Friday 18 September 2009


Gentle Dominie has made us think very hard recently. She cannot get up on her own but can walk short distances once she is on her feet. We keep questioning each other about her quality of life, wondering if we're doing the right thing for her. She is old but not like other old dogs we have had for she is very alert and welcomes all comers to the house with her usual warble. She notices what is happening around her and gets upset when the other dogs go out and she has to remain behind, albeit with a human in attendance. She enjoys being a part of what is going on, particularly if it involves food. Her appetite is very good and she is ever ready for refreshments. She vocalises her needs and waits patiently until the dumb humans in her family interpret her needs correctly. Many would say that she should be euthanised but that would not be fair to her because, in short, though her back legs don't work the rest of her is in fine condition. Thus we always reach the same conclusion - she is not yet ready to travel on.

Dominie has been 'wearing' hind wheels to compensate for the lack of messaging to the atrophied muscles in her back legs when we go out but recently has been overbalancing and cannot really manage on them any longer. To support her on a walk of longer than ten or fifteen minutes is hard work, pulling human neck and back muscles; it is also probably not very comfortable for her as the harness straps pull tight on her but she enjoys the stimulus of change of scenery, fresh air, new people or dogs who come up to make friends.
Therefore we have bought a dog trailer. It's called 'DoggyRide' . Designed in Holland, it resembles a baby buggy and can be pushed or it can be attached to a bicycle and towed. Dominie had her first outing in it yesterday. We made sure it was well padded and set off up the hill. At first she looked rather uncertain about it but enjoyed it when a couple of cyclists stopped to say hello and make a fuss of her. After that she was squeaking and we wondered if she wanted to turn over. In fact, she wanted to relieve herself. Then, with support, she walked to the pond and drank from it, paddling her front legs in it. While Jenna-the-Labrador chased after her ball and Buddy Liver Spots and Frodo the Faller stooged around, Dominie lay and watched, snuffing the air. A few minutes later she walked on for a short while and then was happy to go back into the buggy. It was an enjoyable outing for us all and Barry and I agreed that it was a worthwhile investment for even if Dominie doesn't get extended use it will surely serve the other dogs in due course.


  1. Hi Janice. I think the DoggyRide is a great way to enable Dominie to continue to enjoy outings with her family. She certainly looks happy enough on the photo. I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful dogs. Best wishes to you all.

  2. That's very sweet. You clearly love her dearly, and it sounds as though she's enjoying life despite her disability, at least for now.

    A dog forum I belong too has a short checklist for helping to make That Decision. You pick three things that your dog loves to do (which might, for instance, be eat, play with a favourite toy, and go for car rides or walks), and when she can no longer do any of those things, it might be a hint that she is ready to leave.

    I found it helpful when my lovely Jack was dying. He no longer even picked up his beloved yellow duck, he couldn't manage to walk - at all - and he refused even warm chicken caserole. For a dog who adored his duck, loved to walk and run, and was ALWAYS on the cadge for food, it was a very strong hint indeed. :(

  3. Now that would make a great extension to the papmobile! I could fit at least five in there.

    I'm glad that Dominie seemed to enjoy her outing.

  4. What a brilliant idea. You show so much love for your beautiful dogs it is very heart-warming to see. They are very lucky to have such a loving and caring home but I would probably be correct in assuming that you get as much joy from your four-legged family as they do. Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Sylvia, thank you.
    jay - that's very helpful. I looked at a similar help list but it was much more specific - yours sounds much better. Never easy though is it? :-{
    Gennasus - you could probably fit Jana in as well!
    Denise - thank you. Our 'children' (what do you call your adult offspring?? - descendants maybe) always ask after the animals and there's always a note of anxiety when it comes to Dominie.
    Hope you all have a peaceful, happy weekend :-))

  6. I think the buggy is a wonderful idea and she obviously enjoyed it. I hope it brings Dominie and you, many happy outings.

  7. I meant to's often said that 'you'll know' when the time is right but I don't think that is always the case. It would be much easier if the decision could be made for you but, ultimately, it is yours.

    I am glad that we are allowed to let our pets go before life becomes unbearable but, working in a vets', I know that it is one of the hardest decisions anyone has to make.

  8. Thank you Gennasus - it's the day and the decision that all pet-owners dread, so much so that some people can never repeat the experience.

  9. My dog Zonker would have LOVED to ride in something like this when he was too old to walk very far, but I'm not going to let Molly look just yet because she needs the exercise as much as I do ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

  10. Happily Retired Gal - I'm sure Molly isn't ready for a buggy yet so you really mustn't let her see it ;-)


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