Doggie Dementia

I had another reality check recently. Last week, I was having a lot of trouble again with sleeping, because Marty was digging at his bed in the middle of the night and pacing a lot. I got him a new bed lifted off the ground and tried a number of different arrangements, but nothing worked. I was really kind of exhausted by it all.

Finally, I dunno how this came to me, but I took the foam cushion out of his existing bed and put it in the cavernous space under our bed. Yeah, both Remy and Martin used to love sleeping under the bed and then they abruptly stopped a year or two ago. Not sure why. So I took the cushion, added a heated pad on top of the cushion, and then covered with an old blanket. OMFG, that worked!! Now, every night, Martin crawls under the bed. I also added some towels draped over the opening, so he has more privacy (actually, I was wanting to retain the heat) in his little den. He still wakes up in the middle of the night to go outside and pee, but for the most part, there is no more frantic digging… maybe because the space is too tight and too short. I hope too that the cozy quarters make him feel more secure and safe.

The thing is, even as I have seemingly found something that works in the short term, I still need to confront the reality that Martin has doggie dementia. Sure, the vet had mentioned it on occasion when I complained about space cadet behavior, with him staring into the space and the bizarre trembling, especially at night. Well, this article spelled it out further. In humans, there is even something called “sunset syndrome” where the dementia exacerbates at night and the person gets disoriented and confused which in turns causes all the anxiety and trembling and confusion. In normal dogs, they have the cognition to deal with confusion or uncertainty, but with older dogs, that ability to self-soothe and cope diminishes. Poor Marty. In my sleep deprivation, I’d started to get so impatient with him. I should really know better: He has always been a dog who is very eager to please, and I’m sure that my frustration only made things worse. I am trying to be better. At least, now I’m more informed about what is going on.

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