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Senior dogs benefit Baby Boomers

Do you know one way the millions of Baby Boomers could use their powerful force to help improve the lives of animals? They could foster or adopt a senior dog. 

Walking a senior dog, keeps you both healthy! 

Living in San Francisco, the hills make it easy to get daily exercise. At the start of her walks, Cleo jogs down the street, before taking a sharp turn straight up a steep incline. This daily exercise helps maintain her weight at a steady 85 lbs now for two years in a row. As a senior dog, it is important to keep excess weight off so we don't put any additional stress on Cleo's joints.


For me, as a Baby Boomer, getting out and exercising with Cleo, keeps my weight down and is a great way to have both of visit connect with our community. Our neighborhood has lots of local businesses, and walking with a large Shepherd-Husky dog is a surefire way to start a conversation. [The US Census Bureau considers Baby Boomers as anyone born between 1946 and 1964, including 1964.]

There are many reasons to include a senior dog in a senior household, and the benefits are mutual.

Caring for Cleo's diet now that she is a senior dog, makes us more health conscious. As we focus on reading labels to avoid foods we know Cleo is allergic to, we also become more aware of our own diet. I have gotten into the habit of trying more gluten-free products.

Besides being a motivator to get us out of the house and walking, our dog Cleo has gotten us to slow down and appreciate the everyday human-dog interaction. We enjoy watching her behavior and mannerisms as she picks out a toy to greet us with, or when she decides it is playtime. You can see clearly she is going through a series of choices each time.

A senior dog, like a person, has gone through more and has a richer memory to draw from. Cleo is no exception, and her personality and interaction with us reflects her age. She is far more dynamic and multi-faceted than even two years ago. We feel very fortunate to be with her. We benefit from her as much as she benefits from us. Now I am off to cuddle with this senior dog who holds my gaze for long moments.

Learn more about human-animal interactions:

HAI Research Program

Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition

Study: Dogs drive owners to exercise more frequently

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