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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog

It's Happening Again

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Now then. I have some feelings to get out so here we are again. I've had it for 2-3 days so I've already gone over it with myself several times but it does bring up a bigger issue that I can't do anything about and have already covered in previous entries probably several times by now so we'll see how we go. I have some calming background music so let's see if that helps me at all. My hope is it will somehow keep me calm and concise. Big ask for me.
So. To rehash some things you already know to refresh memories and hopefully put this all into some order.

We have a dog.
Her name is Yuki.
She is about 12 years old now.
She is currently alive.

We had a dog.
His name was Bernie.
He was put down when I was about 4 years old.
I am now 32 years old.
We had never had another dog until Yuki. We got her when she was 2-3 years old (she turned 3 the month after)

The reason we never got another dog after Bernie was mostly due to timing.
In the beginning it was easier. My parents worked closer to home and I didn't exist. So they could go to work and someone came home at lunch time to take him out then put him back inside and go back to work and usually my dad came home earlier because he started an earlier working day.
He was an indoor dog. He was also their first pet together. Separately their families had had cats and dogs and such before be he was their first pet once they were married and moved in together. Then came the two cats JR and Archie and lastly me about 10 years later.
So Bernie was an old dog by the time I could remember him.

In 10 years a lot changed. Before their work schedules could fit around the dog but changing/moving the location of jobs and having to make me their priority (with school and child care) it wasn't so easy to incorporate a dog so when he died they knew it would be unfair to get a new dog. Also they would've grieved for him. Even my dad, surely, must have grieved for their first joint pet. He'd have to be a psycopath if he didn't at least feel something, or just not human.
I have wondered if Bernie was my first encounter with death. Mum thinks not. It was JR who died first. He liked to sleep under cars. We think that did him in in the end (run over/squished). I thought he was killed instantly but mum tells me my dad had to take him to the vet to be put down (since he got home first. The putting down of pets sort of became his thing). I can't remember that at all. I barely remember JR except that he was a black and white cat. No idea of his patterning though. I have to look at a picture for that. I've been told lots of stories about him though so I remember those.
Then Bernie was put down. Mum tells me that both of my grandmothers also died in the same year about a week apart from each other too. My maternal grandmother died first but the funeral for my paternal grandmother was first because that's how it worked out. Can't remember any of that either. I can't even remember them. I can only remember two things. An old lady feeling my face and i didn't like it. Think that was maternal but it's hard to be sure. Both ended up blind/practically blind. And visiting maternal grandmother in hospital and sitting on the end of the bed and being told to be careful. Grandmother didn't mind but mum showed concern. Not sure if I sat on/too close or if she just wanted me to be aware to be careful.
So. Given that I was about 4 at this time I have very limited memories of these very important figures in my life.

I only have one clear memory regarding Bernie. You've read this before but there's a big reason I'm bringing it up again and giving it it's own paragraph. (The dialogue is entirely paraphrased. I only remember the overall feelings of it and say bye to Bernie)

I remember Bernie having to be put down.
It was the day it was to be done. I had been prepared for this. Bernie is going to the vet. He's going to be put to sleep. He won't be coming back. He'll be dead.
Okay. I understand.
Dad's going now. This is the last time you'll see Bernie. Say bye bye to Bernie.
Okay Bye bye Bernie.
(No matter how you prepare how can a 4 year old truly understand?) Bernie isn't coming back. I'll never see him again.
Okay. I forget what's going on and get back to what ever was occupying me.
Oh. Dad's home.
You brought Bernie home?
I don't get it (does this mean Bernie isn't going to die maybe?)
No. He is going to die. We have to go back later. The vet couldn't do it now (I think it was because he didn't have the right drugs at the time come back later)
Okay. We get some more time with Bernie. That's good (was it really though? Just dragging out the inevitable. I can't remember if I/we appreciated that time or just took it for granted. Were you a happy boy? I can't remember you. Please tell me you were okay with it all....okay so adding all that in has got me all emotional. maybe I should edit less. back to the story)

This time Bernie really is going away forever. I don't remember if I said goodbye then or if I might have been elsewhere. Maybe having a nap or something. I can only vaguely remember the first goodbye and confusion when he came home. I know he was a good boy. I'm sure of that.

Now. Sure. Bernie was old. But why did he have to be put down?
He was peeing in the house.
I've often been told there was more to it than that. But I was 4. That's how I remember it. And that is basically it.

They'd take him out. Bring him back in and maybe 10 minutes later he'd peed.
The way my mum tells it, from what she remembers of my dad telling her that the vet told him, it that sometimes when dogs get old they stop giving a damn. It's only going to get worse.
I'm guessing my dad paraphrased. Because it would be a case that the dog has become incontinent through age.

Talking it over with mum the other day she can't remember ever having caught Bernie peeing in the house. So she doesn't know the exact circumstances.
I wonder if it was technically peeing at all. I mean was he aware of it or did it just leak out without his knowledge?
Maybe they could've worked around it if they'd tried. But don't forget they had a 4 year old daughter so there would have been hygiene concerns too.

Why have I brought all this up now?

We're going to the vet in a few days (needed to wait for an appointment because of the ****ing virus. Otherwise we could have just gone to open surgery and had this all discussed by now (It's basically a drop in. You turn up within the time, wait your turn and see the vet. Try not to waste her time too much though because there are others waiting and if you're the last then she'd like to close up)).

Yuki is 12. She is spayed. She has rotten teeth.

And now she leaks.


It's happening again.

I think she's been leaking for a while and we didn't notice. We have carpets. Numerous dog beds. And she has missing teeth so she drools a lot. If you see a damp patch it's most likely a pool of spit. Well. It was. There's been a shift. Now it's pee. Definitely pee.

She had dark staining around her back end. I looked it up. Oh ****. Dark urine. To the vet immediately....well the end of the week because of the ****ing virus.
Realizing it's urine we started cleaning her (she doesn't like when you mess with her back end and she'd usually good at cleaning herself but she's losing her teeth and she's old so she can't groom as well. We need to step up) So we wipe her after every pee. She puts up with it.
We collected a urine sample for the vet. It was light. So maybe not an infection/kidney failure. But the appointment was made so we had to go.
Vet not worried. Checks sample. A little high in protein but nothing alarming. She agrees that what worried us was staining and wiping her was wise. Okay.
So we'll just wash you and groom you a bit extra. (that's not actually very easy though but we can at least wipe her after every pee)

Being a husky she has thick fur. So has a particularly fluffy back end. That's good in one way because hopefully it soaks the pee before it gets to her skin and irritates it too much but it also means there's more to wipe as there's more fur to trap pee.

Things seemed okay.
But now it's stepped up.

She'll be laying down and she's leaking. It's not a lot but it is there. I've decided she needs to go out more often to pee. 3-4 hours would be good I think. Only problem it that we can't do that. I have one hell of a messed up sleep schedule as it is. I'm basically going to bed in the afternoon at the moment. Not good. I've slipped into a bad routine.
Now on one hand that was good. Today, so that she didn't have to wait hours after mum had taken her out before work, until I got up to take her out. I decided I might as well wait up deliberately and take her out about midday. Let her pee and then go to bed. That's fine. If I weren't so damn tired that I got up a little too late. Dragged myself out of bed before 6 though, got her out and had breakfast. Then fed my plants (the tomatoes are ripening. Yay) and then went to bed for another sleep until our next normal walk time around 10. That would be fine. If I'd got up at 10.

Another thing to note. My mum is now on medication. Beta blockers and blood thinners. A side effect of this can be tiredness. She's been falling asleep a lot quicker when she comes home and for a lot longer. She ends up going to bed around 4-5am which is dumb because she's up at 6-7 on work days so she's sleeping more in her chair again which is not healthy but let's not get into all that.
So me being the lazy ***** I am I rely on her to wake me up when it's time to walk the dog. Do you see the problem?
Once I am woken up, which is by her coming into my room, turning on the light (which I can choose to sleep though. I sleep through midday sun afterall) then going to the toilet. Now generally when you get up the first thing you do is go to the toilet. Even if you don't need to it's a habit ingrained in most people. So what is the point of me getting up if she's using the toilet? The answer appears to be none. And I'm still tired anyway. She barely ever checks on me after the first time (I'm an adult so she shouldn't need to but it was a big problem when I was younger and is one of the several reasons we were always late for school. It never seemed to occur to her that I might stay in bed and when she did notice it didn't take her long to forget).
I don't know when she woke me up today pretty sure it was after 10. Probably 11ish but don't quote me on that. I didn't look at my watch. But I do know that it was gone 1am before I actually got up. If I do that again I'm setting an alarm this time. I didn't bother before because I usually go back to sleep after the alarm but better I try than not.
You see where this 3-4 hour idea breaks down?

There is another concern. Yuki is an old dog with joint issues. She doesn't actually want to go out 6-8 times a day, even if we could make it work timing wise, and we have front steps that she has to go up and down each time. only 2 but she has tripped a few times. To be fair that might also be due to the confusion caused by my plants. Those should be gone after harvesting though.

So now that we know that she is at least partly incontinent we need to go back to the vet and see what can be done.
Even if there is nothing big to deal with like tumors of kidney problems we still can't let it continue. Well. actually we can. We love her. So we can put up with cleaning up puddles of pee if we have to. But if she starts suffering then it's not right. So it's best we see the vet and discuss possible treatment options.
A quick internet search tells me that spayed dogs become incontinent in their old age from a lack of estrogen and that medications exist that can help with this. I don't know if that's a thing in our country or not. We'll have to see. Perhaps some sort of surgery could be possible but that would probably be a specialist and would it be fair to put her through that at her age? These are all things I want a trusted professional's opinion on.

A lot has changed in 28 years. I'm not 4 anymore. Now I have a say in things and vetinary medicine must have advanced in 28 years. How could it not?

Oh. And that "bigger issue" I mentioned at the start was the idea of death. She's not a young dog anymore and every day living is a day closer to death. For everything. I've already covered all that before. I'd decided to try and stop it. Thinking about it won't stop it and it won't do that much to prepare me for it when it comes. But then something happens to remind me. Oh yeah. Don't forget the dog's getting old. She's going to die. Everything you love it getting old and will die. You will die and one day there will be nothing. So what's the point of it all then.
You see why I'm trying not to dwell on the idea but how impossible it is to ever ignore.

Why add the bold font in editing? Mainly as a visual representation of what's been stuck in my brain for 28 years that's set me off now I guess. And to highlight the crucial information for the story in case you want to skim perhaps.


  1. Danik 2016's Avatar
    So sorry about Yuki! I hope you will be able to consult the vet soon and discover what is the matter. It doesn´t seem to be a renal problem. Aged humans often leak too.

    Maybe there is a dog version of these plastic panties babies use around their wrappers. She wouldn´t like them at first, but if she gets used to them you won´t have to take her out so often.
  2. Bluebiird's Avatar
    I'm feeling better since writing. Helps to get it out.
    Yuki seems to have stopped leaking now. Pretty much as soon as we decided to make an appointment. Typical.
    It's common in old females and it can be off and on to start with.
    We've seen the vet and she's not worried. We took a very fresh urine sample even though it was clear last time it didn't hurt to take one now. It makes it easier to answer most questions the vet may have.
    She's not concerned about it now. We have briefly discussed medications but we won't have them yet as it's only the early stages now. But now the vet is aware of potential future problems and we know that medications are available to us (it's not just theoretical stuff I found online, it's a widely available treatment available to the common people so nothing crazy or unreasonable)
    So far letting the dog out to pee more so she has an empty bladder and wiping her after (because urine can cause skin irritation if it sits in the fur close to/on the skin. But huskies are pretty bushy so I don't think it's disturbing her skin now) are the right things to be doing and are what the vet would have recommended if we weren't already doing it. We also have some more puppy pads now though she keeps scratching it up oh well. (I got puppy pads a few years ago when she had an infection and might pee in the kitchen while mum was at work and I was asleep. Hadn't been used since. I've just recently started using them round the mat for her water bowl because she spills half her water every time she drinks and I worry it'll rot the floorboards. Funny that just as I'd found a use for them we suddenly need them for their original use)
    Thankfully things have progressed in 28 years. Such a relief.
  3. Danik 2016's Avatar
    I am glad about the news on Yuki. Bluebiird. And specially that it is not a renal problem or the vet would be more worried. The thing of keeping the region clean is that urin is acid and may cause the dog much discomfort. As for the water bowl maybe you can get a rubber mat sometime or even use old newspapers.

    Best wishes for Yuki and you!