Thursday, October 30, 2008

Miles Losing His Hearing

I think Miles is losing his hearing. He’s old, and I was worried that he was getting to be ‘Old & Stubborn’ as well of recent. It just seemed that his behavior was such that he was deciding to “not hear” me when I was calling him or such. I had internally wondered whether it was actual hearing loss, or selective hearing loss; but I had just sort of accepted it was the latter.

But I still did wonder. And this morning, I think I got my first unequivocal proof that it is indeed
actual hearing loss.

He’s a lab. If you have ever had labs, you know they’re food hounds. And if you’ve
never had labs, now you know. Yes, they will happily eat until they explode. These are not dogs you can free-feed; Any food available is food that is consumed, it’s really that simple. Anyway. Our dogs eat well. Not only do we get them all-natural dog foods, but they also get our scraps & waste, which itself is all-natural & organic. This morning, it was eggs. The Girl thought that her eggs tasted funny (she’s a bit paranoid about spoilt food. “A bit” might be an understatement). So she left half of them on the plate, and since I ate mine and didn’t find anything wrong with them, I went to give the leftovers to the dogs. All the dogs but Miles were already in the Kitchen. So I called Miles.

He didn’t come.

This is unlike Miles. Where there’s food, there’s Miles. That’s just… Well it’s like cosmic law, dammit. I check around the corner, and he’s just sitting in the middle of the living room. Show him the plate and he comes like his butt’s on fire. Food still motivates him;

But why didn’t he come when he was called? Well in this case, listening and coming when called leads to reward, and he knows it. And if it’s still highly-motivating for him, the only real answer is that he’s
actually losing his hearing. I tested again about two minutes later, when all the dogs but he were outside. He was standing right next to me, sniffing the floor for food, and I called to him softly. I kept getting louder until he heard me. And it took a few tries before his ears perked. And even then, he wasn’t sure he was called, he was perking up to listen close to make sure he heard something.

Miles. 12 Years old now, and he’s finally getting old. He’s going deaf, he’s getting slower, he’s getting a little grayer. At this point, he probably only has like a decade more to live.

OK you’ll have to excuse me; I have to go and give him a hug now.

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