Shugggie – Club Petsit Toronto
Shuggie came in to my life and met Club Petsit Toronto about a month ago. He is a senior dog of 19 and a half years. Nineteen! He is immobile and incontinent, but still feisty and adorable.
I was given the opportunity to care for Shuggie after his human mom was hospitalized. For the first three weeks, I would visit him daily, sometimes twice a day, in his home, while other care givers came to stay with him at night.
I have a deep love for senior dogs. my own dog Dexter, passed away at the age of 13 at the end of January 2016, and his absence is one I feel to my core. In a way, caring for Shuggie has made me feel close to Dexter again, as well as my family dog, CK, who passed away in 2012. They were always my boys but I felt even more affection toward them in their senior years. Ah, those seniors.
I took to Shuggie right away. He pants a lot and whines, seems restless and uncomfortable at times. But he is strong and resilient. I would carry him downstairs from his condo everyday after feeding him and sit with him outside so he could enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, as well as the attention of other dogs and humans. I could tell Shuggie is very loved. He is hanging on very strong. I didn’t have much info on him so I observed him and tried to understand the reason for every whine and bark. I learned he likes baths. He drinks a lot of water. He has favourite treats and really loves Peanut Butter. He is very food motivated. I would spend a lot of time cleaning up after him as he would drag himself around, often through his own pee and poop. His left leg also developed a wound which would bleed every day due to the dragging. I gave him as much love and care as I could. Would leave the lights and the radio on when I left and always strove to understand what to do to help make him more comfortable and happy.
Shuggie is now staying with me and my four kitties at the Club Petsit Toronto headquarters. Having a series of different care takers must have been a little stressful for him and I felt it would be good if we could consolidate his care. Since coming to stay with me, he has been settling in. I have taken him to the vet to ask what more we could do to make him comfortable and help him to sleep at night. He had blood work done to check his overall health. I have acquired a doggy stroller so taking him out is easier and more enjoyable for us both. He seems to really enjoy the stroller. I get a lot of glares and stares when I roll him around but I am starting to get more used to that. I’m sure if people understood that he is 163 in dog years and immobile, they wouldn’t think me so weird. His leg wound has healed up and is no longer bleeding. I started him on a food that the vet recommended to help with his cognition. He has a little trouble sleeping at night but settles down eventually. He gets a bath and goes outside everyday.
I am certain he is missing his human but I hope he understands on some level that I am loving and caring for him as though he were my own. My heart and life have been touched by my own dogs and I find comfort in knowing I am doing the best I can for both Shuggie and his mom. I look forward to posting more about this little guy and sharing our adventures. Senior dogs are awesome. And I’m so glad Shuggie came my way.