At 13 years of age, Fields came to us from his owner. After 10 years with his family, and starting to show signs of getting older, he no longer fit in.
He came with a long-standing eye problem that left him blind in one eye, and issues starting to present themselves in the other eye. He would consistently sleep facing the wall with his back to the room (which is very unusual for a dog) but possibly to protect his face and eyes from being hit or bumped in to. ODH made the earliest appointment for him to see the Veterinary Ophthalmologist, and for now he will keep his blind eye as long as twice daily prescription eye drops can prevent it from becoming painful. The “good eye” will be monitored for any deterioration or further loss of sight. Recently he has started sleeping on his dog bed the more “normal” way, i.e. curled so his back is to the wall, and his head to the room.
Untrained and stubborn was how his previous owners described him – maybe not so much that way earlier in his life, but definitely that way now – and getting more so with age (after all he is an old man). As soon as he figured out the routine in his ODH home, he started to enjoy his 3 walks per day. At first he resisted going up or down the carpeted stairs inside the house, but now he runs up and down with ease. When it is sunny, he loves to dig holes in the back yard wood-chipped area, and then lay in them and fall asleep – he does love to sleep most of the day.
Xrays showed extensive “ballistic injury” and fragments throughout his upper abdomen, under the skin, and imbedded in his rear legs and tail – obviously Fields was shot in the back-side in a previous life. So now his tail stays mostly down, is sensitive for him to wag or to be touched, but he still runs the doggie crazies around the yard – then retires to a dog bed and falls asleep.
Update: ALL Old Dog Haven dogs are very special, but when it comes time to say goodbye, some just hurt the heart terribly more than usual. FIELDS was like that for me, and I can’t stop crying.
The day we said goodbye started like any other: 6 am breakfast. 8 am walk in the woods. Then sleeping for hours in the sun. But this day we had an appointment to check a tooth with one of his 2 favorite vets (the other being the Ophthalmologist), so at 2 pm we went for a car ride – oh how we loved our car rides !!! We arrived about 30 minutes early, so we took a stroll around the block to check out the neighborhood – so many good sniffs to be had.
In the exam room while waiting to be seen, FIELDS became distressed. We knew he had a heart murmur that had remained stable for many years, and which was regularly monitored (he had been checked just 3 weeks prior), but this day at this time it suddenly became more than that – he was showing signs of heart failure. Listening to his heart and a quick x-ray confirmed the situation, and very unexpectedly it now became time to say goodbye.
What I loved about FIELDS: He had the softest ears – like velvet. He loved being on the trails in the woods more than anywhere else in the world. In the yard, he was a consummate digger of holes under bushes for sleeping. He reveled in having his rear end scratched or his ears rubbed, and would paw at visitors if they didn’t pay attention to him. Though totally blind in one eye and with limited vision in the other, the only thing he was fearful of was shiny floors.
I thank Old Dog Haven for letting FIELDS live out his final year with me, and all of those whose generous donations made it possible for him, and so many others, to be so cherished in their final days.