Why do older dogs sleep so much?

While visiting my 82 year old father recently, he said naps were his favorite thing to do these days. I thought about that and remembered my love of power napping in college. Who else loves naps besides 82 year olds? Older dogs and babies, that's who. And power napping? Beside students, I'd add shift workers and puppies.

Think about it for a minute.

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Why do older dogs sleep so much? Probably the most likely answer is that they burn fuel fast and need to recharge. Also, like that rechargeable battery, the older they get, they stop holding their charge as long.

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Five reasons I'm thankful for my dog this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for my dog Cleo. Yes, you may have read she passed away surrounded by salmon treats and love in late September, but I’m still so very thankful for her presence. You see, she is still with me. I feel her positive influence every time I engage with Grouchy Puppy followers on Facebook or Twitter, or readers of the blog here.

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Since I've always been a "glass half full" kind of girl, I thought I'd share why even in my grief, I can find reasons to be thankful for my dog [...]

Five reasons I'm thankful for my dog this Thanksgiving

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Tribute to our Grouchy Puppy: Happy Homecoming Day Cleo!

Nine years ago today we brought our sweet big dog Cleo home from the San Francisco SPCA. She gave us everything anyone can ask for from a dog, or a person for that matter. Our life together motivated me to create Grouchy Puppy and this blog. Her deeds inspired our motto Give Fearlessly Influence Positively

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Some people may remember the #Cleo8 party we threw for her last year. We partied on Facebook and we celebrated on the blog all day! We loved all of the sweet wishes and photos that were sent to Cleo. It was wonderful to witness her positive influence over so many people from all over the world.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to Cleo in late September this year. To honor her memory, and maybe inspire you a little, today, on her special homecoming anniversary, we share five untold stories about this Grouchy Puppy muse and incredible senior dog [...]

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Requiem for a Grouchy Puppy

Two weeks ago we had to let our dog Cleo go. Until the end, she was surrounded in love, listening to her favorite music, with her favorite dog treats under her nose. My heart hurts and as my husband said, our life feels like a level of gravitas has fallen over it with her departure.

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She’s just a dog. I expect there are people out there who are reading this and thinking those words, or maybe saying them out loud in disbelief. Yes, Cleo is(was) a dog, but she became my muse, and to thousands of people who met her in person, or online, she inspired them to adopt, educated them about senior dogs, lifted their spirits and made them laugh. She showed them how dogs give fearlessly, and they can too. Her positive influence was felt all over the world.

Cleo gave us everything we could have ever hoped for from a dog. She was my husband’s biggest fan, and she simply, utterly, changed my world.

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How to win friends and influence people

When you live in a big city like San Francisco, with a big old dog like we do, it's been a mission of ours to win over our neighbors. We want them to know that we care about them and the neighborhood.

Dale Carnegie writes, “Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

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For a senior dog, or really any dog, based on our experience, we have a few ideas on how they might positively influence neighbors. We came up with four ways to turn the dial [...]

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I've known you for such a long time

It's hard to believe she was surrendered to a county shelter. When I look at my dog today, it feels like we were given an unexpected gift from the San Francisco SPCA all those years ago. I didn't expect to find such an amazing dog. I was hoping for a buddy, and instead, found my best friend

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My experience of letting go, being grateful, and seeing this old dog as a bridge

With each passing day my dog is closer to the end of her time with us. Our time has been rich with positive experiences and lessons. It has been so good that now it feels scary to imagine my life, and my day, without her big, mouth breathing, hairy presence. I’ll confess that I encouraged her to feel a certain equality in our relationship. Yes, I’m her guardian and caregiver but also her buddy. Her trust in me is everything. 

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The emotional toll: Will it cause me to avoid having another dog?

When you fall in love with a dog, you can fall head over heels real quick or the love can grow slowly over time. When we adopted our dog, I didn't immediately fall in love. I was too busy evaluating whether she made a good match for our lifestyle, our home and our personalities. Maybe being a dog lover I already knew how I could feel about Cleo generally, but as a responsible adult who knew how important it was to ensure this adoption was forever, I could be dispassionate -- at least for awhile. That "awhile" is now so far in the past that I can't remember what it feels like not to worry and weep over my dog's eventual passing.

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Will I avoid having another dog because of the emotional toll?

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Happy July 4th from Grouchy Puppy!

We wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day! Today will be a day spent with Cleo and the rest of our family in San Francisco. And as the sun goes down and the fireworks begin at Fisherman's Wharf, I will be snuggling with my sweet old dog. Cuddles from mama or papa are more effective than drugs when it comes to calming Cleo. We're human Thundershirts...

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Small senior dog victories: Two-bag dog walks

Living with an older dog I've learned to appreciate the small victories. See how happy and satisfied my senior dog Cleo is in this picture? This morning on our walk around the block, it was a two-bagger. Quality and quantity. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Here's to this powerful stinky milestone and lagging indicator of my senior dog's good health!

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Dogs who like to spoon furniture remind me of my dad

What I love about my sweet old dog is her ability to nap anywhere. She reminds me of my dad when he was a beat cop. He changed shifts every 5 weeks and became a professional napper!

When he was home, if he was sitting still for more than five minutes at a time, he'd nod off and catch 40 winks - just like that!

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You snooze, you don't lose..at least not today.

Happy National Napping Day!

Give Fearlessly. Influence Positively.

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When you love a dog, trust the hole in your heart will heal after they leave

When we love dogs, we love them all the way. The experience is all-encompassing as you enjoy the highest highs, the lowest lows, and everything in between, during your time together, however long. This much I've learned to be true.

For about two years now, I've been dealing with anticipatory grief but recently it has been particularly bad. My dog appears to be reaching a point when it will be time for us to let her go.

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#ThrowbackThursday Cleo inspection station

Our dog must inspect every bag and package that enters the front door. She pushes her way past your body, your legs, and hands to stick her snout into a bag or around every side of a box. 

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Her nose and sense of smell is a 3-D printer for her brain. No wonder her blindess today doesn't bother her that much, as long as we don't move the furniture.

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