Sunday, February 6

Floppy Paws

I thought I would spend some time on Craig's (our) dog Marty. Most everyone that knows us, knows him. I have never been an avid dog-lover; I think they are cute, lovable, and loyal but if not trained properly they can be irritating. I know what some of you are thinking: that dog does what he wants and only listens when we wants! Now I will be the first one to defend Marty's disposition-he is not untrainable, but he came to Craig in an altered state. Marty is like a used car or for better comparison, a rental car. You know when you get in a rental, the first thing you yell is "drive it like you stole it"! Who takes care of a rented car? You only use it for a short time and then it goes on to the next renter, who treats it the same way you did.

Marty only had 1 previous owner before he was given up to the humane society but I assure you that the owner either did not know if was going to lease or buy, or what it was like to take care of a new dog. So around 6 months, Marty ended up in a shelter with the nickname, Maniac Martin.

Craig being the soft-hearted guy he is now as he was in college had recently lost his childhood dog. Instead of going out and finding a new puppy, he went to his local college town human society with his roommate. Marty is a pit bull-lab mix, so imagine a 9 month old puppy with the intensity of pit bull and the hyperactivity disorder of a lab! Then put him in a bachelor pad college house with 4 other guys. I think Marty managed to turn out relatively untarnished, all things considered.

He obviously use to be more fun...going for walks/runs, playing catch, doing tricks (he does a couple yet, but ONLY when he feels like it). He has always been a sweet, kind soul; recognizing when we are sick and just need to snuggle and rest on the couch. He is still our watch dog, maybe becoming more paranoid in his age, as he barks at EVERY.SINGLE.UNUSUAL.NOISE.HE.HEARS. But at least we know he can still be intimidating, if a situation ever requires him to be.

Marty's activity level now consists of making it up and down the stairs to go to bed or out of bed. Then he only uses the bathroom twice a day and while he's up doing that, he eats. So it's safe to say that Marty is better at bed rest than I am! I have a new respect for Marty, now that we have spent every minute of the last month together. I find myself scolding Craig for yelling at him when Marty barks, because I know that he either needs to go out or probably has no food. We are now connected at the hip and he often will not go out unless I get up with him.

Martin is almost 12 years old (May). I will be the first to admit that I did not think he would make it this long, mostly because he lived such a balls-to-the-wall life in the first 4-5 years. But he is healthy as a horse, as the cliche goes. His only issue, the one thing that slows him down are those darn paws. Marty has some pretty debilitating arthritis. I think it started 2.5 years ago. My sister was living with us and my brother was spending some nights here while working in Janesville. Marty loved it when Derek would come home and play catch with him for a half hour every night. Then I took him for a walk and we didn't make it very far before Marty wanted to sit. We use to go out for almost an hour; it had only been 10 minutes. We turned around and headed home and noticed the back of his front paws were bleeding, not knowing he was already starting to walk funny or on the wrong part of his feet.

We took him to the vet for a check up. There were x-rays and it was determined that the ligaments in his front "ankles" had stretched beyond their means. There wasn't a cure but we could give him rimadyl for the impending arthritis and Marty would just do whatever he could without being too uncomfortable.

Now his back paws are following suit. He has become the "grumpy old man". I watch him sleep all day in our bed. Marty barks at me when he needs to go out, and then I have to go downstairs first and get a chair and wait for him in the kitchen; because he is not going to go any further than he has to and wait for me. His spunk is still there when he is chewing on/playing with a bone. He use to chase after the cats if they were playing with each other, but now only barks at them or pretends to bite at them (they have learned that he is not scary anymore). Lots of people ask us how much longer we think Marty will stick around; its hard to say. Some think he'll wait to see the babies. I say the babies will annoy him; Craig thinks he will be fine around them.

So because Marty's time with us is undoubtedly limited and our life is going to only get busier, I thought I would give Marty the props he deserves now, when I have the time, while I still appreciate him and can remember all the good times he gave us.

although it seems he is camera shy, the only time I can get a picture of him standing is when he's eating...I wanted to showcase his sad, floppy paws.

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