Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aging Wonder Dog

Brisco the Wonder dog is getting old. He doesn't really look old, but things are changing. He sleeps a lot. He is very deaf and is constantly shocked when someone approaches from out of his sight line. He doesn't hear his old nemises, the mailman, approach the house or drop the mail in the slot, but will bark wildly if he sees him pass the house. In fact, he barks at every passer by he sees out the front door or window as if to let them know he is still a force to be reckoned with.

He is still protective of Maggie. The nurses are allowed do their work in Maggie room, but as soon as they come out of her room he lets them know that they are now in his jurisdiction. This has been going on for a couple of years but now he actually has to SEE them exit the room with Maggie because he can't hear them coming.

One new behavior is to bark at me every morning as Maggie and I get in the elevator to go down to meet the bus. It's our new routine Once Maggie is all ready to go, we head out for the deck and approach the elevator. Brisco starts his incessant barking as though he's Lassie and Timmy is down a well. It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm sure the neighbors really appreciate this. I wave at him to be quiet and get into the elevator as fast as possible. He barks wildly until he remembers to run downstairs.

He's frantic as though we are in danger. I thank him for his concern and say it's an elevator, we are ok. (Because reasoning with a barking dog is always helpful.) He barks as we starts to descend and I gesture for him to run downstairs to meet us. He is always waiting at the bottom relived when we arrive.  I cannot figure this one out at all. We have had the elevator for 6 or 7 years now, and we get in it every day. Interestingly, he doesn't bark when she ascends, only on the ride down. As a middle aged woman, I know gravity is the enemy, but how does the dog know that?

Of course Maggie finds this hilarious. She starts laughing,which makes her start coughing and needs suctioning. I am in the lift standing on my tiptoes to squeeze in beside Maggie's large wheelchair and all the equipment trying to free up the suction tubing with one hand and gesturing for the dog to come downstairs with the other.  

Once that harrowing ride is done he is happy to see us and runs for the basement door. When he finds it closed, as he does very morning, he looks at me very concerned and starts barking again. Maggie starts laughing again, which means more suctioning. I look at the dog and even though he can't her me I tell him, "Don't worry, there's a door knob. I have opposable thumbs and I can open it."  He is delighted when I open it and runs to the closed garage door and starts barking as if to say "HA! Another obstacle. Can you figure this one out too?!?!?!?"

Maggie laughs. I push the button to open the door and Brisco calmly walks out if front to sniff around and wait for the bus. To the passer by he looks like the picture of a the perfect family dog, not the nut case he has become.


  1. Dogs are wonderful and hilarious and often annoying. :-) Have you considered prempting the behavior by escorting him down to the basement before you start on the elevator process. Don't know if you have enough time in the morning routine to squeeze that in, but it might help break the cycle.

  2. Never a dull moment in your life and Maggie's, I'm sure. The routine of Wonder Dog is probably more sustaining than you think!

  3. Havent seen a post in a while, hope all is well:)


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