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A good cry and an update on Robbie

You need a good cry? Here’s your good cry for the day: “Bye, Sweetheart.” (Via the great Borepatch)

I know a lot of you have said your own goodbyes to dogs and cats. I still miss my heart-dog Jasmine after nine years. I can’t imagine how it tore Commentariat member Karen up to lose three in the first half of this year.

They break your heart. Every damn time. But life without them feels … heartless.


Robbie went to furrydoc today to see if she could find a physical cause for his nighttime panic attacks.

Short version: nope. Everything normal. He’s in great shape for an old guy. The only thing she discovered is that he has a urinary tract infection. (And who knows how long he’s had that? He never gave a sign.) So he’s on antibiotics.

That’s good news. Looks like no goodbyes to Robbie for a while. Still, I almost wish she’d found something … something that could be treated. Or at least understood.

She recommended melatonin and fish oil to improve his sleep, but I sure wish there was a way to get into that little bully head of his and find out what’s going on in there that has him so suddenly scared in the dark.

Robbie-Bobbie, what are you thinking? What are you feeling, my old baby boy?


That picture is three years old. He’s so much more gray now. Sigh.


It was an interesting trip down memory lane to visit the archives of the old blog (2003 to 2007) looking for Jasmine’s obituary. Once again I have reason to thank Bill St. Clair for being the archive maven.

And odd how the seventeenth century keeps popping up, lately. In the archives, just a few days from Jasmine’s story, I found lessons for gulchers from that century.

I had partner bloggers back in those days. Not everything in those archives is mine. Ian’s post on tactical hand signals was pretty good, too. 🙂 So glad that first link still works.

Now I’ll go and pet the pooches and mourn the lost ones, including so many, so loved that I never knew but who warmed — and broke — somebody else’s heart. And even more, the ones who could have lived and loved but never got the chance.


  1. LarryA
    LarryA July 31, 2014 12:17 am

    Maybe the antibiotics will do something.

    Don’t know how it affects dogs, but I had a “mild” urinary tract infection once. I never want a medium one. It felt like I had been run over by a train.

  2. naturegirl
    naturegirl July 31, 2014 3:37 am

    Well, that’s good Robbie news even if it is still confusing. I ended up in an ER once because of a UTI so Robbie is a tough little dog!

  3. Karen
    Karen July 31, 2014 4:32 am

    Please don’t be offended when I call Robbie an elderly gent, but UTIs in elderly humans often does cause confusion and some mild dementia until they clear up.

    “In fact, elders often don’t exhibit any of the common symptoms – or don’t express them to their caregivers.

    UTIs in the elderly are often mistaken as the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, according to NIH, because symptoms include:

    •Confusion, or delirium-like state
    •Other behavioral changes

  4. Pat
    Pat July 31, 2014 5:04 am

    Not knowing is the hardest test of patience imaginable. If age-related, it may get worse. I hope not.

    Re: infections, it is possible, as Karen’s article states, to have these symptoms, and his desire to urinate, but inability to, can also be causing him distress. Though it does seem he would have those symptoms during the day as well.

  5. Clark
    Clark July 31, 2014 6:01 am

    Possibly his vision is failing. Maybe only his night vision.

    Whatever the reason, I sympathize for both you and Robbie. I’ve watched too many of my dog friends die and it is heartbreaking. I have a 11 year old Golden Retriever and when I look at his loving, but oh so white face, a chill runs down my spine. I know I’m going to lose him soon and I don’t know how I will be able to make it. He’s my best bud ever.

  6. Claire
    Claire July 31, 2014 6:38 am

    Karen — Oh heavens, not offended at all. Robbie is an elderly gent. And that information you found is both intriguing and hopeful. For the record, Robbie was not showing any of the usual signs of UTI, and definitely not an inability to urinate. He didn’t seem to have painful urination, either. (Who can tell? But then, he peed with great abandon and seeming satisfaction on everything from flowers and trees to Ava’s head.)

    But the combo of furrydoc discovering a UTI and your article mentioning those weird symptoms — which describe just what he appears to be experiencing — well, that gives me hope.

    He had a terrible night last night, up, down, pacing, shaking, seeming to be in an altered (and not pleasant) state of consciousness. I’d be so thrilled if it turned out that a mere course of antibiotics could cure what I feared was dementia or a brain tumor!

  7. Claire
    Claire July 31, 2014 6:45 am

    naturegirl and LarryA — I hear ya. I also had one, just once, when I was 10, and would never want another. OMG.

    Odd and rather creepy thing: my mother got repeated bladder infections that didn’t have the normal symptoms, and it was immediately after being “cured” of one of those that she slipped into a long physical and and eventually mental decline. Doctors and the person with mom’s medical power of attorney dismissed it as Alzheimers and refused to consider anything else, but I always believed it was a chemical/nutritional problem related to those weird infections.

  8. Claire
    Claire July 31, 2014 6:49 am

    Clark — Oh, yeah. Those white-faced Golden Retrievers have got to be the worst. They’re so beautiful when young, then show their age so quickly and so strongly, and their death is right in front of you for years. You’ll make it because humans do. But I can imagine how hard it’ll be.

  9. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 31, 2014 9:03 am

    Don’t know how it would work in a dog, but I’ve cured many a UTI with celery seed tea. Helps patients with frequent small kidney stones too. Crush a full teaspoon of fresh celery seed and steep it overnight in a quart of water. Give it 1/4 cup at a time over 24 hours, repeat. The dog would probably drink it if it were put into some meat broth. Can’t hurt to try.

    Antibiotics may help, but they may cause more problems than they solve. Dogs need strong microbe action in their guts, just as humans do. Those microbes will need to be replaced, and I’m not really sure if yogurt or kefir would help as they do in humans. Might ask furrydoc about that.

  10. Claire
    Claire July 31, 2014 9:40 am

    Thanks, ML. I’m laughing trying to picture Robbie consuming celery seed tea … but yes, he might do it if I put it in meat broth. That’s a remedy I’d never heard of.

    Fortunately, yogurt does help dogs in the same way it helps humans and Robbie likes it. So I’ll continue with the antibiotics, but am also giving him plain Greek yogurt and will continue that for a while after the course of antibiotics is done.

  11. naturegirl
    naturegirl July 31, 2014 1:17 pm

    I was sent home from said ER visit with stern instructions to drink cranberry juice on a regular basis to avoid it in the future. In fact they handed me a cup of it right there and wouldn’t let me leave until I finished it. I hate it but I still (decades later) at least guzzle down a glass or 2 a week cuz I just never want to go thru that ever again LOL. Don’t know if that applies to a dog, but the humans may appreciate the info 🙂

  12. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 31, 2014 1:47 pm

    Nature girl, if you hate cranberry juice, use the celery seed tea instead. It can be mixed with anything, even put in soups and stews. It is far more effective than cranberry juice in my experience. Cranberry is good also, don’t get me wrong. I use that as well, but have had excellent results with the celery alone. Worth a try.

  13. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 31, 2014 1:51 pm

    Good to know the yogurt is effective for dogs too. Claire. No reason why it wouldn’t be, that I can think of, but I didn’t know for sure. Laddie gets some kefir most every day, and he’s just glowing. The great thing with kefir is that it is so much easier to make than yogurt, and you grow your own starter, so all you pay for is the milk – assuming you don’t produce that too. I like the taste better now that I don’t let it “work” as long. Twenty four hours is plenty, though longer doesn’t hurt anything. Just makes it a bit more “tangy” than I care for.

  14. naturegirl
    naturegirl July 31, 2014 8:43 pm

    Mama Liberty, I grew up in Chicago where I think there’s some secret law that says you can’t cook anything without tomato-in-whatever-form and/or celery-in-whatever-form. They even put celery salt on their hotdogs LOL. I wouldn’t hesitate to try celery seed tea, thanks for the tip I will definitely be trying it! Yay, no more cranberries heh…..

  15. Hanza
    Hanza August 1, 2014 1:53 am

    My PCP has also told me to drink cranberry juice on a regular basis to help keep away potential problems. Fortunately I like it.

  16. Karen
    Karen August 3, 2014 5:29 pm

    Has Robbie improved any on the antibiotics?

  17. Claire
    Claire August 3, 2014 8:25 pm

    Thank you for asking, Karen. I haven’t posted an update because I’m still trying to figure that out.

    He’s been on the antibiotics for four days now. The first two nights were among the worst — total freakout. Even the few things that seemed to have been helping a little didn’t help.

    I put him on 5mg of melatonin two evenings ago and he’s had his two best nights since the freakouts began. Each night he’s awakened once, asked for a little comfort, then settled down again.

    Seems odd that the melatonin would take effect so quickly, since that often requires some time to build up in your system. The antibiotics are definitely helping in other ways (e.g. he’s drinking less water and seems to be calmer and have more energy). I’m leaning toward thinking you put your finger right on the problem with that link about UTIs mimicking dementia, though having added the melatonin to the mix, I can’t be sure.

    All I know is Robbie’s doing way, way better and I’m so relieved! We’ll see how the next few nights go …

  18. Karen
    Karen August 4, 2014 1:32 am

    I’m glad to hear he’s doing better! I know what a relief it is for you, not just from the worry, but to get a good night’s sleep too.

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