My old guy, Zeus, who is almost twelve has had a rough couple of years. This time last year he had developed a massive amount of fluid in his chest and abdomen. My first thought was heart disease or cancer. As it turns out, nearly $3000.00 later, I discovered it was the food I was feeding him. That company discovered a huge spike in the vitamin D levels in that run of food. UGH! To say I was angry was putting it mildly. My poor baby endured big needs being inserted in his chest to withdraw the fluid from around his heart because of his food. On a side note, I was impressed when my vet told me that he allowed them to do this procedure with no sedatives. They said he was amazing although didn’t like it, didn’t make any moves to stop them either. That’s my baby!
For me it is just a plain miracle that he is here with us and relatively healthy. Although I am sad to say he has never really completely recovered entirely, his hips are good and although he is a little slower getting up these days and doesn’t tolerate the heat well (who does?), he is doing well.
But I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. Well I find it interesting so I am sharing. I have noticed over the last couple of months that Zeus has started grooming Juno to take over his position of head of the doggy household. It is a bittersweet moment for me.
I have always been one to allow the dogs to sort that type of thing out for themselves for the most part. I don’t believe that because a dog was in the house first, they are automatically the leader. That is what WE say, not what the dogs are sorting out for themselves. And side note: this is usually what causes issues between canine “siblings”.
I have noticed that he has given her “permission” to alert first, to be first at the door and the really big one…to be first OUT the door. No matter which dog arrived at the back door first, they ALWAYS went out in the same order: Zeus, Luna and then Juno. As the months have gone by it changed to: Zeus, Juno and then Luna. Lately, it has been Juno, Luna and then Zeus. A complete turn around on the hierarchy. Although he absolutely refuses to give up his favourite antler to her. And she respects that and leaves him to it. She will bring her own over to him and will lie down beside him. She has even laid down beside him and laid her paw on his while he is chewing on the antler. She can be such a sweet dog, despite her being a thick headed puppy at times.
So it appears he is still teaching her respect, patience and above all else, to slow down when in the presence of the elderly. Sometimes she forgets herself and he puts her in her place. She takes the reprimand and corrects herself.
With a heart that knows time is limited watching the three of them interact, I shake my head at the sadness that some people out there will never know the heartwarming glow that such tenderness can give you. Yes, with that joy comes some of the deepest pain you can imagine. But I know I would never be me without one or more dogs beside me.
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