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Old Age

The average life expectancy of a Labrador Retriever is 12 yrs.  At least that was the number I came up with a few years ago when we were trying to decide on further surgery for Koko.  The average life expectancy for dogs over all breeds (purebred or not) is 13 yrs.  So our Koko has made it over the life expectancy for her breed and is now at the life expectancy for all dogs.  Given that the bigger the dog, the shorter the life expectancy, I guess we can consider Koko to have had a good long life.

But last week when we noticed that the lump on her side was back, it was hard to not do something about it.  So once again Koko has gone off to the vet for a check-up.   And once again it looks like she has cancer.  We will get a needle aspiration done tomorrow and have it sent off to the lab for confirmation.  And this time what will we do? She has actually gained weight this fall, and we are thinking "diet".  She still loves to go for walks.  She still loves to be part of our family. But.....

In the past year Koko's hearing has diminished, so she is often startled.  She has pacing times, around and around the house without seeming to have a goal.  Sometimes as she is going up the stairs her back end just gives out on her.  Sometimes she poops in the house.  She has had that session for the past few summers with allergies (loss of hair, loss of weight, vomiting and so forth).  She has a muzzle infection that comes and goes (not sure why but we put hot compresses on it for a few days, and it does seem to drain away).  

Senility, arthritis, and old age.  We just keep hoping she will fall asleep some day and not wake up.  But even though we hope that, I know it will not be any easier saying goodbye to her.

So next week I have booked family portraits for our canine family.......

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