I love dogs, but especially old ones. They can communicate their needs, wants and desires more clearly and often more quietly than a puppy. I've noticed with my own old dog, our time spent together is about quality rather than quantity. I focus not on her life winding down, but on the time we have together right now. I try to create keepsake moments for my future without her.
One way we spend quiet time bonding is when I groom her, or as I like to say, "who wants a brushing party?"
In San Francisco, we live with earthquakes. The memories of past quakes, and the knowledge of future ones. That means having enough basic supplies, first aid and water for 72 hours - for everyone in the household including pets. This type of disaster preparedness is in addition to having an exit strategy from the home in case of fire, something probably more likely to happen than an earthquake.
In other parts of the country, such as New Orleans, people prepare for hurricane season and having an evacuation plan. Wherever you live, and especially if you have both children and pets, planning ahead is key.
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.
Will I avoid having another dog because of the emotional toll?
Keeping our pets safe during the summer months means watching out for hazards like toxic herbicides on the grass, knowing the signs of heat stroke, avoiding discarded chicken bones from barbecues and protecting lost dogs fleeing from fireworks.
With summer concerts and festivals in full swing, and Independence Day this week, please remember your four-legged family members. Celebrating July 4th with family and friends is a wonderful tradition and holiday, however in the excitement of your first sparkler, don't forget your dog.
Some say that a dog person is more likely to be extroverted and outgoing but I disagree. I've never had a cat, but in the piece that I read, they also state that those who have cats are more likely to be introverted. Again, I have to disagree because I know quite a few cat people who are very gregarious, outgoing people. They seek out people at parties and are the last to leave because they are having fun conversations. I witnessed many of these moments in person, before I quietly sidled out the door emotionally exhausted.
My appreciation for the companionship of dogs is something I developed from a young age. I felt an affinity toward my furry siblings (we had four family dogs throughout my early years) and a general love for animals. For some reason I always relax when a dog is around, even if I don't know them personally. I feel better. Calm.
You know why your veterinarian says it's important to bring your mature or senior dog in for a check up every six months? Dogs age faster than people. They show signs from aging more quickly as they advance in years. It can be easy to miss something, like a behavior change that slowly creeps up on you.
When we adopted our dog, she was already at least three years old. Her teeth were not the best and soon she had about a dozen pulled after we invested in three root canals. As she has gotten older, her tongue flops out when she is on her side in a very endearing manner. The amount of drool she produces has also multiplied in volume in the past year, and I don't think it is from a sudden increase in her desire for food. Girlfriend has been food motivated from day one.
It's interesting that her extra drool and missing teeth means more food particles drop onto her fore legs. Maybe it's her Husky nature but my dog is fastidious about her personal hygiene. She will carefully clean any food that might have fallen onto her legs. She also likes to use my pant leg or crotch as a napkin after a meal but that is why I wear sweats at home. Hey, she's earned a few perks at this stage, and her funny quirks are all the more reason to love a senior dog.