She's sixteen years old.
During the time that we've had her, her hearing has become pretty much, well, worse than mine, and her vision is shot. She can still catch air now and then, however, and she can still sniff a cat out in our backyard while in our kitchen...scaring me half to death with a rare barking streak in her panic to get outside and make chase.
I've always wondered if we'd be able to tell when her old age aches and pains were too much. In the near three years that we've had her, her hips have slowly gotten worse, but then she still runs and chases (herds) the kids around the yard. More and more often there have been days that I wondered out loud WHY she would get up so often to follow me about the house when it was so obviously a struggle to get up (and down) at all. These last few months she has admittedly driven me crazy wanting to go in, then out, then back in, then out, and in and out - as if she really wasn't sure where she wanted to be. I've been watching for signs of dementia.
Yesterday we could tell it was too much. Yesterday she could no longer get her back half off the floor by herself. Six-thirty in the morning (yesterday and today) had me pushing her across the kitchen to the carpet so that we had more traction to do the job together just to get her outside, and then she struggled to get up the two tiny steps back up onto our deck. She's had that struggle previously, but yesterday it was worse.
This afternoon Tippy's previous owners are coming to visit - and I'm curious if she'll attempt to catch air one last time. This morning I'll be calling the vet to see if we can bring her in this evening.
It was a good almost three years.