bull terrier or a noisy Harley Davidson’s tail-pipe.
    We are neck on neck with the ageing process and if he ( Milo) lives till seventeen we are supposed to hang on here till well into our nineties or more, if we allow seven human years for one Jack Russell year.
    Each day that passes without tumbling down the stairs or tripping over Milo leaping ahead of us, is a bonus.
    The hand we drew, at times seems to have been a boxer’s fist, but what can you do?


    1. What a great comment Gerard. Funny how they seem to sense trouble when the quack’s office comes in view. Charlie challenged a very large poodle this morning. Sam said they sniffed and then narrowed their eyes and growled. Apparently the poodle needed a tooth cleaning.
      There’s a lot of similarity between old dogs and old people. You are never sure what they are thinking. We had an old Doberman who gathered his blanket up in the evening and sat and stared at me until I got up and went to bed. They seem to take over.


  3. I absolutely love this post, Aunt Kayti. The parallels between a dog’s aging and a human’s are oh so close. It’s hard to know when and if to treat what…Charlie has a good life with Kayti and Dr. Advice that’s for sure.


  4. In so many areas of life, I try to remember the wisdom of the old adage: “Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do something.” It certainly came into play when her veterinarian told me a week ago, “We have some tests we could do, or there are some procedures…” I can think of many other examples, many of which revolve around my mother. One of my favorites involved her doctor saying to her, “Of course you could give up cheese and ice cream, but should you? You’re 90 years old, and cutting out ice cream isn’t going to significantly extend your life!”

    Of course, we sometimes fall on the other side of that adage. We can do something, but think (or fear) that we shouldn’t. Saturday night, after Dixie Rose’s departure, the only good coping mechanism seemed to be a pint of Talenti gelato. So, I went out at 9 p.m., found some Mediterranean Mint and a spoon. I ate the whole thing, and it did help. The medicinal application of ice cream always helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was that line “We have some tests we could do” which got to me. Though I hate to question the vet’s opinion, I neither see nor feel anything which resembles a tumor on him now. I love the sound of the gelato. You certainly deserved it.

      My father used to challenge people who said he shouldn’t smoke any more; “What’s it going to do, kill me?” Of course it already had. But sometimes we can overreact to current health suggestions. They often change.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You and I both have lived long enough to see the pendulum swing multiple times. Here’s my cynical view: every time people stop buying books about the latest fad, the gurus come up with a new one, and start fishing for bookings on tv. πŸ™‚


    2. You are so right, and isn’t it interesting that we grow to recognize the tempo of the times? I have, in the last number of years, become intrigued with the politics of the time. For most of my life I was ignorant of what went on outside my own circle of interest. Now when I read about things long past in the world, I am shocked that I didn’t care enough to know. I guess I had enough going on in my life during all those years. Now, I obviously have less going on! Our lives become narrower. The trick seems to be to keep interested in SOMETHING!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My friend Julie specializes in ophthalmology for small animals; she was semi retired when cancer altered her plans for retiring in Ecuador, but we stay in close communication. Another friend’s small and very-old dog was experiencing eye problems, and in her behalf I wrote Julie and asked about options for treatment. Her advice stuck with me and made a lot of sense. She said that many times a house pet becomes blind so slowly that no one notices, because a smart pet knows by heart the arrangement of furniture and navigates really well via other senses, esp from memory of where everything is located. She recommended a certain eye drop with lutein – i just checked and here’s some info via doc mercola:

    my friend is presently beginning round four of treatments, otherwise i’d ask her for updated info… i think that the lutein is important for all of us, not just pets with failing eyesight!


    1. Great advice Lisa. It also works for we humans. My eyesight is failing and Sam and I both take lutein twice a day. Leaving furniture in place is important for us too. This dog is very sensitive to anything new in the house or on a shelf. He is so observant, and will even let me know if the tea kettle is singing if I don’t hear it. His hearing is so acute that he hears when someone approaches the house even before I know they are there. Pets can be a lot of trouble in one respect, but a blessing in others. I have trained this one to bring in the mail, ring a bell when he wants out and in small ways we keep training up regularly. They forget just like us! Thanks again for the info.


  6. I enjoyed getting to know Charlie and agreed with every word of the last paragraph, particularly, “but as with humans, there is only so much which can or should be done regardless of the cost.” Though I’m not sure I would have when young.


    1. I agree. When I was younger, I might have done, but not much point at the “last of life”. There is still so much joy to be had. When I lament that I can no longer do things I used to, I have to pinch myself and count the things I can still do. It’s too easy to slip into a poor me mode. All we really need to do is watch the news. Speaking of which, my husband walks a regular route with Charlie twice a day. He has noticed for some time that out of 62 houses, there are only 2 who still take the local newspaper. We are one, and a neighbor takes it plus the San Francisco paper. The local has shrunk until it is no larger than a throwaway advertising paper from the grocery store. No editorial any more either. I will opt out at the end of this subscription. Sad.


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