Okay, all you closet animal psychologists – I require your expertise. Something is up with my pug, Bubba. I noticed a slight change in his behavior couple of months back. Always a terrific walker, he had started lagging, sometimes stopping altogether and refusing to budge. What I at first assumed to be the effects of old age (he’s ten now), I eventually chalked up to hard-headedness as it soon became apparent that he only proved obstinate on the way back home. Leaving the house was no problem at all. Heck, the behavior he displayed at the start of each walk was downright puppy-like, barking, bounding about, scampering down the sidewalk with such purpose you’d think he was running some errand only he was privy to.
Eventually, it became part of his routine – the excited exit inevitably followed by the reluctant return – and I didn’t give it much thought. But, lately, he’s been exhibiting other odd behavior patterns. Sometimes, he’ll take a seat in a corner by himself as if giving himself a time-out. Or other times, he’ll gaze up out at some unseen object and, seemingly deep in thought, zone out and refuse to acknowledge anyone around him – no matter how many times you call his name. Whereas, in the past, the mere sound of the refrigerator door opening would bring him charging into the kitchen in frenzied expectation of a treat, nowadays the treats have to be hand delivered to his perch atop the couch in the living room.
He’s also proven incredibly needy of late, demonstrating separation anxiety for the first time in recent memory, howling mournfully when Akemi goes out for a walk with the other dogs or if I leave him in the car with Akemi while I pop out to get something.
Akemi is, of course, very concerned. In the few short years she’s been in Canada, she and Bubba have developed the type of close relationship I can only aspire to…
I had him checked out at the vet and his blood tests showed no issues. And, as is always the case when you visit a doctor, whatever symptoms brought you there in the first place magically disappear the second you step through the door. Bubba was jumping around excitedly, tail wagging – a far cry from the quiet, introspect pug that had us concerned only days earlier.
The vet suggested it could be one of several possibilities: a liver issue, a brain tumor, old age, or plain old stubborness. For now, I’m going with a mix of the last two but will be keeping my eye on him…
What do you think? What’s up the old boy?
Today’s entry is dedicated to Stargate fan Thomas Smethurst who passed way earlier today following a courageous battle with cancer. Condolences to his friends and family.