Twinkle & Albert Claude – A Tale of Two Ages
It’s time to talk a little about Twinkle.
Although Twinkle is a ripe old age of at least 14, until very recently, her age has been an invisible reality for her, and us. She’s trotted along on walks, albeit at a slower pace, showing no signs of any problems beyond the need to plod rather than hurtle around. Then, shortly after we agreed to bring Albert Claude into our world here in France, suddenly Twinkle was really not herself; not just slow on her legs, but wobbling, very unstable, toppling over with beautiful but failing back legs letting her down.
Some days were better than others and when I left here last week to travel to the UK, things while not great, weren’t dramatically different to what they’ve been for a couple of weeks. Then over the weekend, possibly with the added stress of me being away and her routines being disrupted, things seemed to take a bit of a turn and on Wednesday Michel and I saw our vet to discuss things in depth.
The upshot is that Twinkle has degenerative changes in her spine which means that messages are not firing right, leading to her back legs not behaving as they should. This is not an uncommon problem in older dogs but it is a dratted, blasted, flipping horrible thing for our special girl and it can’t be cured.
On the very positive side, Twinkle is not in any pain. Our vet equated it to us walking on legs and feet that have pins and needles and gone to sleep, it’s not painful, it’s weird and annoying and takes adjustment. It frustrates her, but doesn’t pain her. It will worsen and we are realistic while trying hard to stay positive, day by day we are positive. It’s what she deserves and needs and I will do this.
We have begun a drug regime which, with a fair wind and a lot of love, prayers and well wishes (please, please send them Twinkle’s way), should slow down the degeneration and symptoms. She should have more time to enjoy her world here, to be out with her new brother.
We’re getting her out and about and she wants to come – I never have any doubts about what Twinkle wants, she makes sure she tells me, loudly and clearly and regularly through each day. We will make sure we give her as much chance to enjoy her sniffing and snuffling and plodding along, mooching with her sisters and new brother with the help of her fancy new buggy.
Twinkle is the most remarkable dog, she has a giant character and that is unchanged. This is not affecting her engagement with us, her bossiness, her determination to make sure that each day is lived on her terms with me doing exactly what she wants and needs. So while quite a few tears have been shed as I adjust to the situation, I’m also positive that Twinkle is still the same Twinkle that she was a month ago. Only now she has a bright and boisterour brother, Albert Claude who is a bundle of fun and energy and exuberant youth. It’s bringing it home to me once again just how awful the puppy trade is, witnessing again, close up just how normal and happy Albert is and how abnormal and damaged his sisters Twinkle and Cerise have been from their years breeding puppies.
But, out and about, Twinkle and Cerise have always been happiest, it was the exact same with Susie-Belle, it is where their healing best occurs in my experience. It’s where they are allowed to be dogs, perfectly happy, normal dogs using their senses, putting aside their worries and nightmares. Six years ago when Twinkle was first with us, totally untouchable, completely human averse, the times we knew she had a modicum of peace was when she was out walking with us. And we will ensure she enjoys this as long as she wants to.
It’s funny how life works out, if we’d known this was around the corner for Twinkle, perhaps Albert Claude wouldn’t have seemed much of a good idea. Twinkle would have taken up ALL of my thoughts and I’d have possibly decided a young and energetic dog wasn’t the best move. But having him here is such a breath of fresh air and joy, and we are able to make it all work, we’ve no doubts at all that this is how it is meant to be. And soon I’ll tell you all about Albert Claude and what he has escaped from.