Friday, March 25, 2016

Nobody Said it Would Be Easy

Mardi and Magique striking a pose
The differences in their ages never seemed that large. Magique was a very smart puppy and Mariah was alive then. She had trained Mardi with my help and the two of them trained Magique. I trained both to be photographer dogs. The obeyed off leash and never chased the subject of a photo. We went everywhere together until age began to take a toll on Mardi Gras. She was fifteen when she decided she would not jump in the pickup.

Nor would she be assisted. I was ready with a whole host of solutions like ramps. In the end I had to take the Corolla if we wanted Mardi to go. Sad for a dog which had more Rubicon off road miles then some humans.

Mardi Gras
When she turned 15 and the joint outings became more difficult. She would get lost and disoriented. Magique virtually trained herself to find and retrieve her older buddy. I didn't realize how good Magique had gotten at that until on a neighborhood walk Mardi vanished and when I asked Magique to find her she ran u the hill and pointed straight down. Good dog training says you believe your dog. And she was right. Mardi had fallen down an abandoned septic system tank which had never been filled and was collapsing. It had collapsed under Mardi and threatened to collapse under me so we called the fire department.

It seemed safest to stay closer to home. Mardi goes on her own walks my neighbors joke. Magique and I walked where Mardi went. Still she enjoyed herself. Exercise is essential for aging dogs. She turned 16 this last Labor Day. Fortunately, for Magique, we had made a new friend with a labradoodle puppy and Magique and Valentine can run to their heart's content. But the daily outings in the pickup to the mountains around my house are fewer, the walks with Mardi are shorter and often involved repeating territory to round her up. This morning, I admit to being short on patience because of my case of the flu. Mardi didn't want to pay enough attention to get out of the backyard. She refuses to have a leash put on her. I realized how unfair this had become for Magique who generally waits patiently.  I gave up on Mardi this morning and took pity on Magique. She jumped in the pickup for pet rounds.

She gets excited when I bring the camera and so feel like it or not we did a couple short photo walks between stops. I think she just liked being with me in the truck again. Summer is around the corner and I won't have the flu forever. The last three winters I thought it would be Mardi's last. I toyed with picking up an adult rescue dog for Magique to train. But Mardi keeps on keeping on. It just is increasing clear she cannot keep up any longer. Maybe it will just be Magique and I and the pickup together. Isn't fair to make her stay at home.


  1. I had no idea old dogs would be so much like old people.....the whole pride thing, and the wandering away. It is so heartbreaking that their lifespan is so much shorter than ours. You are right, it is not fair to sacrifice the life of the younger dog (or person) completely to the needs of the old one.

  2. Very interesting how similar the issues are with dogs and people. The same heartbreak, the same finding balance between meeting the needs of the old and the young...

  3. I*am so sorry I missed this but then again, I really haven't been around that much. An early morning greeting on FB, the odd comment on a status and that's been about it. No blog reading and definitely no writing.

    Older dogs are harder to handle. I feel sad for you watch your beloved fur kids get older. Sixteen is quite some age.

  4. And then losing Willow. That is just beginning to sink in.

    1. I know. I was convinced Willow would come back.


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