Charlie Made It to 14

Charlie, my oldest living rescue OES, has his 14th birthday tomorrow— older by a couple of years than any of my 12 other sheepdogs have lived. He has a lot of physical problems though: progressive neurological damage from arthritis in his lower spine causing his rear legs not to work very well, 90% deafness, two small cysts that never heal and scab over constantly, a cloudy, scarred left eye left over from a painful and persistent corneal ulcer last winter that was only healed after the fifth debridement operation. The latter issue meant months in an elizabethan collar and constant eye meds. I almost gave up a number of times but finally, the hole in his eye closed and his remaining problems are thankfully, not very painful. But he was left weakened and he now is so wobbly in the rear end that he needs help on stairs and falls over a lot.

My goal was hopefully that he would make it to his 14th birthday and now it's here. I know we have very little time left together. We just take it day to day now.

Toby, my other male rescue sheepie, will be 12 soon. He is still a trouble maker, gets into the trash and steals food off the counter like he always has. But lately he kind of tries to help Charlie– barks in his face loud enough to wake him up when it's time to eat and lays next to him on the floor which he never did before. I don't know what he will do when Charlie is gone—they've been together for nearly 11 years. It's tough on all of us.
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Yea Charlie!!
Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. I am happy for you, celebrating another year, and not giving up on him :) glad you can both celebrate his 14th :) may your days be long and happy, Happy Birthday Charlie!
Happy Birthday, Charlie!
:bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake:
:bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake: :bdcake:

That's fourteen cakes, for those of you counting at home. 8)

Sounds like you are enjoying each and every day with Charlie.

:ghug: :ghug: :ghug: :ghug:

That's awesome, Richard!!!
Thanks everyone.

I have to say that living with a very geriatric sheepdog of this advanced age has given me an interesting insight into the dog mind. Charlie has never been demanding most of his life and like most sheepies I have known is pretty laid-back and sticks with me no matter what I am doing. But for the past year he insists that the whole family lives on Charlie's own preferred and predictable schedule and expects us to accommodate him— as if we need to recognize that he has earned the right to have things HIS way now.

For example, he expects meals and treats at exactly the same time each day: Breakfast when he gets up usually within a few minutes of 7:00 am, begrudging me only a minute to put on the coffee. Afternoon meal exactly at 3:30. If we are out and miss the appointed hour, he will let us know when we get back that we are falling down on the job. Then a dog biscuit at 4:30 pm and a scoop of cottage cheese at 5:00. Every day. If I forget, he will invariably get up and stare at me within 5 minutes of the expected time. If I ignore him he will begin barking in what is now a weak and pitiful voice, getting Toby involved too so I am forced to comply.

Then Charlie will lay down next to me, or sometimes Toby, until at precisely 10:00 pm he struggles to his feet, walks over to the back door and wants to be let out as Toby follows. When they are done, Charlie immediately heads over to the foot of the stairs turns his head toward me and stares.

Charlie has decided it's bedtime.

So I go upstairs with Toby to the bedroom while my wife lifts up Charlie's butt so he can march up the stairs on his front feet like attended royalty until he he has made his entrance at the bedroom door. Then he goes to the end of the bed, puts his front feet on it and looks back at me until I lift his back end up, whereupon he flops down on HIS spot at the end of the bed where he will remain for the night. Whether or not I go back downstairs for awhile or not, Charlie has decided his day is done. Toby, always the follower, lays down on the floor below Charlie. These days, Toby usually does what Charlie wants and when the two of them get together to insist on their idea of the regimented schedule, there is no avoiding it and no excuses permitted. It's like being in the Army where Charlie is the Master Sargent and the rest of us are the Privates.

I don't know if this is an old dog thing, or a uniquely Sheepdog thing or just Charlie being Charlie at this point in his life. But he is so serious and unabashedly insistent about keeping to his schedule while the rest of the family follows suit, it makes us laugh sometimes.
Charlie :aww:
Charlie's the boss!
Charlie sounds like he has trained you well :D no one lifts my butt in bed! I better get to training the kids better! Lol!
Our Fred was very much like that in his final year so I guess it is an OES "thing". I think it is really just us doing the same thing and the dogs get used to it so want to keep us to our routine!!
Sprocket won't settle if we are in different rooms, he will go back and forth between us for a stroke-when we are together he will lay down and look after us.xx

:wag: :tea: :sidestep:
Sweet Charlie! Age has its privileges.
I love how Charlie has made his needs known. I am fully aware of the staring and mine is still young.
:hearts: Charlie and Toby :hearts:

Definitely an OES thing. Oscar took to his routine from Day 1. Sadly for me, it involved him getting fed to take meds every morning at 5 am. He would lay his nose on my pillow and puff little breaths onto my face to wake me.

Or sometimes he would stare. And stare. And stare. 8O 8O 8O 8O LOOK AT ME, MAMA!!! :roll:

Oh yes, the stare.....xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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