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Life With Senior Dogs

Updated: May 4




Living with old dogs is a vast array of clunky chaos.


You might wake up one day in a puddle of piddle. Or you might avoid the piddle that day but wake in a panic running for the dog nose-shaped inhaler; where on dogs earth did you put it?


Trips to the vet’s cost not only hard cash when you live with old dogs, but they also cost your state of mind and heart. You go through the highest and lowest emotions in a single vet trip. You never really know whether this is the time you’re getting the bad news. Is it operable, or is it just a fatty mass? Do the teeth need pulling? How’s the heart sounding?


Stairs to the sofa are purchased. Steps to the bed bought and installed. House moves are made – old dogs are better off in bungalows, don’t you know?


Floors become patchworked with rugs to save little old legs from trips and sprains. Food is served at different heights, as is water, as is love.


Home becomes rest home, becomes nursing home, becomes hospice. Routines become rigid and can’t change because confusion grows in change, and old dogs get confused; often, they do.





One thing about old dogs is this. They were not always old; they were young, free, busy and bold. The dogs were bouncy, speedy, jumpy and keen. Younger bodies are kinder to those who wear them. Years pass by fast when you live with dogs. Puppyhood flies past in the blink of an eye, and suddenly, the brown turns to grey. The nimble legs become stiff, and the pools of those eyes become foggy and blue.


We have a lifetime of love with a dog, you see. Whether they join you at six weeks or six years, if we allow them to, they teach us. If we don’t learn from our dogs, we’re doing life wrong. That’s what they’re here for to teach us to love and live and learn. That’s why their lives are so short, and it serves to remind us of our own limited time.


My old dog taught me so much, so very much. Chips is his name. Chips taught me what dogs need from people. He showed me all my crunchy sides. He opened my heart right up to share that with the world.





So, I shared it and continue to share it. The lesson of Chips. The lesson that makes dog lives better everywhere.


I know he’s not going to be around forever. He’s already fourteen. My beautiful dog is doddering. He needs stairs for the sofa and steps for the bed. He needs sleep, lots and lots of sleep, and he needs short, short walks. Yet, as I write this, he’s snoring under my desk.


Thank goodness he is. One day, this dog will be gone and yet his legacy will stay.


And as he sleeps in my heart, I’ll stay grateful that we ever crossed paths at all.




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