Yes, it’s 2:15am. Yes, I’m up. My sleep schedule has been so unpredictable for the last week that my body seems to be okay with it. More than that, even my brain is awake. So, you may ask, why am I awake at this time? Toto. Toto is our dachshund mix dog that we adopted soon after we bought our home more than 8 years ago. He was approximately 5 years old at that time, so that makes him about 13 now. He’s old, particular, patient and wonderful… and he isn’t doing well tonight. For a year we have lovingly referred to him as “Grandpa” or “Old Man”, but his health has been very good.
When we let the dogs in Wednesday evening, they were obviously aware of Alex’s absence. They were unusually calm and extra snuggly. We had no doubt that they were aware of the change in our home. As of yesterday evening, Toto has us worried. He is weak and restless. He keeps going to Alex’s spot on the floor and just sitting, then he comes to either Drew or I and wants to be petted. He’s typically the old man that is more content laying by himself, but now he wants to be very close. His body is weak. He fell off of the couch once last night. He is falling over when standing, as it appears that his legs will just not hold him up. His eyes seem droopy and he is having these strange body tremors.
We pulled out the big fluffy pink blanket that was Emma’s and has been his favorite since she passed. He seemed to appreciate that, but was remained very restless. When he kept going to Alex’s normal spot in the floor, I decided to spread the blanket out as if she was laying on it. He very often laid at her feet or even nudged under the blanket under her feet. They didn’t need to be touching, they just like to be close to each other. Here’s a recent photo of Toto curled under then end of the fuzzy pink blanket with Alex.
Spreading out this blanket in Alex’s spot didn’t seem to comfort him either. Finally, I decided to go back to Alex’s room and let the dogs check it out. Toto sat on the floor beside her bed and just drooped. I couldn’t get him to move for a while and then finally he followed me back into the living room.
Is it possible that our sweet dog’s heart is breaking? Any of you that know us know how much we love our dogs. They are a very important part of our family and their behavior now, specifically Toto’s behavior, is worrisome.
So, why am I awake at 2:15 in the morning? Toto is restless. He got me up by scratching the bedroom door at 1:20am. I let them all outside and then back in, but only 5 minutes later he was scratching to get out again. Drew and I are feeling the ache of what we fear is happening. He is old and we know that dogs don’t live forever. Goodness, wouldn’t it be lovely if they did? Perhaps Toto will grieve and then find his way back to some sort of normalcy, but there is also a chance that he is old and that his body will not last much longer.
By the way, it’s okay if you think I’m a bit crazy for attributing these human feelings of grief to a dog. I am a bit crazy and that’s no secret, but I don’t think this is proof of that. Our dogs are adjusting to the changes in our home just as we are. They’ve lost their best buddy and I can respect how they need to adjust to that. The truth is that comforting them is comforting to us. My honest feeling is that Toto doesn’t have much longer to live, but we know all too well that something like that is impossible to predict.
Drew and I have honestly and sincerely felt the love and comfort from God through your prayers and kindness over the last few days (and for much longer than that, really). I know that many of you are still lifting us up in prayer, so if you are so inclined to include our beloved Toto then we would be grateful.