Friday, August 12, 2011

Can you hear me, Rose?

Five years ago, in people years, Rose was in her mid forties.

In a couple of months, Rose will celebrate her fourteenth birthday.  This puts her, in people years, somewhere in her seventies.

Rose has a blue tinge to her eyes now, suggestive of cataracts.  She moves a bit stiffly these days, suggestive of arthritic joints.  And she just might be losing her hearing.  Is she deaf as a post?   

Don't know for sure.  One thing for sure, when Rosebud sleeps, she does it heavy.  Of course, sometimes dogs sleep deep.  Lately, Rose's sleep is consistently in the deep end. The sound of, "do you want to go outside?"  no longer snaps hers out of slumber.  Indeed, verbal entreaties do not awaken Rose at all.  She must be shaken awake (or rocked awake, when she is sleeping in one of her favorite places: a green lazy boy chair).

When she does wake up, it isn't clear whether she is heading to the door because she heard the Outside Announcement or because she is eager to join the dog procession.  When it's time to come back inside, Rose doesn't respond as quickly to, "let's come in house,"  as she used to. 

Rose has always been inquisitive and curious.  You know, nosey.  Rose maintains an interest in critters that inhabit the yard.  Sometimes she gets so caught up in the chase she loses track of time.  In her younger days, I would have to call her an extra time to break her focus on the fauna.  I've always considered Rose's vermin hobby part of her sassy badness.  Sassybad means stubborn, independent- not immediately doing what you're told.  In other words, the very spunk that makes a dog a companion and friend to be proud of.  Needless to add, these qualities can also be irritating.  In a close relationship, you discover that the infuriating stuff about someone you love is often the most endearing. 

Now adays when I urge Rose back inside after she has had a session of critter hide and seek, speaking to her doesn't cut it.  I must move into her line of vision and beckon with my hand.  She then trots in step behind me and into the house.

Though Rose is the kind of gal who looks you in the eye, it seems that lately, she watches me far more than before.  (Either that, or I'm studying her so much these days, that she's staring at me staring at her).  Then again, she may be looking for cues and clues because she can't hear.

Yes, I'm pretty sure that Rose is pretty deaf.  This isn't too big of a deal.  We have plenty of nonverbal ways to communicate, and we can develop more as needed.  And it gives me a glorious excuse to stomp on the stairs!  We don't want to startle Rose; I'm sending her a warning message via vibration.

When we take a moment together, just us, I stroke her and whisper, "Rosebud".  Her eyes still melt into mine with a love I can only hope to be worthy of.  Can she hear me?  Maybe she can't hear with her ears anymore.  Rosebud hears me with her heart.   She always has.

sources:  Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by James Giffin, MD & Liisa Carlson, DVM


  1. Oh, that is so sweet, Rosebud hears you with his heart. Oh my goodness. Sniffle, sniffle. That is adorable. I miss my little old guy so very much!

  2. Terrific post, Lynn!

    Rose kind of has a similar look to her that reminds me of my dog Blackie. She ended up going deaf towards the last years of her life too.

  3. Rose sounds like a wonderful dog. I have a little guy who is 13 and deaf. I find it so sad that he thinks we are constantly sneaking up on him. I know it's just age, but I still find it hard to adjust to his demise.