As Timothy’s long-time followers will know, but others may not, he is an old man. Two weeks tomorrow will be his twelfth birthday.
Back in August 2015, about five weeks before his tenth birthday, he had his first seizure after a fairly long walk on a warm day. Until then he’d been completely healthy. Before his seizure, he was sitting on a bench outside a fish and chip shop in Camden – but then he fell off and onto the floor. We picked him up, telling him he was daft not to be able to sit still without falling off – but he wasn’t listening: his legs were all rigid and he was staring into the distance. He could neither see nor hear us, or if he could, he couldn’t respond.
Thinking that he’d had his chips before we’d got ours, we headed for home while carrying him in our arms. On the train home, he loosened up and came round, and by the time we’d got back to our home street, he wanted to get down and walk under his own steam. He was wobbly and slow, but managed the last couple of hundred yards home.
He went onto light duties for a couple of days, but soon regained his strength and was badgering us to take him out for walks again as usual. We started with short walks, but he seemed back to normal, so we resumed normal service. A couple of weeks later, he had another seizure. Again, as with the first one, he came round after an hour or so, and returned to normal after a couple of days.
Since then, whenever we’ve had a long day or a lot of walking ahead, we’ve carried him in his bag. That’s when this collection of photos started: rather than leave him at home to sit in the window, waiting for us to come home from the trips that are too long for him to manage, we carry him around so that he can still get out and see the world.
On a normal day he’ll go for the same 15 minute walk as he always has done, but at his own pace that’s now become a 25-30 minute walk for the same route. He complains of being short-changed (by standing at the end of the drive, refusing to come into the house) if we take any less than his full normal route, so a daily 25-30 minute trundle it is.
On a longer day when we’re going to be out, or if we’re away, he tends to walk the first 10-15 minutes, and then gets carried for most of the rest of the day. So that he can stretch his legs, relieve himself, and so that we can get blood circulating in our hands and shoulders again, he gets out and walks (slowly) for about five minutes every now and then throughout the day. Unless there’s food involved, he’s usually reluctant to get out of the bag… as in: he’ll sit in the bag and refuse to get out until we tug his lead or encourage him out. He loves his bag.
Yesterday, though, 5th September 2017, he had another seizure just after 7am. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t after a walk, he’d not really done anything yet – except take his regular trundle into the back garden after first waking up.
Yesterday’s seizure was longer and it seemed more serious than the previous two. First it seemed like he was trying to climb up to the back of the sofa, but in fact he was on the sofa trying to stand up, but kept falling onto his chest. His front left leg was retracted and floppy; his other three legs completely stiff and stretched all the way out. His eyes were glazed over and his breathing really quite rapid.
After holding and comforting him for a few minutes, his legs gradually relaxed a little and his breathing slowed down, but he was still not quite with it. He kept trying to stand up, as if trying to see if he could, but he couldn’t. He could not stand any better than a chair with three wobbly legs, and each time he tried, he got worked up and started breathing heavily again.
After convincing him to rest and sleep, he did for most of the morning – trying to get up about once an hour, but failing. At lunchtime he still couldn’t stand up: he insisted on continuing to wake up and trying to walk, but each time he tried, his three previously-stiff legs were game to trying, but his front left floppy paw couldn’t take any weight, and he just fell over.
We offered him a small bowl to drink from, and his breakfast (‘Barking Heads’ for ‘Senior Dogs’ and a bit of chopped up chicken). He finished both, and went back to sleep.
Early afternoon, he tried again, and this time could limp around enough that we shelved the thought of taking him to the vets to send him to the big hanging bag in the sky.
Happily, by the evening, he seemed back to normal – albeit sleepy. He had his dinner as normal, walked around the house (but didn’t try the stairs) and complained that it was approaching 7pm and nobody had taken him for a walk. Except for being either deaf as a post or completely ignorant, he seemed completely normal. We did a short walk up and down the street, and he came home to sleep it off.
This morning he had his breakfast and walk as usual, and while he’s still either deaf or pretending to be, and he hasn’t yet tried the stairs, he seems to be completely fine.
He did break into a bit of a pant while out on his walk, so did about a third of it in his bag, but wriggled to get out again when we got close to home – insisting on walking down the street under his own power.
We shall see how he gets on. It’s been almost two years since his last seizure, and while this one took him much longer to get over, it was still only a few hours before he was up and asking to get back out again.
Meanwhile, he’s back on light duties and we’ll be encouraging him to sleep and stay relaxed more than normal. The website still has a couple of dozen photos from last month’s visit to Shropshire to post, which it’ll continue to work through, but of course we’ll still take more if he’s up to it. Right now, it’s looking good.