SUMMARY: Hanging in there. By a toenail or two.
I've got so much recent history to fill in about Tika, but I just never want to sit down and write about it.
Her endurance and strength and appetite continue to fade gradually away.
She still wants to go for walks. Walks in a slow but excited circle when I get her leash out--versus bounding into the air and racing in circles screeching for most of her life.
Walks about half a mile in half an hour, very slow but very steady. Likes to sniff at things and I let her. I no longer walk her with the other dogs as they have so much energy and she has so little. She doesn't usually seem to want to go home, but I insist. I don't want to have to carry her home, and i have no really good way of telling whether she's had too much.
She no longer pulls on the leash, versus me trying to teach it for months and months and months and then just giving up and managing it for the rest of her life until the last year maybe. (See, if I'd been doing regular posts, I'd know.)
This morning for the first time I thought that she was going to say no. She struggled to get up from her bed, had trouble, lay back down, and just lay there, head down. But I asked again, and she managed to get up and get excited.
She still, sometimes, wants to play, gives it a very slight effort--a playful paw on a toy, or a tiny sort of half pounce--and then it's over. Poor girlie.
Tricks and treats
She will still do tricks for treats, in fact, begs to be involved if I bring the treats out. I don't do "Bang!" any longer or anything that requires her to lie down and get back up again, because it's such an effort for her. But just this evening she did some backing up (Beep! Beep! Beep!) and figure 8s around my legs and back legs on the small wobble board and the usual lefts, rights, shakes, shake lefts,high fives, and Behinds. Very slowly, but eagerly.
Appetite can be a problem. Some days she wants to eat a regular meal and is happy with some kind of kibble, but that happens less and less often. I've got so many kinds of kibble here, now, and she so seldom wants any of it. And hardly eats any of it when she does.
She more often wants some canned food, but not very much of it, and probably not the same stuff more than one meal in a row (leaving me with 2/3-full cans).
She always seems to want to eat baby food... but SO expensive! But even that she won't necessarily eat all of.
Always seems to want to eat people food, but not always a lot of it. Two nights ago she was happy to share a bunch of tortilla chips, but snubbed the hummus (!). Last night she had a bunch of my frozen meal of chicken risotto with veggies but didn't finish all that I offered her, which wasn't really very much. Today, a little diarrhea as a result. Tonight she had a taco for dinner and sucked it down with enthusiasm.
She has to work to get up and down them--but does all the time, to go out to the yard and come back in, and to go down to the office-level of the house and come back up. (About 5 steps in each case.)
However, it had been a long time since she had been all the way upstairs to the bedroom hallway (about 12 steps), maybe a couple of months or more. And I had been thinking that that was it, she'd never come all the way upstairs again. However, two and a half weeks ago, my sister's dog stayed with us, so there was quite a bit of activity and angst. I went upstairs to get dressed, and the other 3 dogs followed me upstairs as normal. Then, cruising in through the bedroom door as calm and cool as could be, came Ms. Tika. She checked things out and then lay at the top of the stairs in her favorite old location--where she could keep an eye on everything upstairs and down.
However, she hasn't been back up since.
Tired, Old, Depressed, Sore, or Whatever
She spends a lot of time lying around looking pathetic, not raising her head, just watching or sometimes just listening to what's going on. Very un-Tika-like.
She particularly likes the raised bed under the table. (Not so much the raised bed that's next to the table; not sure why.) I've figured out that that's because it's easier for her to get up from--she basically walks her front legs off and then works her much-weaker back legs after them. That is--if her front legs don't slip on the floor and leave her stranded half on and half off. This is why there are now a bunch of rugs around the bed, to give her front feet traction. Makes it hard to sweep the floor, though.
If I'm out in the yard, she'll come out, too, and wander around all over, checking things out, then come by for some butt-scritching and other snuggling, then go wandering off again. For a while. Eventually she lies down and just watches, which would not have been the younger Tika. But she doesn't go out much on her own.
Still, she does occasionally do a yard patrol. Just a few minutes ago I heard her out there, barking at something that needed her opinion.
I sometimes find that she's been lying in her own urine. I don't know, though, whether she's somewhat incontinent and isn't aware that she needs to pee, or whether, seems equally likely, that she gets stuck on the smooth tile floor and can't get up.
She can get stuck if her rear legs slide out from under her in the wrong directions. She'll struggle some and then give up for a while.
So I wonder.
Meds and infections
I go in circles, trying to find ways to get her to take her meds without my having to pop them down her throat. At this point, she's willing to take pill pockets with the smaller pills in them and I just have to pop 2 larger halves down her throat. I dread the day that she figures out that there are tiny pills in the pockets because then I'll be scrambling again to find some way to get them down her.
She's off the antibiotics, though, yay! About a week before her 2nd round of 20 days completed, I realized that I no longer smelled the foul infection/decaying smell from her mouth, so, for now at least, that's gone. (this most recent was in the floor of her mouth under her tongue--there was a break before tha and after the first one, in her cheek. So, hoping there won't be more.)
And in the end
I dunno what'll happen or when. Discouraged about the decrease in appetite in particular. But she's still my good girl and she's still seeming to enjoying being here in various ways.