Lately with Tuck.

by Beth Anne on April 11, 2014

tucker 300x300 Lately with Tuck.It started this winter, our girl looking stiff as she stood up after a nap on the floor.

We noticed she didn’t hop up on the couch or bed with ease anymore & so we started her on glucosamine pills every morning. Two pills that she took happily, thinking they were treats & oblivious to us watching her hips with care. The cold nights seemed to be the worst & we bought her a dog bed for the first time in 8 years & covered her with blankets. She was stiff at night but comfortable & chased a ball in the backyard on the pretty days.

Then four weeks ago, she didn’t greet me at the door & her back feet touched when she hobbled over when I called her name. I took her to the vet immediately – it was a Friday afternoon & I lifted her 55 lbs into the car & she yelped from pain. The vet looked her over, tested her legs & couldn’t find damage but confirmed what we’ve known for several months – arthritis. We left with big pills that combined an anti-inflammatory & pain med. For 2 weeks she was better & when the pills finished, per the vet, we waited to see if the pain would return. For 2 more weeks she seemed fine & we wondered if the diagnosis was wrong, if maybe she had sprained something before & now it was all better.

Yesterday she woke us at 5:30 am crying at the foot of the stairs. I poured a cup of coffee & sat with her & we waited for the meds to kick in. Last night, Doug carried her up the stairs for bed & the worry showed on both our faces. She spent the night whimpering.

This morning I took her down the 4 stairs to our front yard & when we headed back to the house, she screamed in pain up all 4 stairs. I sank to my knees beside her & cried & Harry stood at the door wondering what is wrong, is Tucker okay, why did she make that noise?

She has her medication & is finally resting quietly & I’m sitting here with her on a Friday morning because nobody should be left alone when they’re hurting, even a dog. She’s only 8 years old & that keeps going through my mind as I ruffle the red fur on her neck. She’s only 8 years old but when we got her, all we had was a marriage license & a hand-me-down plaid couch. She’s only 8 years old but that’s 8 years with her at the foot of our bed & 8 years of her little face peeking out of the windows when we pull into the driveway.

She’s only 8 years old & she’s not just a dog.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine in VA April 11, 2014 at 11:13 am

Amen sister friend. She’s NOT just a dog. We’re going through the same thing with our Tater now and it’s so hard to see her in pain. Lots of hugs.


Nicole April 11, 2014 at 11:13 am

My thoughts are with you & your family. All four of you.


Kat April 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

Oh my gosh I so feel you girl. Our boy isn’t far behind Tuck…he’s slow to get up, won’t put any weight on one of his legs for a few minutes once he is up and moving, his back legs have fallen out from under him a time or two just trying to get up the one step into our house, he doesn’t even try to jump on our bed anymore. He’s 8, just like Tuck too. I love how our pups can become such an integral part of our families, but it makes these times so much harder. I’m sorry she’s hurting…but she’s lucky to have such an awesome family that’ll do anything to take care of her. xo


Jenn April 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

This makes my heart so sad. Dogs are not just pets! I hope she finds some relief very very soon.


Cindy Germann April 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

Oh honey. She’s definitely not just a dog. Thinking about you guys as you figure this out. Tucker is lucky to be in a family that understands that she’s not just a dog.


R's Mom April 11, 2014 at 11:45 am

We’re going through the same thing with our lab right now…except she’s 12. She’s had some arthritis for years, but it seems to have recently gotten really bad, and her muzzle is so grey and her eyes so cloudy. We love our girl, but know that we are on borrowed time with her now. And that makes me so sad.


Beth Chupp April 11, 2014 at 11:48 am

On March 4th I lost my 7 year old Pitt mix very unexpectedly in the middle of the night. So unexpected that I’ve racked my brain since his passing to see if there is a new clue as to what went wrong. They aren’t just dogs, I agree. Part of my family died that day. My only solace is that Keegan & Duncan are playing together and have each to keep company till we get there.
Big hugs, this kind of stuff sucks!


Jess April 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

Love to you my friend . Here’s hoping you guys can feel better asap.


kristen April 11, 2014 at 11:55 am

I’m so sorry to read this. :( Sending hugs to all of you.


Jenny April 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I’m crying with you, love.


Laura April 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

No, she’s not just a dog. She’s part of you. Poor soul – I sure hope you are able to get something figured out for that precious girl. Hugs to you!!


Christian April 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Oh man, so sorry to hear. Our dogs are our first babies and will always be more than just a dog. Hope your decision, whatever it is, is an easy one.


molly April 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Crying. I know this story all too well. (((hugs))) Just be there with her. Through it all. It’s all you can do. And they DO know and appreciate it.


Meghan April 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I have no words. I just want to cry with you. Sending hugs your way. <3


Devon April 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Reading this made me cry. My childhood dog was a German shepherd/husky mix & she, too had problems with her hips. She was such an amazing dog. We finally had to have her put down when the prescription from the vet was no longer working & she could barely walk. I was just a teenager when we lost her but I still miss her every day.


Jill April 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm

She’s not just a dog and you are her world. Thank you for caring for her so much that you just made me cry into my McDonald’s hamburger. I don’t know what comes next for Tucker and your family but I’ll keep you in my thoughts.


Andrea April 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Big hugs to you and Tuck. They aren’t just dogs, they’re family. I’d be devastated if this was happening to my beagles. And one of mine is 7, just a bit younger, and all I had in my first apartment with no furniture. I hope she’s better soon


Jessica @ RunYourMuttOff April 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I’m so sorry. Letting go of my first dog was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I held her to the last moment and beyond. She was loved and she knew that. I knew when it was time, and letting go was actually my gift to her. Whether it’s tomorrow, or in years to come, you’ll know when it’s time and Tucker will thank you for every moment you’ve given him, even the last one.
It’s great that you can be home with him, they deserve extra love and care when they don’t feel well. :)


Nikki April 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm

My 8 year old dog is under my feet sleeping as I read this. I’m so sorry. They are so much more than our pets; they’re our friends and loved ones. I hope the meds help and she’s able to rest comfortably.


Amy K April 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Literally wiping away tears as I read this. It’s been 5 years since we lost our little man and just when I think it’s ok something like this post brings me to tears. Cherish her and stroke that red fur as much and as long as you can.


Heather April 11, 2014 at 2:06 pm

This seriously almost made me cry, BA. =( We have also had our dog for 8 years & he’s been through it all with us. He is & always will be our first baby. I agree, she’s definitely NOT just a dog. Hang in there, lady!


Madonna April 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm

This brought tears to my eyes. We are in a similar situation with my dog’s hip – it’s part of the lab / shepherd mix she has in her. Thankfully a 1/2 pill of glucosamine is helping her out significantly, but my mom keeps reminding me that she is going to be 13 this year. Everything else is fine, but this winter I could see the age in her. I’m hoping that the spring-like weather is going to help. Hoping Tuck gets the spring back in her step soon.


Kristine April 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Your story is so touching. We have a wonderful dog and I dread the day that he starts to age and the possibility that we may have to watch him grow older and be in pain. The memories of them as playful pups go through your mind and you wonder how the years pass so quickly. Your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it.


Maggie April 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm

So sorry to hear about Tuck. It is hard to watch our furry faithful friends get old. We have a lab, named Ernie, who has arthritis pretty badly. We give him the supplements like you. I just wanted to suggest Adaquin. It is a shot they can give tuck every 4-6 weeks. For my 120lb friend it is about $40 a shot…but they base the price off of weight. It has done a world of difference for our man. He is stiff but no more yelping or crying. We also are able to give him Tramadol (which is generic for Ultram) it really helps him and is a very cheap RX. I found it to be less expensive them the anti-inflammatory/pain killer they had him on to begin with. I hope things gets better as it gets warmer. You can always email if you have any questions:)


Anna April 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about poor Tucker.
Have you tried Dasequin? Our rescue highly recommends it to older dogs.
It’s helped several of our older labs with mobility, some even making it to 14-15 yrs.


Melora April 11, 2014 at 7:32 pm

This made me cry. I went through this with my last dog. Hip dysplasia. So sad. Hugs to you and your family. I consider my dog my first child (and usually the only one who listens). Definitely not “just a dog”


Mel April 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Oh, I have tears for you and your girl. 8 years is not nearly long enough.


Lauren April 11, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Beth Anne,
Take her to VSH in Cary. They are so good. Maybe they can’t do anything. The visit won’t be cheap. But I hear you. She’s not just a dog. She’s such a huge part of your life. I’ve been here. We saw Dr Trumpetori, they are specialists, some people may laugh at this suggestion (including you I don’t know), but I am crying for you because I know this feeling. They probably aren’t far from you and at least you’ll know the folks who see nothing but ortho problems will have told you how it is. I hope this helps….


Beth Anne April 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

Thank you, Lauren! I am absolutely not laughing & so appreciate your recommendation.


Erin April 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

OMG, I have LIVED this post. We experienced this with our boxer-lab, Millie. We thought it was arthritis, we tried meds, went off, and then more pain for her. It was so hard for all of us. She’s only seven and we just couldn’t believe this type of arthritis at her age. After many more long nights and lots of tests, Millie was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. I’m sharing this story mainly to tell you to trust your gut and stay strong. Hope Tucker gets to feeling better soon! Sounds like she’s got a great mom!


Brandy April 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm

:( oh Tuck. Oh Mama.


Maija April 12, 2014 at 6:17 am

I am so sorry for you and Tuck. We know when we bring our dogs home that it will be for a much shorter time than anyone wants but still we bring them home and love them like a member of the family because what they give us is so much more than being “just a dog”. I don’t like this part of watching my dog age and be in pain but you’re right – no one not even a dog deserves to be alone and in pain. Sending big huge hugs.


Megan B April 12, 2014 at 7:40 am

Our Bosco is right there too. We got him as a puppy at a shelter when we had been married 6 months – just babies ourselves. And though it has just been 9 years, he’s been with us as we moved into our first house. And our second house. He’s greeted countless other dogs that we’ve fostered and shown them how to behave. He welcomed our first son when we brought him home and would lick his face when we weren’t looking. He became that boy’s wrestling buddy and often, pillow. He then welcomed home our twins. He barks when we play tag, afraid someone will get hurt. And he’s very slow coming up the stairs now. I’ve patted his head nearly every day for over 9 years, and now I also give that face pills (with peanut butter). We’ve already lost his “sister” and it rocked me, hard. I don’t know if I can do this again.


Natasha April 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I am so sorry. I am keeping you and Tuck in my thoughts. She’s a beautiful girl and she always looks so sweet in your pictures.
I know it’s hard, but I tried to focus on all the good memories when my pup could no longer walk to his bed or food bowl. Focus on the fact that Tuck has experienced the best possible life with a family who loves and cares for her.
I feel your pain.


Jess Liv April 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm

This hurts my heart. Last week, my dog (who became my mom’s dog when I went to college) had his first seizure. Later that night, he had 4 more. I began frantically looking up flights home because I needed to see him & make sure he was okay. You’re right, no one deserves to be alone when they’re hurting, especially dogs who don’t understand the pain & can’t fathom getting through something so rough without the ones they love.

My mom’s dog is on the mend with medicine to prevent the seizures. I hope you guys find something that works for Tuck. There’s a great pet clinic in Greensboro if you need a recommendation — the vet has lots of experience with bigger animals & she might have some different treatment options for joint issues.

I’m sure Tuck appreciates you being there for her. You’re a great dog momma; it’s so important for us to be there for them when they hurt because they are always always ALWAYS there for us.


Brandi April 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Tuck is not just a dog. She is your first baby.

I hope you can find something to help the pain.


christina April 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I know many people don’t like to compare the love of a dog to the love of a cat, but our beloved cat, angie… my first cat as a single adult woman, OUR first pet together, MY first rescue from my first job as a vet tech, passed away this weekend in my lap, unexpectedly fast. We knew it would be soon, but not immediately following open day of Teeball.

Hang in there with Tuck, and consider alternative medicine. She will be okay for a long time. 8 is young and this is just a flair up I hope


Jessica April 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

This hurt my heart. I know exactly what you mean. There are no “just a dog”s out there. I hope Tuck is feeling better today. I’ll be thinking of her (and of your family).


Therese April 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

Ah! ((hugs)) for everyone.

We lost our cat, Apollo, last week and he was *just* 10.5 yrs. His illness was quite upexpected.

I really hope, the meds continue to work and/or a treatment plan can be established to help Tuck!

I wholeheartedly agree… she is not *just* a dog!


Sarah April 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I have always thought that Tucker looked like she could be my dog’s sister. They look so much alike. I’ll be sending positive thoughts Tucker’s way and I hope that you all are able to find something that helps her.


CK April 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I’m so sorry to hear this, our smaller dog went through similar issues a few years ago. I’m not sure what Glucosamine you are giving her but we give our dog Cosequin DS with MSM (cheaper on Amazon) and she LOVES it and it has helped SO much. She will remind me in the morning if I forgot to give it to her. Also, if you have a pet RX many of them can be filled at Target for next to nothing. I get her thyroid meds there much cheaper than at the vet. Just passing along the info…from one pet parent to another. Praying for you all. xx


Stacey April 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Our 8-year old lab/german shepherd mix, Pete, had some of the same issues as Tuck. He would get very stiff when laying down and would shake violently (almost like a seizure) and yelp when trying to get up. It was horrible to watch and we would bear hug him until he calmed down. A trip to the vet with x-rays confirmed he has spinal degeneration (as well as some onset arthritis).
It was incredibly hard to hear this information as it’s very progressive and can only be treated with anti-inflammatory and nerve blocking meds… and we now basically know his future. We could see the 2 bone spurs he has on his spine and of course as time goes on more will grow to help ‘support’ the spine as it weakens. These of course cause him great pain as it’s bone-on-bone and they can pinch nerves. The meds have been great for him and I hope since we caught it relatively early his life goes on for a few more years. We have a 1-year old shelter pup at home and she’s certain Pete hung the moon. She (and the rest of us) will be heart broken when his time comes.


Mary April 15, 2014 at 8:04 pm

We’re going through this with my parents’ pup, Molly. (She’s 12, and a Jack Russell/Rat terrier mix, so she’s pretty small.) A couple years ago she started getting slower to jump, slower to run. And last year she stopped doing either altogether. She’s been through a couple different medications and combinations, but late last year we seem to have found one that works. She still needs help up the stairs some days, and she sleeps on an orthopedic dog bed in my parents room instead of on their bed. But she’s doing much better than she was, and I so hope your Tuck does as well. I know how it absolutely breaks your heart to see them hurting. All four of you will be in my thoughts. Best of luck getting her the help she needs!


Michelle April 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

I’m so sorry. I just found out that my 7 year old black lab may have heart worm. They are so much more than dogs, she is my baby girl and always will be. Will be thinking of you!


Debbie April 15, 2014 at 10:13 pm

I happen to be a senior veterinary student and was wondering if you have considered putting Tuck on a food for joint health in addition to the pain meds and supplements. There are several brands like Hill’s, Royal Canin, Purina and Iams that have huge success rates for dogs with severe arthritis like Tuck. I’m talking about the prescription diets designed and tested for specific conditions, not over the counter. Maybe your vet can recommend something specific that they prefer? I’ve personally seen these diets make enough of a difference to get some dog patients with arthritis off pain meds entirely. Might be worth a try.


Carol April 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm

I am so sorry you & your family are going through this. And you’re right, our dogs aren’t just dogs; they’re our babies.

My sweet Sammie will be 15 in July; I’ve had her since she was a puppy. She’s a dachshund/poodle mix. Every day she doesn’t come out from the bedroom with me or greet me at the door right away, I start wondering “is today the day?” And I’m already dreading explaining it to my daughter when the time comes. She just turned 3 and she absolutely loves Sammie.


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