Sam - My four-legged best friend
In a previous hub, I said Sam is my 14-year-old whippet mix. But really, she’s more than that to me. She’s my best friend, who has listened to me whenever I have needed to vent. She’s been like a cheap psychiatrist numerous times, responding through nonverbal reactions to what I have to say. My co-pilot, who was with me in my first car accident and saw me graduate both high school and college. The best roommate ever, ignoring the lights and noises at all hours. A friend only asking for love and some attention, nothing more, nothing less.
Because of the randomness of life, I’ve come to think things tend to happen for a reason. One such thing is Sam’s place in my life. She came into my life, during a really difficult time, because I was dealing with a very challenging illness that I acquired just before she joined the family. I’m healthy and well now, but it was a long process, which she saw me through. Because of side effects from the illness, I now have a cognitive disability. Which, has primarily affected my memory, even more preciously, my short-term memory.
It was probably last year that the vet said Sam had cataract. Since that diagnosis, aside from her graying face and her green, glossy eyes that resemble marbles, Sam seemed like the same dog. And so, her aging wasn’t a surprise. Except, she used to run quickly, almost like a whip, but now, she doesn’t. I remember pointing to deer and before the deer were aware of it, she’d be in amongst them. I never sent her after the deer, so they’d be in danger, she’d just chase them into the woods. But now, from time to time, she seems lost. I chalked it up to being unable to see. But, from a recent visit to the vet, Sam appears to have dementia. Just typing that blows my mind. I never heard of a dog having dementia??? Really, dementia??? It just seems so abnormal. A childhood dog had a stroke. But I was very young when that happened and so that dog hadn’t held such a place in my heart as Sam. I’ve also heard of dogs having cancer, but dementia?
And now, I’m in shock, even astounded because it seems like such a coincidence because of my memory problem. But….my memory problem isn’t getting worse, it just is. I know nothing about dementia and I’m almost afraid to look for any information. The vet gave Sam something that has helped, but medicine can only do so much. So…what’s next? It’s difficult being a person and having problems remembering/forgetting things, but to be a dog and dealing with/living with dementia? I just wish there was a way to explain what was happening to her so she could understand. But I don’t know if she’s even aware of it? Or, if she had questions, I’d like to be able to answer them. Is that logical? I already talk to her, should I tell her about the vet’s diagnosis?
Now, she’s curled up, tightly on her bed. Asleep and oblivious to the light and noises I make. I know dogs have moods and emotions, but she seems to be handling it all so well. Her personality hasn’t changed. Besides the occasional times when she seems lost, she’s the same dog. She still loves her belly being rubbed and he tail still swings freely. Maybe dogs just accept life’s challenges and hardships better than people? I know it’s our intellect and more that makes people different from animals, but watching Sam through it all, is inspirational.