Maybe I've just been spending too much time at Atria and other facilities, and maybe I see dementia everywhere I look, but I swear that, at 12 (84 in human years), Sheila is developing dementia. Because of the barking problem, we have blocked off the dog door to the back yard more than we have in the past, keeping the dogs inside until we're ready to let them out through the sliding glass door. But when we do open the dog door and let the dogs out, and Sheila comes back in, she can't remember that the dog door is open. She doesn't even try to go into my office to see if she can get out. She just stands at the sliding glass door and scratches at it.
Her mealtime has changed too. Forever, I have fed Polly in the kitchen, Lizzie by the water cooler, and Sheila in the family room. In fact, Sheila has eaten in the family room for all 10 of the years we've had her. When I begin dishing up dinner for the dogs, mixing in the spoonful of cottage cheese that they get, she sits, as she always has, near her eating spot and waits patiently for me. I feed Lizzie first, then Polly and then Sheila.
When I feed Sheila, she watches me intently, as if she's not quite sure what to do. If I leave the family room, she follows me. She has reached a point where she won't eat unless I'm actually sitting my chair watching her. Then she scarfs it down like she always did. But if I get up, she'll stop eating again.
These guys are so funny. They say dogs thrive on routine, and these guys are thriving so much that it is they who have gotten US into a routine. When they are out of water, Lizzie keeps poking me over and over again until I get up to see what's wrong--and it's always an empty water bowl.
(Sheila just licks her water bowl until I can't stand the noise any longer and get up to refill it. Sheila, for whatever reason, would rather suck on mud than drink out of a full bowl that the other dogs use!)
All three dogs are very patient with my sleeping past what they think is their meal time, but the minute I touch the handle to lower the footrest on the recliner, Polly lets out a bark in the direction of the living room (where Lizzie usually is) and another bark in the direction of the back yard (where Sheila usually is) and both of them come running in.
I'm thinking of renaming Lizzie "Prewash" because whenever Walt or I load the dishwasher, she is there to lick remains of food she can reach off of the plates. I have to admit Walt thinks this is cuter than I do (I often only half open the dishwasher while I'm gathering plates so she can't lick them. I know they are sterilized while being washed, but I still don't always like it)
As for Polly, she and I are in a nesting war. Polly must nest. She can't not nest. I have put towels on my recliner so that she can dig in them and make a nest out of them instead of digging in the upholstery. When I think of it, I try to leave a quilt on the chair so she can nest in that, but if I don't leave the quilt, she digs in the towels and lumps them up to make her nest.
But she watches me like a hawk. She doesn't sleep in my lap so much any more, but as soon as I sit down (after smoothing out the towels again), she jumps off and goes to her little dog bed, from where she can watch my every move. If I get up to answer the phone, get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom, when I return 2 minutes later, she has built her towel nest again and we go through it all over again.
Some day I should count how many times I have to smooth out her lumpy nest so I can sit in my recliner!
Think she looks threatening?
Spent all afternoon waiting for a friend who sent a message last night that she would be in town today, apologized for contacting me at the last minute but said she really wanted to see me and would I be home? I answered her message and never heard from her again, and as it is now 6 p.m. and she just posted pictures from a bar where she is with friends, I think it unlikely I will see her. I'm not surprised, but I'm a tad pissed off about it!
Maybe she has transient dementia.