The cliche is that pets allow us – and especially children – to learn about empathy, about responsibility, and then about dealing with death.
If you adopt a senior dog, this is especially true; from day one, you’re potentially dealing with dental surgery, joint problems, and behavioral issues that are at that point so ingrained that they can only be managed rather than changed.
Or that could just be our experience with Miss Jordan Underfoot.
When we adopted/rescued Jordan, her teeth were a mess, her walking on a leash was a series of angry confrontations with anything that moved, and her movement was interrupted with an occasional limp. Now, three years later, none of these problems have really got any better. But we have got better at managing them.
Our latest trip to the vet resulted in an instruction that she needed to take some muscle relaxants for a week…and that she should rest as much as possible. There’s a concern that her mobility problems could be a sign of something in her spine rather than her knee joints, so giving her back a rest would allow us to assess how much this affects her movements.
Luckily, there is no problem that I can’t purchase a solution for, so I’d already planned for this day. This was our first walk during Jordan’s week of rest.
Knowing her movement was restricted and that the stroller was pretty tall, I didn’t bother to fasten her in. Then she saw a bird, leapt gracefully to the ground, and landed on her squished little face.
We fasten her in now.
Although averse to change and novelty, she seems now to have adapted to her new mode of transport. We walk her around the neighborhood every evening and get the kind of attention you might imagine. No one comes too close, of course; Jordan remains unfriendly to anyone who hasn’t spent any amount of time with her. But, from a distance, we are aware that we’re a novelty.
And that’s fine. Because, at this point, for this little old lady, we’re ready to do anything to make her days comfortable, happy, and as full of stimulation as her unsociable attitude allows.