When you blog about dog health issues on occasion, spend a good deal of time reading veterinarian blogs — and are a little paranoid to begin with — you are likely to be hyper-aware of canine illness potential. Frankie is a very well-scrutinized dog.
Sometimes, even in the midst of worrying, I know I’m being ridiculous. Take Only the Nose Knows: A Frankie Mystery Tale, a post detailing my obsession about a growth on Frankie’s prob0scis.
But of course the copious water drinking that I observed several years ago turned out to portend Frankie’s diabetes, just as I had feared.
And now I’m worried about something equally serious: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, which Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby discussed in detail here.
For the last couple of months, Frankie has been acting, well, weird.
He used to either hang out in the bedroom on his own or sit with me on the couch while I watched TV in the evening. Now he roams around the house, restlessly, or lies down in odd places.
Last night he spent a good deal of time under the kitchen table.
He doesn’t seem distressed — definitely not as distressed as I am when he sits in front of me and stares at me like he wants something. (Don’t think I haven’t asked him what; he refuses to disclose.) And as soon as I am ready to go to bed, he settles in with me, satisfied, and sleeps through the night.
Then there are the new morning food rituals. Frankie won’t just go to his bowl and eat, even if it’s a food he enjoys and will — eventually — scarf down. He wants me to feed him a little in advance, as though to ensure the bowl isn’t poisoned. And he keeps looking over his shoulder, like someone is going to take his food away. Or shoot him. Maybe he’s joined the doggie mob without my knowledge.
I mentioned a few of these oddities — although not my mob theory — to my vet when I took Frankie in for a checkup recently. He noted that Frankie is 12 and gently brought up the possibility of cognitive impairment, unaware that I had pretty much committed every detail of the syndrome to memory.
Several friends have pooh poohed my concerns, suggesting possibilities like different noises in the house, different routines, different… you name it.
As far as I know, nothing has changed, except Frankie.
Of course, I’m not getting any sharper myself. I often wander into rooms, forgetting what I went in for. I’ve been known to do this two or three times in sequence, going back to my desk, remembering what it is I got up for, getting up again, getting distracted, going back to my desk… Frankie seems perplexed by my behavior.
Frankie’s health — diabetes and symptoms of dementia aside — is very good. So is mine. I can just see us wandering the house together, meeting in different rooms, looking confused. But always glad to see each other.
Maybe that’s not so bad.