SF SPCA Holiday Windows Return to Macy's Union Square
Celebrating Life with a Senior Dog: Gentle Ben

8 reasons why I'm thankful for having a senior dog to celebrate Thanksgiving with this year

image from www.grouchypuppy.comDo 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

Given Cleo's many health issues, size, and age, we are celebrating this Thanksgiving with hearts filled with gratitude for eight years of joy, adventure and light.

8 reasons why I'm thankful this year

8. My dog continues to positively influence me every single day, and for that I'm really thankful. I'm also thankful for her positive influence over others. This year she has comforted strangers missing their dogs, and entertained a few kids from the neighborhood.

7. It's been two years since her diagnoses, but Cleo has been handling her diabetes like a champ. That includes the daily injections.

6. I'm thankful Cleo still loves liverwurst so much because we've never experienced any dogged resistance from her taking medication or supplements. image from www.grouchypuppy.com

5. Enough friends and family are animal lovers, or at least Cleo lovers, and understand why we can't drop everything to come visit with them. I'm thankful for their compassion towards Cleo because they compensate for the others.

4. Through her steady loss of vision, I'm thankful Cleo has kept her "dogness." She readily jumps up and heads toward the front door with every knock. She still explores her way around the kitchen floor during and after every meal. No bump on the snout will stop her from being all dog, and a protective dog at that.

3. I'm very thankful to all who have contributed to my FirstGiving campaign to raise money for Pets Are Wonderful Support. For 25 years they've helped keep low income people and their beloved pets together. I couldn't imagine having to give up Cleo because I was unable to financially or physically care for her.

2. I'm so grateful to all the people who took time to contribute to celebrating #Cleo8 recently. It meant a lot to have so many heart-felt wishes heaped on Cleo and to read about all the folks who love senior dogs.

1. I'm forever thankful that eight years ago, my newly adopted dog didn't choke to death or die from internal damage done by consuming much of the turkey carcass. 

Yes, the number one thing I'm thankful for is that I didn't accidentally maim or kill my beloved dog, just a few short weeks after adopting her. We were incredibly fortunate. Essentially, we learned the hard way, and fast, that: 

  • When you have friends over, always keep an eye on the dog, even as you toast your friends new marriage
  • Big dogs can be light on their feet
  • Just because your dog had dinner doesn't mean their full stomach is going to give them good advice

In minutes, Cleo had snuck back upstairs and pulled the cooked turkey carcass off the counter. Long story short, we soon were getting her to eat several liverwurst and peanut butter coated 100% cotton balls. Fortunately the rest is history because she's currently giving me "the look" as we finish vacuuming before guests arrive.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Happy Thanksgiving dog lovers! Do you have any special reasons why you're thankful this year? Any unusual family stories you want to share? We won't judge. 

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