Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dozer and the advent of "senior"

According to the chart my vet gave me at the D's annual checkup, Dozer (age 7-going-on-8) is in his early fifties in human years. This, apparently, now qualifies him for senior dog food and supplement pills for his joints.

I guess no one actually told Dozer he needs to start acting his age. Honestly, if we hadn't adopted him when he was a bitty little puppy, we wouldn't believe he is so old. As it is, people think we are lying to them when we say, "He's a senior citizen." I'm not sure why we'd lie about something so pointless, but the fact is that Dozer still reminds everyone of a rather large, awkward, ridiculous, immature adolescent dog. "One or two years, tops," say the disbelievers.

Perhaps it's his big, goofy grin, or the clown dots under his eyes, or his soft, velvety rabbit ears, or his bright white fur that never shows gray. Maybe it's his big paws and gangly body. Maybe it's the way he gargles like Chewbacca, or squeals like a guinea pig, when he's excited.

Possibly it's because he crashes into and over everything in his path as if he were still a small puppy: as if he might be able to squeeze under the dishwasher's open door to retrieve his ball, as if he might be able to push his body between handrailing spindles to avoid climbing the icy back steps, as if he could share the front passenger seat with you on a ride to the drive-thru—if only you'd scoot over a tad. Or it might be because all his thought processes seem to end with the same conclusion: "Throw ball now."

All of these things make him seem like an oversized puppy with an undersized brain. So when the vet said Dozer was now a senior, I had a little trouble keeping the laughter in. Won't we be relieved when Dozer finally does start acting his age!

In the meantime, Dozer takes his joint pills with great reluctance. Though I believe they are supposed to taste good for most dogs, Dozer merely sticks his nose up and licks his lips unhappily. I have to force him to eat the pill, and though I am sure that a bystander might imagine that I am thrusting my tiny pink hand into a veritable alligator's jaws, it is in fact quite easy. Dozer has always been very good at opening his mouth for medicine; he opens as wide as possible at the slightest pressure on the top of his nose, and holds his mouth open for the delivery; I can stick my hand (and most of my arm) in to the back of his throat, drop the pill, and pull my arm back out in a mere second. When I press the bottom of his jaw, he closes his mouth and swallows obediently. Then I just have to wash my hands clean of the dog drool.

Not that he is having any joint problems (that we're aware of, anyway), but we would like to be proactive and build up his joints before they do start causing problems—especially considering all the backflips and other gymnastics that the D so enthusiastically delivers during his daily fetch routine.

1 comment:

forsythia said...

Our daughter's "Baltimore street dog" will be 9 in July, and he is still a big, overgrown, silly puppy. He's adorable.