Bruno's Blog

Strong Mind –Failing Body

German Shepherd Ears

The week following Bruno’s fall was a difficult one for me. Bruno had recovered but had not fully rebounded physically. This was a hard reality check for me and I had several mini breakdowns throughout the course of the week.

Bruno was getting around under his own power but his back end had weakened and it was becoming more difficult for him to control. It was obvious that he would no longer be able to maneuver through the dog door so he was reliant on me to take him outside for bathroom breaks. I allowed extra time in the mornings before leaving for work to accommodate our newest routine. We both accepted this and he seemed to understand that on work mornings we were on a schedule and he promptly took care of his business with no lollygagging.

German Shepherd Ears

Our afternoons and evenings we continued to spend time outside but our routine walks were a thing of the past. Even the short distances to the garbage or to the mailbox were too much for my big guy to handle without effort which resulted in exhaustion and his rear right leg dragging.

As much as I tried to restrict his physical surroundings and limitations I could not control the desire and want of his mind. If I went to the fetch the mail or toss the garbage I would briefly be out of sight from our front yard. As I headed back I would find him headed towards me disobeying his “stay” command. He still mentally wanted to make the trek and I know that he still considered himself my protector and did not like me being out of his view.

On another occasion, he sprang into action after a squirrel that had been antagonizing him and bravely creeping closer and closer into our space. I saw what was transpiring and could read his thoughts and body language. I told him to “leave it” but he had finally had enough and in a flash rose up from his down position and took off after the squirrel. His initial quickness took me by surprise and as he attempted to chase after the squirrel, his once strong fluid gate had turned into a clumsy, awkward bunny hop. The squirrel scampered up a tree and Bruno collapsed with satisfaction.

Bruno’s body was deteriorating and failing him but his mind was sharp with mental clarity and the desire of younger, healthier days. This is a hard thing to watch happen to anyone you love. I was struggling with this emotionally and I know this was tough on Bruno mentally.

The new big picture was this: Stay positive, be realistic, keep Bruno as comfortable as I can, and deal with whatever was next to come.

*Originally posted January 16, 2011*

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