Navigating the Bittersweet: Life with Our Senior Dogs

May 10, 2023

Yesterday we had an in-home acupuncture session for my dog Bacci. I live in a pretty isolated area in Maine and am thrilled I found a veterinarian who will make house calls and can do acupuncture!

It’s been a rough few weeks for Bacci.

He turns 14 in August and has been having mobility issues.

The first neurological signs began showing when he was around 10 years old. There was some very mild knuckling over of his back toes. I only noticed it after recording him trotting over cavaletti poles and then rewatching the video in slow motion.

Over the last few years, it's gotten progressively worse. Recently he started having episodes with his back left leg totally collapsing under him.

It’s not time yet, but I’ve been having conversations with veterinarians and others regarding end-of-life decisions. I’ve never done an in-home euthanasia, but I’d like that to be an option for us when the time comes.

It seems odd and unsettling to have such “casual” conversations about death, and yet I know we can’t escape it forever.

Last week was an unusually bad week, but thank goodness Bacci isn’t in pain. It’s like a slow paralysis over time... first impacting the hind end and now early signs are showing in his front limbs.

Because he’s a large dog, over 70 lbs, and weak in both the front and hind legs, options like carrying him and/or using a wheelchair aren’t really possible for us. The conversation now is around quality of life.

I cried a good bit last week as I used a harness to help him when his back leg gave out from under him. I felt our final days were quickly approaching if he didn’t start improving soon. I went from occasionally having to help him stand up and walk to almost constant support for a couple days.

His mind and spirit (and appetite) are great! It’s just his body that is slowly giving out.

We’ve tried different medications and supplements over the years. We returned to weekly acupuncture sessions, and I’ve started giving him CBD oil again too. He’s also getting massages. I’m at that point where I’m doing everything I can to try to slow down the deterioration of his body while keeping him happy, pain free, and moving as much as possible.

This week I’m happy to report that Bacci is doing much better! I don’t know if it’s the acupuncture, the CBD oil, or perhaps a combination of everything that I’m doing, but we’ve definitely had more good days this past week! I know it’s not a permanent fix, but I’ll take any improvement that we can get!

As long as the good days outnumber the bad and he’s happy, pain free, and able to get around without a ton of extra assistance, we’ll just keep on trucking along.

Our string of good days could end today, or I might be sharing Bacci updates a year from now! No matter what happens, I cherish, embrace, and give gratitude for each and every moment that we share together!

If you have ever lived with a senior dog, I know you can totally relate.

No matter the age of your dog, I hope this is a gentle reminder to never take them for granted.

Appreciate every moment you have with them, because they won’t always be here with us!

I recently posted in my "Get Fit & Active with Your Dog" Facebook group and asked people to share photos of their senior dogs. I also asked them to share how they are keeping their seniors fit and active. I LOVE seeing the photos and hearing their stories!

If you’d like to join us and check it out, you can visit our group HERE. Feel free to post and share in the group! I'd love to hear from you!

Embrace today because you never know what tomorrow might bring!


-Erica, Bacci & Knoxx

P.S. I’ve had a number of people ask about the mobility harness that I use with Bacci. It’s called a Help’Em Up Harness. You can check it out here: This harness has made a world of difference for us!

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