What is so wonderful about having an older dog? Based on my experience with this one here, toys last longer. This photo was about five years ago. That stuffy lasted a week tops before we had to compost what was left.
This life I've had with my first senior dog has been the best. My gratitude for every moment runs deeper than I can say. Even now as she rests after a minor seizure, I still see our life together as a glass half-full.
Is it because they are goofy? Is that why dogs seem to inspire the worst puns, lame alliterations and bad poetry? I'll admit that I'm guilty of these crimes.
Are dogs uniquely capable of getting us humans to let our guard down and act like fools in front of them? I have not seen anyone talk like a baby to a cat, but I've seen plenty go nuts over a dog - from a puppy to a senior cutie. You know what I'm talking about. The person in question speaks in a silly voice and then some...
Why am I a human-animal bond evangelist? Because of dogs like this little Chihuahua, China Girl. She has been doing her best to give enough love to her papa to help balance the grief he is feeling for losing his wife to a brain tumor.
Dogs like her come in a tiny package, but manage to display an enormous quantity of fierce love and compassion. How does she know he'll benefit from her expression of love? Is there a smell we give off that only they can detect? We've seen the stories of dogs sniffing out drugs, low blood sugar or even cancer cells.
Dogs make us human
Given the connection I feel with my dog Cleo, I wasn't surprised last year when I read how new research showed the bond between humans and dogs might be more ancient than previously believed, going back not 10,000 years but three times that figure.
As an open dog lover, I sometimes wonder how that came about. Was I born that way? Is it a choice? Was it the result of my being exposed to our first puppy as a child? I had such a positive experience that I was hooked on canines? I wonder...
Bruin ponders why he's on the other side of the screen
Given that dogs can be loud, dirty and demanding, why are we continually drawn to them?
Sleepy older dogs take the cutest photos. It's Hollywood awards season and I think my dog could fit right into a classic film noir movie, don't you agree? Well on second thought...
Only with that much thick fluff, she'd never get cast in The Thin Man. Cleo would probably choose an old western, if it meant she could roll in the dirt, dig everywhere and chase varmints. Honestly I could see her in either The Little Tramp, or with her clumsy moves and sense of humor, The Three Stooges.
Having an adopted dog and a garden for the first time has taught me a lot about myself. There has been a learning curve to their care, and I couldn't be more grateful that both show a fair amount of patience and forgiveness. Until today, I hadn't noticed the similarities between dogs and gardens.
As our dog progressively lost her vision, we adjusted. I adopted the habit of stepping between her head and obstacles, while trying to teach her the word "stop" means stop now, not after 5-10 more steps forward. She has always been stubborn, alpha-like and clumsy. I decided in the beginning that I would discover a balance between embracing her unique personality, while modifying her behavior if it gave her manners or added to her personal safety. Important issues for a big dog in a big city. We needed to do everything to keep her safe from being hit by a car to discarded chicken bones on the sidewalk.
Now that Cleo's vision is almost completely gone, I've learned some important lessons about caring for an elderly blind big bossy dog.[...]
Whether a puppy or a senior dog, exercise has a calming effect on dogs. I'll admit that it works both ways because when I get back from outdoor exercise with my dog, I'm more calm. It's true even now with my senior dog. We may go at a slow pace together but that time outdoors breathing fresh air, sometimes pausing to briefly visit with a neighbor, has a positive influence over me.
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.
Are you looking for a good read over the holiday break? Maybe you need something to read on that long flight home, or have ready for the unexpected snowy delay at the airport. Never fear, Facebook friends are here!
All this year it has been a goal to engage dog lovers across social media, whether on this blog, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Wherever you are, you'll find us sharing various content related to the power of the human-animal bond. You might notice we also are a curious bunch and like to ask all sorts of questions of fellow animal lovers. Thank you to all who take time to answer us.
Last week we asked the question, "What's your favorite non-fiction dog book this year?" and Grouchy Puppy followers shared four books available in paperback and on Kindle. We love them all and think you will too! Let us know in the comments if you have another for our reading list, we're always looking.
Having a senior dog for the first time will leave a mark, but I wasn't expecting the repeated bruising from our time together. I don't like roller coasters but I swear I have been living on one of these wild rickety machines for years now.
Giant Dipper. Don't get me wrong, I expected both happy and sad emotional bumps from having a dog in my life, but the deep love I have with my dog has been met with scary lows, the type usually experienced in an amusement park. A place I avoid.
What's so great having a Husky Shepherd dog? When she gets in touch with her Siberian Husky genes, images from Call of the Wild come to mind. She curls into her tail for a nap, dreaming of Arctic winds or marches us down the street as if pulling a sled. Years ago our neighbors told us they heard her lonely woo woo when she was alone for a few hours. Her genetic code includes vocalization but since we rarely leave her alone anymore, she has no reason to howl.
Do you know what I'm grateful for this year? I'm thankful that eight years ago, my newly adopted dog didn't choke to death or die from internal damage done by consuming the turkey carcass. Not to sound so dramatic but it's true, and I have witnesses.
Before we get to that infamous story, Thanksgiving this year is special for us. I've embraced the fact that I've an elderly dog. This year, rather than getting up to watch the Macy's parade live (6:00AM for us), we'll let our senior dog sleep in, but expect that our family photos will still look something like this later in the day. And though it means a few extra leg lifts, we are now used to cooking the big holiday meal with this furry road block.