Tag Archives: dog health

Senior Pug Life

Living with a senior pug is simply the best – either with a pug you’ve known and grown with over the years, or a senior who has more recently come into your life.

Senior pugs, like the best senior people, know who they are, know what they want, and their personalities just shine. They finally grow into their full selves, which, in Lola P’s case, means being as sassy and sure of herself as she’s ever been. Also – the cuteness! Puppies are off-the-charts adorable, but nothing is as beautiful to me as a silver speckled senior snout (or snout-less, as is the case with pugs).

What also often comes along with getting older – for people and pugs alike – are medical issues. Alas, this is one reason why so many mature pugs come into rescue – some folks either can’t, or won’t, afford their pug’s, often complicated, medical care.

Lola is now 13.5 years old, and for a pug her age, she’s doing great.

Our walks are much, much shorter now, and our pace is often glacial, but Lola P is engaged, feisty, and full of the life and spirit that so completely defines who she is, and she continues to teach me and challenge me to grow.

Being the medical mystery and marvel that she is, Lola has been through the healthcare wringer over the past few years, and my life has slowly changed to accommodate her developing needs. These changes will likely sound familiar to other loving, senior dog people.

A shockingly high percentage of my social time is spent in vet hospital waiting rooms, chatting with veterinarians and vet techs, and sharing stories with fellow pet parents. I consider our home vet to be family, and not only because I speak with him more these days than I do my own family.

My travel, evening, and weekend plans have been curtailed, and are often cancelled if the weather isn’t right, or if Herself isn’t feeling quite well and maybe needs a more watchful eye to make sure she’s okay.

Let’s talk about the spending. New shoes? Nope. Fancy dinner out? Nope. With many vet visits come many vet bills – and some of ours have been hefty. But I am so deeply grateful to be able to fork over the cash to save or extend my little one’s life. We have an amazing (and growing) medical team, and they deserve every penny, and more, that we give them. And I would rather have a healthy, happy pug than a newer, bigger TV, or whatever other stuff I’m told I *need* to have in order to be happy.

Speaking of spending… There are folks who have told me (repeatedly, and without solicitation) that Lola is “just a dog”, and that I’m crazy to devote so much time and money to her care, but, to be frank, those aren’t my people. I have stopped trying to explain myself to folks like this (some of whom I am related to), and I just feel sad for them now. Doubly sad if they happen to have an animal in their home.

I know what is important to me, and I know where my time, money, and energy are best spent. The level of care that I give Lola is simply a part of the dedication and love that I believe inherently comes with welcoming any new family member into my home, no matter how many legs they might have.

Dogs are family. The love and connection that our animals bring into our lives is unmatched and irreplaceable, and that love just gets sweeter as their faces get greyer, and their bones get creakier. The only rotten part of the deal is that we don’t get to have them in our lives forever. And that is simply the worst.

I have been quiet on this site because I’ve been focused on getting Lola the best care possible over the past year and a half, and dealing, sometimes not so elegantly, with the emotional roller coaster ride that comes along when a dearly loved one starts to show signs of faltering.

Senior pug life is something that I think only the luckiest among us get to experience. It’s not for the weak, and it is growing and breaking my heart open in ways that I never thought possible, but it is also the sweetest and most rewarding part of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. …unless it’s the chance to do it all again from the beginning.

Cheers to the seniors. They are the best among us. May they all have safe, soft spots to sleep, and a kind person to love and care for them, and, in Lola’s case, at least, a quick and obedient mama who jumps at her every whim and command.

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Filed under Pug Health, The Daily Pug, Uncategorized

First Aid Pug

Ever since Lola Pug was a crazy (and I do mean crazy) little pup, I have wanted to take a pet first aid course, just so I could be prepared to at least not make things worse if Bad Things happened.

11 years later, with a few emergencies under my belt, but also with a senior pug on my hands, I finally decided to bite the bullet, and off we went together to take the Walks n Wags Pet First Aid certification course.

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The course I chose to take was all in one day (yay!), and it clocked in at a hefty 10 hours, so Lola P and I settled in to learn and, much to my delight, have a lot of fun.

Well. I had fun. I mean…

…have you ever seen a pug in a pug muzzle?

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…well now you have, Clarice.

I wasn’t sure who else would be at the class, but it was a great mix of dog professionals (trainers, walkers, groomers, etc), and folks like me, who love their dogs – all dogs – and simply want to be better prepared to help in an emergency.

The first, and actually most impressive, rule of Pet First Aid?

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You are NOT A VET! GET TO A VET!

And while you work to get to a vet, here are some things you can do to help….

We learned how to identify lots of problems and issues, and then we moved on to practice bandaging a whole host of the more common cat and canine body injuries. And we met some lovely fellow participants in the process.

…all of whom were about as equally thrilled to be our live and squirmy test models. We were fortunate to have stuffies there to practice on, as well.

After a much needed lunch break, we got into the more exhausting topics, like choking, AR, and CPR. Now, supervising is what Lola does best, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that she seemed to enjoy this segment most of all.

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She even got into the action to help! …or something….

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All of the human brains got filled up with some really great experiences and learning, and as we sat down to take the exam at the end of our full day, the pups were able to take a rest while we applied our knowledge to the certification exam.

I wrote my exam with a certain little pug lying on my lap and stamping on my bladder, but I somehow still managed to pass with flying colours. And so did Lola P!

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A huge thank you to Margaret Pender from DogGone Right! for being such a great first aid teacher, and thanks to the folks at Walks n Wags for creating such a comprehensive, inclusive, interactive, and fun course.

Just to note – I was not compensated for this blog post. I am genuinely impressed with the course and the materials covered in it, and I am very happy and relieved that I finally became a certified Pet First Aid responder. Lola Pug might tell you a different story, but I think she secretly loved being there, as well.

 

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Filed under Action Pug, Adventures, Friends, Pug Health, Special Days

Diabetes Pug

We have been BUSY here at Casa Lola over the past few weeks, so let’s start by filling you in on our most recent adventure, shall we?

I woke Lola Pug up the other day to tell her the exciting news that we were about to have a house guest.

Lola Pug loves house guests.*

*Lola Pug: This is entirely untrue. The human lies terribly.

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We have been hosting and having play dates with Nelly going on nine years now, so these two are not only sisters from the same mister, but they are also old friends.

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Both Lola Pug and Nelly are getting higher up on the pug seniority list, and age typically brings health developments along for the ride. We noticed a while ago that Nelly was starting to act “not herself”, so her people whisked her off to the pug doctor, and they did so not a moment too soon. Nelly was diagnosed with diabetes!

So along with her food and bed and a favourite toy, Nelly came bearing these new accessories…

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Now, I am *that* person who needs to look away when I get a blood test or a vaccination. When I was a kid, it once took three nurses to hold me down for my annual blood test. (not my proudest moment) But now that I’m slightly more grown up, I think of happy places and chocolate and baby pugs, and I usually make it through with minimal embarrassment.

Needless to say, I saw this new development in Nelly’s care as a long overdue challenge that it was time I faced head on. It was the perfect opportunity to overcome a silly phobia, and the chance to do it for love.

And you know what?

It was NBD, as the kids say.

After a tutorial by Nelly’s humans, as well as many discussions with friends whose dogs have diabetes, I was ready for action. And I had a schedule. I always need a schedule.

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Turning the vial gently 10 times to mix the insulin so that I don’t create any bubbles…needle in…drawing out… just like I’ve seen it done a million times by people much smarter than me.

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I was definitely more nervous than Nells was when her appointed insulin hour came around.

In fact…

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…she was pretty darned excited about what was about to happen.

Why would anyone be excited about getting a needle, you ask?

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…because giving an insulin shot the right way means getting a second dinner, in Nelly’s world.

A little jab with the thinnest of needles in the squooshiest part of Nelly’s ample neck folds was nothing to her. And it was pretty quickly no big deal to me, as well.

It didn’t take long for the girls to gang up on me and start to demand some evening entertainment.

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So now that I’ve earned my Junior Pug lab coat, I guess it’s time for me to put on my adventure cap and get us outside, right?

The most amazing thing about this really simple diabetes treatment is that Nelly is doing SO well. In fact, I haven’t seen her this playful and happy in years.

So, alright, little ones. I’ll get me adventurers hat on and see what I can conjure up for you. To be continued next Sunday!

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Filed under Friends, Pug Health