Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grateful For The Little Things

I am grateful today for the companionship of my longtime friend, Alix. She has been with us nearly 16 years and is getting pretty old and feeble. We had quite a scare with her about 6 months ago. She had been getting kind of thin, but this is not unusual in an older pet. The Vet told us it was because her kidneys were just not functioning as well as they did when she was younger. This gave her a nauseous feeling and turned her off to her food, even though she was hungry. In late October 2007 Alix had some sort of "attack". She was sleeping on my sewing table around 9pm and suddenly fell from the table and thrashed about on the floor. This had never happened before and we thought she was having a stroke. After less then a minute she sat up and shook herself a bit and then ran upstairs to hide under the bed. I coaxed her out and for the rest of the evening she acted quite normal and did not seem at all impaired. She had another attack at about 2am and since then, thank God, there have been no other attacks. The Vet called it an REM Seizure. When Alix went into a deep mode of sleep her old heart slowed down too much and the seizure was an automatic way of her body "shocking itself" back to life. Of course this terrified me, especially when the Vet said one of these seizure would probably cause Alix's death in the future. Once I had a chance to digest it all I figured this was better then getting hit by a car or attacked by another animal. Alix has had a long and wonderful life with us. She came to our house on July 4th 1992 and has traveled with us to Florida, New Jersey and then back to Ohio.
Today Alix stumbled and fell down our steps. At first I thought is was another seizure. The anxiety in the moments when these things happen is overwhelming for me. Then when I had a chance to calm down and think about it I am sure it was more of a muscle issue rather then neurological. Her right back leg seemed to buckle (I was walking right next to her) and she stumble down two or three stairs, then fell on the living room floor. In her usual dignified manner, she righted herself, shook out her stiff leg a bit and has been fine ever since. She jumps up on the bed, goes up and down the stairs, and does all the normal cat things she always does. I, on the other hand, am an emotional wreck. Those of you with pets (especially older or ill pets) will understand this. I try very hard not to follow Alix around and hound her and bother her. I did this for days following her seizures in October until Joe said "Let the cat be a cat". She lays here on the spare bed in our computer room watching me right now. Wondering what whacky, over-emotional dribble I am coming up with. Hoping I won't pester her anymore today or try to snap another photo of her. Oh I just can't help it....I have to reach over and pet her!


  1. Oh my can I relate to your post. Our pets are our family and we would be just as concerned if they were a person.

    I have been through similar things with my first dog. She ended up blind and deaf and with doggie dementia. About a year and half before we had to put her down, she fell through railing to the basement. Landed on the stairs on her back, but got up and walked away like nothing had happened.

    The dog I have now slipped 2 disks in her back in December and had to be crated 24/7 for 6 weeks. Could only be out 3 times a day for 20 minutes each. She started having problems with her back legs. I spent a whole weekend in tears, before I was able to get her to the vet to find out what was going on.

    So yes, I know and can relate to what you are going through. Sniff, Sniff. It is hard to think about losing them.

  2. I hear you Jennifer!!!.... Hunny our, 16+ yrs old, is just slowing down and we are dreading the day.... but for now she gets along fine and runs around with Pete and The Peach just fine...but most chihuahuas average out at around 14/15 yrs...... You just can't help but follow them around sometimes and watch them, I know I find myself just staring sometimes at her when she sneezes or coughs, I know she thinks I am nuts, but I can't help it!!

  3. i miss vacya very badly now. :-\ no one's sleeping right next to me since he went home. damn...maybe i should find a guy just to stuff my bed? :p

  4. Sweet Alix. They make their homes in our hearts, don't they?

  5. Jennifer,please give this sweet looking kitty a gentle hug from me. She looks JUST like our cat TINKER that we rescused one cold winter, little did we know that the next day she would birth to a litter of kittens and she would be the best cat EVER.

    We had her for almost 13 years! All of our cats were strays,they were all the greatest cats ever!

    My thoughts are with you right now,it is hard to see your loved pet grow old. We went through it with 6 cats and 1 dog.