Canine Longevity

This morning I decided to repost some old dog-related entries from my long-offline archives, in light of Lucy‘s age which, as it happens, we may have been underestimating.

I’d been estimating her age as “pushing 15,” but I found a post from almost 13 years ago with a vet estimate that she was 2½ back then — which means she must be at least 15 now. Of course, back then I’d been guessing she was much older, but that turned out to be a health thing that we saw her through.

Anyway, no sooner had I finished reposting all of those entries than I heard what has become a familiar sound of late: Lucy whining because she wants to get up from her bed and can’t, or she has fallen and can’t get up. When that happens I go down (as I did minutes ago) to the basement shop where she shelters, and help her to her feet and steady her until she can get outside.

It doesn’t happen every day, but often enough. She’s on prescriptions for her arthritis and it seems likely the best her vet will be able to do for her is up her dosage. The thing is, once she’s on her feet and moving she toddles right outside to take laps around her rather large enclosure. I think her difficulty, when she experiences it, is from not having done any walking around overnight.

Her appetite is still good — I’ll worry when that stops — but 15 is well past the typical expected lifespan for a dog her size.

Contrary to the speculations in the old posts, we eventually learned from a DNA test that her parents appear to have been a purebred Jack Russell terrier (hence her youthful energy and excitability back then) and a Canaan dog (hence her size). We hope for her mother’s sake that the terrier was her father.

We currently have ten critters under our care: Lucy, our own three cats, and six inherited from Mrs. McG’s late mother a year and a half ago. The age range of the inherited cats spans maybe a bit more than a year, and the youngest of them is about the same age as our current oldest. We’re about to enter a period of mass attrition over the next few years; Suzie Q was the first of what will be a rather large graduating class.