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My Elderly Doggie ... The Dilemma!


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:( My husband and I are so torn regarding vacationing! We have a Cairn who is now 16 years and 5 months old, who is so much the Prince of the Castle. He can't hear anymore, is losing bladder control, shows lots of signs of confusion and old-age achiness. We love him so much, BUT would love to take a real vacation. Let me say that this is the sweetest creature that the good Lord ever breathed life into!!!

There's no one that we trust enough to come in to stay with him. From the time he was a few months old, he would become so distraught if he was left in a kennel even overnight, that we couldn't bear to do it. (Our previous Cairn didn't like to be left, but would just get indignant, and let us know when we returned! This one fell apart .... ) SO ... for many years we had people come in to stay with him, or at least visit three times a day when we'd go away for a week or two. But for the last few years, we've only done driving vacations so he could go with us, and not be left alone.

We're retired for three years, in our sixties ... haven't flown in seven years because of this. Are we just completely wacked out, to give this much consideration to our doggie? I'm not really asking for advice but I AM wondering how many people out there in Cairn Land are just like us???? :confused: Most of my family simply shakes their head at us as we let the FF miles pile up, and drive everywhere! They think we should leave him with the Vet and GO!!! But if something happened to him when we were away, we could not forgive ourselves!

Have any of you found yourselves in this situation? Thanks for any comments ...

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We're like that. We have no one to leave little Wes with either. He's one of the family. And we are a VERY CLOSE family.

This past summer we ALL went to Florida by plane. Some airline personnel were obnoxious. And some of the passengers were rude. I was upset. The dog was upset. And when we got to our destination, Wes was so stressed, he nearly died. We rented a car and drove home.

We promised ourselves we would never again put him on a plane.

A few days ago my son was thinking about returning to Florida. And the dog seemed to have a relapse. Out of the blue he had almost the same symptoms that put him in a Florida hospital. The dog seemed to be psychic. Again we were afraid Wes wouldn't recover. But he's alright now.

Wes is not just a dog, but a member of the family.

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Sally, thank you so much for your reply. May I ask how old your sweet Wes is? Is that him in the picture? My Vet told us the average life expectancy for a Cairn is about 13-14 years. Our first one lived to be 15 years 3 months old! The funny thing, Trissie (our current one) was so sick with allergies and diarrhea the first year that we never thought he would see his first birthday!!! How long have the dogs that you've known/owned lived??? I'm hoping my sweet Trissie will break all records .... I just wish I could DRIVE to Hawaii and England!!! :D

I hope your little Wes is going to be just fine now. Actually, I'm about convinced that dogs are more psychic than most people. Our Trissie certainly seems to sense things!!! Give Wes a love for me ...

Editing to ask ... did Wes ride in the passenger compartment of the plane with you? Did you pay for a seat for him, or did you put him in a crate under the seat? I've often wondered how the airline handles situations where some passengers don't want pets riding along with them, but the airline allows it anyway.

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Bless you little boy. I lost my Missy last November 9th 2004 at the age of 17

She was my princess. I am just like you. I haven't vacationed as well since Missy was 6 years old. Missy was a puppy mill puppy and had so many illness and surgerys but she blessed me with 17 wonderful, unforgetable years. When we vacationed back then my folks would stay and watch her. Missy was puppy mill and had many health issues so I never left her more than a few hours.

As Missy aged at 13 she was diagnosed with diabetes so that was a routine that pretty much kept me home bound. I loved her dearly and would do it all over again in a heart beat for her. She was the best little girl and I miss her dearly.

I understand your feelings and everyone told me Im nuts. My hubby with bussiness traveled to Germany, Hawaii etc... I never went. I said I can see the world anytime but, I wont have Missy forever. I do travel now and we have a little boy Cairn terrier Kramer who is over a year old. Good luck, your not nuts LOL

I think us cairn owners are true good hearted animal lovers.

My pets aren't just dogs, there a family member. Give your baby a hug for me and I hope your prince of the castle breaks a record!!!

Rhonda,Kramer & Angel Missy "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog". "It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are" Missy Rainbow Bridge Memorial

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We were talking today about different trips we'd like to do.....my husband said "i guess we've just changed our life" meaning, we pick places to go where we can take the girls too. We'll take them in the motor home with us.

I have one laying next to me now and one on my shoulder.....how can you leave that behind??? Heck, they're going to Disneyland in June!!! lol

Terry, mom of Dori and Ellie Mae


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Wes was born Thanksgiving, 2002. He's only a little over 3 years and, yup that's his picture! To me, Wes is human- one of us.

Wes rode in the cabin with us, under the seat for $80 (one way). The little boy in front of us crawled under the seat to annoy him. The boy's mother kept yanking him back up during the 5 hour flight. That didn't include the 1/2 hour delay which included an invasion from a hazmat team. Someone had detected a suspicious odor which turned out to be a leaky perfume bottle.

The experience turned Wes into a watchdog. He has become very protective.

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Thank you, Missyforever17, for your reply. Your Memorial to your Missy is beautiful .... what a lovely dog! I hope Kramer will give you many, many years of joy as well.

mrskti, sounds like your two girls are going to have a great life with you! They are so beautiful ... A motor home is a great way to travel with pets, I'm sure. Have a wonderful trip to Disneyland!

Sally, I can imagine the scenario you were put through with Wes on the plane. Somehow you're made to feel the "bad guy" because someone doesn't control their child and keep them seat-belted as they should. How aggravating!

Thanks for all your replies, ladies! :)

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You are right to not leave your elderly darling in a kennel. He only has a few precious years with you, and you can fly to Timbuktu or whereever you want for vacation when he crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Perhaps a driving holiday would work for you now.

I was forced to leave my elderly Westie with a dear friend when I deployed to the Iraqi war in 2003. She went down hill and my friend had to be the one to ease her suffering and let her pass. I was crushed. I had to learn about her condition every day by e-mail (she's better today, she's worse today, we are trying to keep her comfortable....) and of course I got the news of her passing by e-mail just a few minutes before reporting for my 12 hour shift on the battlestaff. I had to hunker by my computer screen alot so nobody woud see me crying. It wasnt so much that she had passed, because she was very old and had a good life. It was that I was her Mommy and I wasnt there for her after all those years of faithful love.

I waited to get my Cairn babies until after I retired from the miltary. Now nobody can make me leave them.

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My parents will only take a driving vacation so they can take the dogs with them. Of course they have German Sheps- which are as portable as our pups! My mother never boarded her dogs- and if she couldn't take them with, I'd puppy-sit for her. Last year when Hubby and I boarded Mett & Bratt for 3 days at our Vet's office- we came back to under-weight freaked out Dogs- We decided then that we would never board them again, and if we can't take them with in the Car- We'll drive 6 hours to Chicago drop them off at my parents and fly out of Chicago on vacation.

So your not odd, not to us at least!


Tracy, Amos, Walter, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins

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Guest Darcy's Mom

Hi, this is just my 2 cents worth but here goes...You say your baby is 16.5 years old? We had two cairns prior to Darcy and they only lived into their 13th and 14 years. Our male had epilipsy and was on meds twice a day for life so we choose not to leave him because I didn't trust anyone to give them as they should. Anyway, long story short, my husband and I had not and have not had a vacation (I had to look up how to spell that word as it's not in my vocabulary) in I'd say 20 years because we choose to bring these incredible cairns into our lives and we felt it unfair to just leave them with the vet, kennel, etc. Would you leave your son or daughter at a vet while you went on vacaction? Okay maybe that's a stretch, but that was just how we handled it.

And also, those places you want to visit so badly now certainly will still be there in anohter few years, your precious baby maybe won't.

Now we have Darcy (cairn) and Molly (mixed JR/Scottie) so again we are stay at home parents. No illnesses this time around but just don't have the heart to board and no one we can leave them with and I'm just as happy staying at home taking my vacation as I would be traveling somewhere. And we don't have the funds to buy a motor home or camper so that's out. I envy those of you who do and are able to take your babies along with you.

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Well, we never have to worry about that because I was told before I married my DH over 6 years ago that he has no intention of getting on any flying or floating transportation. :) That being said, I'm afraid I'm one of those fuddy-duddies who can't stand the idea of leaving my babies behind.

Unless you can get someone to come in and sit (which you said you can't) I would take driving vacations for now and find pet-friendly places to go. And no that's not excessive. These Cairns are very precious friends.

Tara, Olie and Teddy's Mom

Max and Nelly

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Normally, my Mom comes and dog sits at my house. But there have been times when they've had to be boarded. I lived in New Mexico for a couple of years and with my family and friends being 800 miles away, it just wasn't feasible to drive everytime I wanted to go home, so that the Cairns could come with me.

Both Murph and Maddie were crate trained and were very secure dogs, so it wasn't too traumatic for them. The first time they didn't eat very well. I'm sure they were worried they'd been abandoned. But after that initial time, they did great, because they now knew I was coming back for them.

Last year we rented a Lake house for a family reunion thingy, so the dogs had to stay at a Pet Resort. They did fine, even Murph, who was 14+ at the time. It was a pretty cool place though, with lots of activities for the dogs.

Now pushing 16 though, I'm not so sure I would board Murph. I had him and the 2 Collies over at friend's for the day, not too long ago. That night, I loaded up the Collies into the car first. We were still standing around saying good byes and Murph was standing next to me. My friend's Mom wanted to pet him good bye and he would not give her the time of day. He was stuck to me like glue. Putting his paw on me to pick him up. Very unlike Murph. I think he was worried since I put the Collies in the car and not him, I was leaving him. He's just much more clingy now, with each passing month. So at this point, it would have to be an emergency situation before I left him with anybody else.



Music Dog Videos - featuring Murph the Cairn, Oz and Gully the Collies and Idgie the Jack

Nothin' Butt Dogs - Picture Contest - July 2006 Photo Contest... Theme: Naughty Dogs... Submit Picture by July 30th, 2006.

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