Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Old But Still Good

Since my last post was pretty depressing, I'd like to share some good news in this post. The "bump" on Felanie's head is not a tumor! It is a tiny cyst of some sort, and it's harmless. This is great news, especially considering the expenses we have already incurred (and the panic we felt) when she had two little tumors removed last year, one right after the other.

When this little lump showed up on Fel's head a few months ago, all I could think was "Oh no, not again!" It's funny that Felanie, who has been through a lot of torture at the vet (ears cropped, spayed, tail docked, two tumor removals, nail trimmings, teeth cleanings, etc.), still really loves going there, while Dozer, who visits the vet only rarely - usually just for the yearly checkup - absolutely despises the place. Felanie dances in circles and waggles her stubby tail and kisses everyone and whines happily... and Dozer just moans and trembles and slinks around as if the vet office was a haunted house.

At any rate, the little cyst is apparently a sign of aging and nothing more - much like the proliferating brown specks on Felanie's skin, which is apparently the canine equivalent of elderly humans' "liver spots". Felanie is almost eight years old now, and she has the gray-haired muzzle and "little old lady" grace to match. She even moves around like an old lady - sort of slow and dainty - albeit an overweight old lady since she currently has what I call a "hot dog" body style. (Her waistline is barely noticeable.) Fel's hips are slowly going bad, aggravated by hip dysplasia, and this slows her down even more. And I honestly think she is starting to lose her sense of hearing. My recent offhand comment to Dozer about "foodies" (our term for dinner time) did not bring Felanie out of the bedroom until I practically shouted "foody!". Meanwhile, Dozer looked puzzled: "Um, you don't need to yell, I totally heard you. Didn't you see me do the happy foody time dance? Maybe not... let me do it again just in case..."

Still, Felanie's age, if anything, makes her more fun to be around. She knows the household rules and is content to abide by them. She knows our daily routine. She is quiet and calm, not clingy or overbearing or pushy. She's even catlike enough that my mom, who doesn't like dogs in general, loves Felanie. I have fond memories of agility and obedience classes with her, where she was truly a star. At her age, though, Fel is content to sit around and sleep most of the day, and she doesn't need or demand exercise the way Dozer does. Her day is made with plenty of hugs and pats and cheerful praise.

As they say, age only makes a fine wine better. I love my "old lady" dog!

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