Older dogs teach us patience and how to fill up your love tank!

In our hurry up, I'm always late world, spending time with an older dog can be the perfect counterbalance.

Time together may help you gain a thoughtful approach to the next hour of the day, or maybe the whole week ahead. After a few one-on-one minutes with an older dog, I have left motivated and empowered, focused more the softer side of life.

Continue reading "Older dogs teach us patience and how to fill up your love tank!" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


More life lessons from dogs. This time forgiveness.

Volunteering at a senior dog rescue has exposed me to all sorts of dogs arriving for different reasons. Some dogs are strays, others have the misfortune of having their person pass away unexpectedly. Everyone agrees that all the dogs are loved no matter where they come from, or why they are with us at this advanced age.

Something that gets people to dance around is the subject of dogs who get surrendered by a family. I've heard people take absolute positions on this. They feel that if you decide to have a dog then you better keep that dog no matter what. These people have little empathy or compassion for anyone giving up a dog.

IMG_0794

I have a more nuanced response thanks to dogs like Otis.

Continue reading "More life lessons from dogs. This time forgiveness." »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Dogs don't know what a holiday is, only that you're there with them

You know what's so great about dogs? They don't care about the holidays. Dogs don't know about Cyber Monday sales. They only see the new toy or smell the freshly opened bag of treats.

Dogs have a way of getting us emotional humans to focus more on their funny antics, and less on those door-buster commercials running on television. Sure, they'll sit next to us on the couch to watch You've Got Mail for the tenth time, but only to get the belly rubs.

 

A video posted by grouchypuppy (@grouchypuppy) on

Continue reading "Dogs don't know what a holiday is, only that you're there with them" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Older dogs offer you something special, often intangible

When you spend time with older dogs, it feels like you've been given a free meditation lesson. Hanging with Murphy here in the doggy loft at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I literally could feel his soothing aura embrace me while I sat next to him on a bed.

  Image

Older dogs offer you something special, often intangible.

Continue reading "Older dogs offer you something special, often intangible" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Serial senior dog adopters stay focused on happy times together even after unexpected loss

I believe strongly in the power older dogs have for enriching our lives. Opening your heart and home to senior dogs is worth the inevitable future loss. Why? That answer varies for many of us, but it could be simply that you appreciate quality over quantity. I learned this from experiences with my beloved dog. After she passed on, I miss her but the feeling of gratitude I have for the quality of time we had together overwhelms any sadness.

When a loved one passes away, their loss can knock you for a loop, even when they are showing signs their time with you is coming to a close. Imagine the devastation when two loved ones unexpectedly go within days of each other? That recently happened to long time senior dog lovers and adopters, Karl and Jessica.

If you missed them, I recommend you read their three guest posts from earlier this year, about their senior dog journey: It started with Tara, Continued with Bobo and Jameson, and their journey is Destined to Continue.

Karl and Jessica shared their sudden loss in an email, which they graciously allow me to share below. I hope you'll read it and take away the message of how the enrichment you get from caring for and about older dogs, far outweighs any pain.

 Image

An update to our Senior Dog Journey

Continue reading "Serial senior dog adopters stay focused on happy times together even after unexpected loss" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Helping older dogs live their final chapter knowing they are loved

Dogs enrich our lives in a million different ways, at every age of their life, and ours. When I decided to start volunteering at a senior dog rescue, my goal was to physically help older dogs live the last chapter of their life knowing that they were loved. What I didn't realize until recently is that they are reminding ME that I am still loved. How did that life lesson sneak in here?

 

Joy on the other end of our leash @muttvillesf with Miss Pepper #adoptdontshop #❤️

A photo posted by grouchypuppy (@grouchypuppy) on

Is it the compassion I have for older dogs that inspires me to step up, and to try and make a difference in the quality of their life? I certainly know that when I get discouraged by the news, my mood is lifted after spending a few hours with a wise old face.

Offering a discarded older dog simple affection can be rewarded with a happy expression, like Pepper has in this photo. Have you ever made any dog smile? I get a shot of electricity from it!

Getting involved in the welfare of older dogs in my community is a tonic. It's a reminder that we can do something close to home, that can have a positive tangible impact. When I come home from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue each week, I feel like I've helped add to the positive column, that my actions have cancelled out some of the negativity in the world.

My Emotional Enrichment Program

Ensuring that an older dog will know they are loved during their final chapter is my goal. Every time a Muttville dog is adopted or joins a foster home, I feel so much joy. My life is enriched from the experience, and knowing they will be loved the rest of their life. 

Learn more about Pepper, the adoptable cutie shown here. Throughout August, Muttville is waiving adoption fees to qualified adopters.

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Older dogs show us how to focus more on the present

Having a senior dog in your life is the best. Mine helped me focus on the important things and to forget about the nonsense, the noisy distractions. Thanks to my dog, I found myself caring more about her wellbeing than any reality show on television. I spent more time searching for savory recipes to make her special dog treats with. She made the distracting noises from our busy city streets fade into the background.

She isn't physically with me now, during this disturbing presidential election season, but guess what? I found a calming environment at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. These oldsters are exactly the right balance to the outlandish behavior on television and online.

  Image

Being with my older dog brought calm, and the rotating crew in the doggy are doing an amazing job at pinch-hitting for her! All I have to do is pop my head over one of the half-doors and say, "Good morning puppies! How did you sleep? Who wants to go for a walk before breakfast?"

Continue reading "Older dogs show us how to focus more on the present " »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Empathy and Compassion: The role older dogs play

The roles dogs play in our lives continues to grow and evolve. Millions of dogs are simple companions and best friends, while thousands serve as guide dogs, therapy dogs, and guard dogs. Their jobs often change over time, but one constant force they retain is their unique ability to positively influence us.

I have experienced the benefits from having dogs in my life at all ages. As a young girl, I felt a kinship with our family dogs. They were easy to understand, and seemed to understand me too. In all honesty, I felt closer to them emotionally than my own human siblings.

I especially remember spending quiet afternoons with Scooter, the patriarch of our crew of dogs. He taught me a lot about being still, and the power of empathy. That is one reason why when I volunteer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I love seeing the influence of the older dogs on visiting children.

"You don't seem like a Muttville dog, you are like a little puppy," she whispered.

Image from www.grouchypuppy.com

A wonderful role these older dogs play is that of wise teachers. They are helping us raise compassionate children, often by just being themselves. The kids are learning empathy from their exposure to the world from the eyes of an aging dog.

Many city kids can't have pets. Their time spent quietly petting, or taking care of the senior dogs at Muttville allows them to experience the effect of caring for an elderly parent or grandparent. These dogs helps them see what it means to care about a live animal, rather than a stuffed one.

I've witnessed many moments, like the one above, when a young child reaches out selflessly to give one the senior dogs some gentle affection and appreciation for sharing their time. These dogs in the doggy loft are not caged so they are free to walk away from anyone, even a sweet little girl.

What is so wonderful being around these older dogs is their willingness to open up to the sounds of love.

They don't hold grudges for the turn in their life that caused them to end up at Muttville. Instead, they seem to grab the opportunity to show all of us how to let go, savor the little moments, and enjoy a quiet cuddle.

If you give them a chance, every older dog will give you their all. They are professionals at showing people of all ages what's so special about having an animal companion, and why senior dogs rule. 

Does your community have a program where young kids can experience what it means to care for and about older dogs? How about older pets in general? 

 

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


My Muttville Moment: Old dogs understand loyalty

When I look at an old dog staring out of the window at the doggy loft, I see someone who understands loyalty. The older dog has experienced what it feels like to be a part of a team. They know what it means to be able to depend on someone. I sense they are feeling the loss and it breaks my heart. My compassionate response is to give that old dog all the love and affection they can tolerate, to show them that they weren't wrong to trust us. I feel compelled to step up and show them their loyalty is valued, even more than love.

Image from www.grouchypuppy.com
Mandy

Mandy is an old dog at Muttville who understands loyalty. I took her out for a walk one morning and her focus wasn't on peeing, it was finding a certain someone or their car. We race-walked down the street pausing at every, single, parked car. She determinedly sniffed each door and tire before moving down the row. I asked her repeatedly to please go potty, because it was nicer for us all if she did her business outside, rather than in the doggy loft among the other dogs. She ignored me. She had priorities.

I don't know many cocker spaniels but I do recognize loyalty, and what it means to be part of a team.

Continue reading "My Muttville Moment: Old dogs understand loyalty " »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


My Muttville Moment: I see you, you old dog!

When you look at an old dog, what do you see? Do your eyes go straight to any obvious deformities or unusual features, the grey muzzle, or white whiskers?

Is your focus on what they look like, or who they are? When I see an old dog my impression is built from the ground, up.

Starting at their feet, I'm checking out their mood and posture. Does their body language tell me that they want my company, touch, or attention? My first impression begins with their attitude. Like older people, old dogs don't have time to waste on stuff they are not in the mood for, and will not pretend.

Image from www.grouchypuppy.com
Coco Chanel

If they prefer a nap to a walk, you know.

Continue reading "My Muttville Moment: I see you, you old dog!" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


The positive influence old dogs have on managing our own aging process

When my dog got into her old age years, I noticed. I listened to her creaky joints when she would get up from a nap. She would step out or off of one of her beds, then slowly stretch her long Husky Shepherd legs out behind her, until her toes flared. My eyes went wide in surprise, the first time I heard her joints make small popping noises like my toes do sometimes.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

I had more firsts with her the next several years. Looking back now, I'm seeing her movement into old age through changes in my own body. Previously I had seen my 80 year old mother in my dog's aging process, now I see myself.

Continue reading "The positive influence old dogs have on managing our own aging process" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Veterans with visible and invisible injuries benefit from service dogs

Hey, the dogs with webbed feet were ringers! Service dogs who work with Invictus athletes had an informal dog paddle swimming contest to end this year's games in Orlando, Florida. 

 

The 2016 Invictus Games took place May 8-12 in Orlando. Prince Harry, himself a veteran, created the Games in 2014 for servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible. The prince was on hand for the dogs' impromptu event.

I'd like to see the federal government do more to help our veterans suffering traumatic brain injuries, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts: Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans. As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans. 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan.

We have too many veterans suffering, and dying, who deserve our help after serving our country.

We already know pet dogs play a valuable role. Mine uncovered missing items, made me feel protected, got me out of the house, introduced me to my neighbors, listened to my problems, and made me laugh when I was feeling blue.

Imagine what highly trained service dogs are capable of, and the immense benefit they can offer our injured servicemen and women?

Learn more:

Dogs and PTSD - PTSD: National Center for PTSD

New studies focus on service dogs and PTSD - Military Times

Over a Quarter-Million Vietnam War Veterans Still Have PTSD - Smithsonian Magazine

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Older dogs can help you meditate and relax

With my first senior dog I discovered that older dogs can help you meditate. Spending our days together, I experienced real moments of complete relaxation and peace. Was it her zen-like personality, or as an older dog did she know something I didn't?

Look at her expression! Not sure about you but my heart rate is slowing just looking at her photo...

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

5 Reasons Older Dogs Help You Relax

  1. Soft snuggles rule and induce the production of endorphins
  2. Destructive puppy phase is long past, they're way more interested in just chilling
  3. Older dogs enjoy laid back walks more than marathon hikes or runs
  4. They can show you what aging gracefully looks like
  5. Feeling her absolute trust is incredibly empowering

If you are looking for a way to counter the stresses of the world, or need your own live-in yogi, consider an older dog. 

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!