Dear Dog Lady,
My sister and brother-in-law have lived all over Europe and central Asia. For a while they were in Uzbekistan where they rescued a little dog for sale at an outdoor food bazaar. The puppy was being sold for soup meat. My sister bought the dog, which looks like a cross between a Chihuahua and a Cairn terrier, and named her Tazzie (Taz is a place in Uzbekistan).
The dog is now 10 and has been to many places with my sister and brother-in-law. They plan to go back to Uzbekistan for three years starting in September, and I would like to keep Tazzie because I’ve grown quite fond of her. I fear she will never return if she goes back. She’s growing older and I worry how domestic animals are treated there. Tazzie has stayed with me many times and I know her well. I would love to keep her. How do I broach this with my sister?
A: Uzbekistan is not Dogistan and your request sounds sane and sensible. Your sister will give you a direct answer to your request. If she’s offended by your offer, she will let you know — because that’s what siblings do. She might be very grateful to you for offering to take Tazzie and keep her out of the soup. Dogs are creatures of habit, and transporting an older dog halfway around the world is stressful for all concerned.
Dear Dog Lady,
We have a 12-year-old yellow Labrador retriever named Daisy. She will be 13 in October. She gets around fine. Sometimes we think she’s a pup; other times she moves a little slower. She is home during the day while we are at work and has the run of the house. There are no accidents or other problems. My question: What signs do I look for when it’s time? It seems she could go on for another year or two.
A: If Daisy eats, walks and enjoys, it is not time for her to die. Dogs teach us to live in the moment, so learn your lessons. Let Daisy enjoy her well-earned senescence and flower in her dotage. Dog Lady has a similar senior canine citizen — a 12-year-old that will be 13 in July. Sometimes he’s spry; sometimes he slips while jumping into the car. When he stumbles, the heart aches, but the show must go on.
What you are now experiencing is the hardest part of having a dog. They age quickly, the years go by in a tumble and before you know it, they slip getting into the car or struggle to rise up off the floor, or look at you with wise eyes milky from cataracts.
As long as your dog shows all the signs to keep going, leave her alone and allow her to have her senior moments. Make sure Daisy has regular veterinarian appointments and special treats — bones, bully sticks, tennis balls, whatever turns her on — along the way. Ask your veterinarian about the impending signs of death. Dog Lady would rather not dwell on these, preferring to think our dogs have miles to go before they sleep.
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