Old Dogs and Sleep

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Old Dogs and Sleep
        Slept terribly 2 nights ago. Woke after 4 hours to the almost 16-year-old dog peeing on the carpet in my bedroom. Huh? He knows better–correction–ONCE knew better. And he can hold it. This was of course more doggy Alzheimer’s kicking in. He’s already regularly pooping in the house now–after going outside and spending time out there. But before I realized all this in my exhausted state, I yelled bloody murder at him and chased him downstairs. He hid behind the chair, but would he even remember this? I gave him dog food only–no special beef or chicken or ham or cheese–for breakfast. I am mean when you stink up my house. Especially if you might make it a habit, like the pooping in the living room.
         The day went on, with both dogs, scared by my earlier outburst, eschewing breakfast and snuggling up to me on the couch as I wrote and set up a promo for a book in March. They ate later, when I grudgingly added some cheese to their basic fare. Then 16-yo dog barfed on the floor and pooped in the living room again. Dragging from lack of Zzzs, I tried to nap, but couldn’t sleep. The couch is a bit too light, too hard, too open for me to get to sleep on it in the daytime. But Peter was gone doing volunteer tax work all day, so I had to stay downstairs with OLD DOG. He can’t climb the stairs to hang with me if I nap up there, and I can’t carry him up with this facet joint issue in my back. So when he notices he’s alone downstairs, he now howls pitiably at the base of the stairs until I come down.
          Somebody’s yanking my chain pretty hard here.
          I called the vet and made an appointment for senile dog to get some doggy Aricept or some such. Going to get doggy diapers today. Not sure if Peter will be willing to help with doggy diapers, but I can’t allow my house to become a stinky hole. I’m now pondering the BIG question–at what point do we put them down, these companions we have nurtured and kept so carefully for so long? The ones we have walked and petted and talked to for years? Our self-appointed guardians? Is my inconvenience and lack of sleep (which can have a lot of domino effects for me) enough, or does a dog’s life get the same amount of respect as a human’s? My mother had no problem with this, and she took several animals to the shelter without batting an eyelash. Many people use extreme life support measures for their animals now. I am somewhere in the middle. I’m just not sure where.
            After Peter came home, I took a benadryl and did a whole line of Girl Scouts peanut butter patties (some might do a line of coke, but I do Girl Scout cookies), I got a big nap and then 10 hours of sleep. And today, the dogs are being complete angels.
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