ITK - Unfortunately when one owns a pet we must take the bad with the good. Life is a cycle and as long as we do the best we can that's truly the best we can hope for. Someone said put a sheet down - I was going to say basically the same thing if your dog didn't like the feel of the pad. Put a sheet, folded over and over and make it comfy for your dog.
I agree, get your dog to the vet and see what is going on. And like someone else said, don't scold her, it's not her fault. Just love on her.
All you can do Jeanette is just love, love, love, love her. Your dog doesn't mean to cause you sorrow - it's just what happens when our dogs get older. If it helps just know that your dog probably isn't as sad as you are. Our dogs just love us and love being around us, that's all they want. If she has some kind of UTI though you can make her feel MUCH better by getting that treated!!!!! You will see a definite improvement in her!
And you are right, our dogs/cats/animals love us MUCH more than our family - and I'm not sure I don't love my dog more sometimes!
You can't really get too upset here until you talk to your vet. We're here ITK - I think you still have my e-mail, don't you? PM me if you want to chat privately.
As far as you not seeing the dog when you came up from the basement - just assume that she is behind every door you have to open, around every corner you turn, and go slowly and gingerly.
Hugs to you ITK.