Dog dementia is for the birds

Don't let the face fool you: he's anything but innocent

If you know me, you know I love my dog. Caring for Chester has been a practice in parenting for me and Sarah (we share custody). Yep that’s right, the person who used to scoff at people who would include their dog’s names on the family Christmas cards is now comparing having a dog to parenting.

Through the Eyes of a Dog – an article I wrote for The Daily Awe – sums Chester up in a nut-shell. But the Chester we know and love is changing. At almost 9-years of age, he is now considered to be a “senior” and is aging rapidly. He’s had white “eyebrows” for quite some time now, but only recently the effects of his aging have shown themselves in other ways beyond a whitened brow.

Chester has dementia. A disease I thought was reserved for humans can, in fact, affect our canine companions. Dog dementia isn’t nearly as funny as it sounds. Chester’s sleeping patterns have been disrupted: he no longer sleeps through the night and lately he doesn’t like to sleep in bed with either of his Mammies. For a dog who ordinarily doesn’t leave our sides, this is so out of character. Formerly house trained, he’s now taken to using the living room as his personal toilet. This isn’t something “normal” Chester would do — it’s something that old Chester just gets confused about. Patience has always been a requirement when caring for this impish dog. Now patience has taken on a whole ‘nother meaning.

Chester with his best friend, Sandy

Whereas I like to sit and talk about how I feel about things, Sarah likes being able to take action and “fix” them. So now she’s got Chester taking a daily dose of supplements — including melatonin to help him sleep.  It sounds ridiculous, but having a dog who doesn’t sleep and who now stares at the walls instead of licking your face like he used makes you sad enough to want to try anything, including giving your dog ginko biloba to improve his memory.

We know the life expectancy of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 10.7 years, which would mean Chester has 1.7 years left of life. Although the thought that he won’t be with us makes my chest feel extraordinarily heavy, I know what we need to do: enjoy him while he’s here. Keep on enjoying the entertainment & laughter he brings. One thing having a dog has shown me is that huge amounts of love can come in small packages. Small, sassy, furry packages.

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Impromptu gluttony on a Sunday afternoon

Enraptured crowd listening to a Toronto Mexican band

In order to stave off Sunday night blues, I gave my bestie a call and invited her to join me on a walk. I’d intended to just stroll around our neighborhood and bitch about how filled with rage and sadness work makes me. Because nothing beats the Sunday night blues more than complaining about Monday morning misery, right?

In the park across the street from her home, we happened upon the Inti Raymi Festival – an Andean folk music and dance festival celebrating the Summer Solstice. There was (bad) music, (embarrassing) dancing and (fried & delicious) food at the festival.

The options for fried food had this glutton overwhelmed with the choices in front of her. Rather than choose one and later regret my decision for what I’d ordered and wish for this, that and the other thing, I decided to go for the whole enchilada. Except I didn’t have an enchilada. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this (but not enough to not go public with it), but I ate an empanada (yum!) and a steak sandwich served by someone who was quite possibly the nicest festival worker I’ve ever met, washed down with a chocolate syrup-filled churro and Diet Pepsi.

You can take the girl out of Central Pennsylvania, but you can’t take  Central Pennsylvania out of the girl, apparently. Because despite having lived in a few multi-cultural cities in my adulthood, I never had a sweet clue what a churro was until today. To say I was missing out is an understatement. If you don’t know what one is, all you really need to know is that a churro is fried dough. Having been born and bred in Central PA means I’m very familiar with fried dough of many varieties, but none quite as good as the churro.

After having sufficiently gorged ourselves on bad foods, Sarah and I slowly made our way back to our respective apartments. Sunday night blues were pushed aside only temporarily, but I have a feeling the evidence of that churro is going to be hanging out on my ever-expanding love handles for a very long time.

Fried goodness filled with chocolate goodness

It’s me, Chancy

I googled "Chancy" and found a bunch of pictures of dogs. This isn't me. Or my dog.

There are a few things you should know about me:

I love writing.

I love pictures.

I spend copious amounts of time reading other people’s blogs and wishing mine was as funny.

I blog over at The Daily Awe – it’s about spirituality & intuition & all that good stuff. It’s one side of life that brings me much to ponder and has introduced me to some pretty incredible human beings. But it doesn’t represent me completely. This blog probably won’t either, but it’ll give me a chance to write about things other than spirit guides & all that jazz.

I’ll write. I’ll share pictures. I’ll share links to blogs I love. And I’ll have one reader (Hi, Mom!).

My best friend calls me Chancy. I’ll explain why another day.