Caring for a dog with CDS is different every day.
I started Molly on Selegiline 5 mg on the 10th. I was told it could take a month for changes to become apparent. I thought the meds weren’t helping until she happened to spit out her pill one day and I didn’t notice right away. That night she was in full-blown Sundowner’s, awake, pacing and agitated. I now make a point of watching to ensure she actually takes the pill.
What I had hoped the Selegiline would do that it hasn’t is help with her periods of disorientation. The other morning it was raining when we got up and went outside and Molly didn’t know what to do. She kept walking from the porch to the carport looking for a place where it wasn’t raining. Eventually we went back inside, but she remained restless so back outside we went, where the scene repeated itself. The third time we went out I picked her up and plopped her in the yard. I know it sounds cruel, but she peed and then seemed less upset.
Walks are always an adventure. Sometimes she barks at every person she sees; other times she hardly notices them. Sometimes other dogs don’t phase her; other times they scare her and she will turn around to avoid them even though they’re in a fenced yard. Like any other dog, Molly likes to stop and take in the smells. The difference is she sometimes will sniff for a very long time, which makes me think she forgets what she’s doing.
Molly wasn’t afraid of the cats when she first came to live here, but now she avoids them and hides either in my bedroom or bathroom if she’s not in her room. She has never been fond of Biddy and/or Leroy joining us when we walk, but lately she acts terrified of them. I try to make it so they don’t tag along.
It’s hardest for me to deal with her zoning out. We can be walking at a nice clip and she’ll suddenly stop and look around like she has no clue what she’s doing. Sometimes I can reorient her with a familiar word or a whistle. It may do the trick or simply get her moving for a few steps and then we’re back to her zoned out. I understand what is happening but in all honesty it frustrates the hell out of me. A few times she was so lost that I picked her up and carried her home. I prefer not to do that because I hope the familiarity of walking the same route several times a day will help her, even though I know it really doesn’t.
You can see in the first photo I waited far too long to groom her. It was avoidance on my part, I know. Her last grooming appointment was terrifying for her, so I kept putting off scheduling another. Finally I bought some trimmers and did it myself. Not a professional job, but at least she doesn’t look like a runaway tumbleweed.
I am constantly questioning myself as to Molly’s quality of life. Today Molly is eating, toileting, and sleeping OK. Most of her walks, while stressful, are manageable. But the fear I see in her face hurts my heart. I tell myself that as long as she sees me as a refuge, that’s enough. But I wonder if it truly is. And what about the day when she no longer recognizes me? What will I do then?
I am in a Facebook group of people with dogs who have CDS. I read how far some of the dogs have progressed and I don’t think I could go that far with Molly, but others might say the same of what I’m doing now. Truthfully, if I wasn’t working from home I don’t think I could manage her in her current state.
All I know is I’m taking it one day at a time, and today is not the day.