Kara and Charles Stigen
"In memory of our senior golden Nitschke"
Easter Sunday is usually filled with church services, egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and family dinners. This Easter Sunday a group of wonderful transport volunteers gave up some of their day to bring this handsome gent to our home. Buddy thanks all of you for helping him on his journey to our home. Buddy was surrendered to RAGOM due to unfortunate circumstances within his family. His owner needed to go into a nursing home. You can tell he was loved.
There is so much to say about this sweetheart. I don't know where to start other then at the beginning. It took us less then a minute to fall in love with him. He's so gentle, trusting, sweet, loads of love to give and loves receiving love. Buddy is house trained. He goes to the door to let you know he needs to be let outside. He won't bark, but waits patiently for someone to see he wants out. Since he's such a quiet guy at the door we take him out every time he wakes up and watch for him heading towards the door at other times. He follows you from room to room unless he's sleeping hard. Will lift his head to see if your there and with either a reassuring 'Hello Buddy' or a petting he'll lay his head down again. This guy just loves to be petted and know you're near. It is mentioned that he has some storm anxieties .. he'll pant and pace. I did see he was given some meds for this, but that was 4 years ago. I'm hoping because he has some loss of hearing this may not be an issue any more. Spring storms are around the corner so we'll know if this is still an issue.
He came to our home scared, confused and frail. He met our older Golden girl Tyler with a wagging tail. When we saw the tail wag after the many phone calls from my hubby on the way home with him .. well it brought tears to our eyes. We saw spunk and the zest for life. His walking was a concern for us and the foster he spent his first night with after being sprung from boarding. He walks leaning towards the right with his head tilted down somewhat, high steps and staggers some. We have ramps so it was something he needed. He takes the ramp like a champ off the deck, but the lower deck he prefers stepping off vs the little ramp that's set up there. That's okay .. he saying to us 'I can do this'. He ventured to the bedrooms, but liked being in the dining room/living room area the best so we all camped out in the living room with him the first night. One has to wonder what goes through the mind of a 13 year old guy when moved to new surroundings. I've spent many hours just looking into his eyes wondering, but then he reaches out so slightly with his arm for some loving and then I know .. he's just asking for reassurance that someone will be near him and love him. He doesn't need to worry about those things anymore .. we are near him and love him up constantly.
He's getting perkier. Eats like a teenage boy :) Since he eats so fast we started with one tennis ball in his bowl and have graduated to 2 balls. He sure loves his food. Took me till mid day to figure out that he likes a bone after going out to potty and poo. Thought he was just heading to the kitchen all the time thinking it was time to eat. Dumb Foster Mom ... Now I know .. a treat after duties are done. I still haven't figured out if this was something he had always gotten or if he was training me. Probably both :) Knows where all the water bowls are in the house and drinks out of each one throughout the day. Even found the one in the bedroom too. Will that entice him to sleep in our bedroom tonight???? Nope. This time Foster Dad spent the night on the couch and I went to bed because our Golden wanted to sleep in the bedroom and she won't do that unless Mom is there.
Wow ... Buddy came to wake Foster Mom up this morning. Yippie!!!! He ventured into the bedroom and was looking for me. He probably would of succeeded in waking me if his Foster Sister didn't talk to him. Our Golden is a talker and Buddy doesn't understand 'Tyler girl talk' yet. He thought he was being told to 'get out of my room', but she was telling me to get up because Buddy was up. Today he roamed the whole yard on his own with 'nose to the ground', ate some good tasting grass and even lifted his leg to potty. While this sounds so normal for dogs .. for Buddy each step is a new step for him after coming into a place he's never known before. We cheer and tear up with each new step he takes with us.
Since Buddy doesn't know if the bedroom is a safe place I ate lunch in there today. Where there is food .. Buddy will follow. He was patient watching me eat and got a 'good boy bone' afterwards. Today was his trip to the vet. For a guy that is wobbly when walking he stood up the whole way to the vet, at the vet and again all the way home. Buddy loves car rides. He moved from window to window taking in all the 'sniff's of the world' passing by him.
His vet visit went well. Buddy wanted to greet all the dogs in the waiting room and has no problems going to the vet. Weighed in at 69.5 lbs. What we learned is there's something going on neurologically which makes him walk the way he does. His spine is tender to light pressure. There is also lateral distention of the joint capsules in both hind hocks. Buddy walks very light footed. We believe he can't really feel or know where the ground is below him so he walks carefully. This does not stop Buddy from moving around at all. Buddy also has an open sore on each jowl from chewing on metal. This must of happened while in boarding. We don't kennel him nor should he be kenneled. I did notice one sore had started to heal when he arrived, but must of broke open while eating. Vet feels they will heal up on their own with time. His ears look good. That's great news - no ear infections!! Buddy also has Lenticular Sclerosis most predominantly in his left eye which is why he walks to the right. This just makes it harder for him to see, but this too doesn't stop Buddy from exploring. Other then what I mentioned he has the normal bumps and lumps Golden's get when they age. As for his blood workup ... all was good except for one thing. He has mild anemia which the vet feels with good nutrition he should be ok. Right now he's being fed Nutro Natural Large Breed Senior. He could stand to gain 5 more pounds so we will be working on that too, but no more then 5 lbs. because of his back and legs problems. Buddy is very healthy. It's his bones that are weary.
Buddy is a beautiful dog inside and out. He has the most beautiful red hair I've ever seen and it's so soft. Gentle .. I've never seen a dog so open to receiving love and giving it in return. One just want's to pick him up and cuddle him he's just so sweet. Since picking him up isn't an option we spend many moments down on the floor with him. Today he got a whiff of the neighbors dogs while on the deck. He pranced/danced/ran down the ramp to the fence with his head held high and his feet hitting the ramp as soft and smooth as Fred Astaire dancing ... WOW!!! You'd never know he staggered when he walked. You'll also see this dance when your carrying food too :)
Tonight I went into the bedroom to find Foster Dad on the floor sleeping with Buddy. Now Buddy is sleeping next to his Foster sister. He's come a long way in just 3 days. We're so proud of him.
Buddy is laying outside on the grass. He joined Foster Dad in the screen tent. We thought that would be the perfect place for him so the sun didn't hurt his eyes. Every day he improves and shows us something new he likes to do.
Buddy has very few needs, but very important needs.
**He needs a person home with him. Someone who works at home would be perfect. Buddy should never be kenneled as he doesn't like being confined. We tried a baby gate since the information that came with him stated he respected baby gates. He gets very agitated, scared and will scratch and push at the gate. At his age .. free roam is a 'must have'. I've not tried leaving him yet, but will do so soon to see how he handles short separations.
**Because of his eye sight his home should stay somewhat consistent with where the chairs/couches are placed.
**House with very minimal steps.
**Someone who is devoted to giving him a whole lot of love and understanding he's an older gentleman.