Marianne Morris | Artist

Living Life in Full Colour

When you think it’s over but it’s not over…


Drawing of a sleeping dog

My sleeping dog. A pencil drawing.

On thanksgiving weekend, my 90lb dog could suddenly not stand up. She’s old. 14 is a good, long life for a large dog. She had seemed quite healthy apart from a problem with one back leg that didn’t always do what she wanted it to. We’ve had to cut the length of the walks down a bit in the past year, but her enthusiasm has not waned at all. But given her age, when we had to carry her down the stairs to get her into the car, I was pretty sure this was it.

The vet wasn’t so sure. Apparently, older dogs sometimes get this thing called “Vestibular Disease”. It’s this thing with the inner ear that makes them really, really dizzy. It was difficult to diagnose because she refused to even try to get up, and resisted all efforts at assistance. But without really expensive testing that would be even more stressful for her, we couldn’t tell if it was that or something more severe. We decided to give her some time and see if she would recover. Apparently, many dogs will be up and around within a week or two.

For the last two weeks we have been assisting her outside, feeding her by hand, holding her water dish so she can have a drink, doing constant laundry to make sure her bedding is clean and dry. My husband is even sleeping in the living room because we know that she will attempt the stairs if we both go up.  That could be disastrous.

Gradually, she has improved. And yesterday, for the first time since it started, she actually went for a very short walk. She attempted to eat standing up today, but promptly fell over, so that will likely be another week or so. Improvement has been gradual, but every little thing she can do on her own is a positive sign. Such a relief to know that this is not the end. I know it will happen eventually, but she’s good company and I want her around as long as possible.


  1. I’m sorry to hear that she hasn’t been doing well. Pia is the same age and is having issues as well, though mostly with her arthritic hips. She also has an enormous lump growing just below her rib cage and the vet says that she has lumps all over her. It doesn’t seem to bother her, but we all know that her end isn’t all that far off. Her 90 pound body has shrunk to half its size. Like your pup, she has had a good life with her human family. That’s all we can give.

    • We give Cleo glucosamine and salmon oil for the arthritis (recommended by the vet). It seems to help. Her one leg is a bit wonky, but it doesn’t seem to stop her. Apart from this dizzy thing, she’s been remarkably healthy. But old age gets us all at some point, doesn’t it?

  2. Lynda McAninch Warder

    October 23, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Oh boy. We did this a year ago. Our Beagle went over the rainbow bridge last Dec. it tore me apart to lose him after 14.5 yrs. they sure tug at thr heart strings. I wish you happy days, Lynda

    • Yes, they do become part of the family. She joined us when my son was starting school and he’s now an adult. It’s going to be really, really tough for him. The rest of us too. But at least we can put it off for a little while.

  3. Gorgeous drawings! You really captured the structure of the dog’s frame and the way the skin and fur are draped over the body.

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