It has been such a gift to have a dog grow old with me. Adopting her as an adult made our experiences interesting, and after our years together, I'm convinced that senior dogs rule.
Spending time together I learned about her likes and dislikes. We discovered her favorite, over-the-moon, reward. Hint, liver or sardines, in either order, or even better, together.
Living with my first old dog had me experiencing life in a new and unexpected way, giving me a point of view that helped me better understand my aging parents.
She showed me in her body language how she trusted my judgement. As she aged, the more she listened to me on our walks, paying closer attention to my words. Rather than Cleo insisting on charging ahead, we learned to explore side by side.
As the days went by with my best friend, I discovered an old dog can learn new tricks and develop new habits. Some of these habits I am only now finally decoding, and they include the ways she showed me how much she loved me.
Here are nine signs an old dog loves you:
1 - Rather than snatch it from your plate, your old dog patiently waits for that one sardine she knows you're saving to share after lunch.
2 - When you ask for a kiss, knowing she's blind, she throws out a hundred attempts at nibbling your nose, until one strikes.
3 - If you tell her to stand on the corner of a city sidewalk, while you run across the street to dump her poop into the garbage bin, she doesn't move an inch.
4 - She doesn't panic when you get up to go downstairs to put on your hoodie before taking her out for a night pee.
5 - When her favorite bedding needs washing, your old dog will let you substitute your bedspread for her to nap on until the dryer stops.
6 - Your old dog allows you to spoon them on the floor while you watch Dancing with the Stars.
7 - Instead of pulling away and trying to hide, your old dog sighs, and lets you give them a waterless bath.
8 - Even if in the middle of napping after a tiring walk, your senior dog will get up and slowly make their way over to figure out what you're cooking and whether it's something they need to taste.
9 - With every birthday, she lets go of her fears or need to control her environment, and puts herself in your hands. She is able to focus on what you're telling her through your words and actions. She trusts you to protect her and do the right thing for her.
Through my experiences with Cleo and her aging process, I am determined to help raise awareness about the joys found in having a senior dog in your life. Our adventures together should go in a book! I certainly tried to document some of the fun in the thousands of photos snapped.
Do you have an old dog? How do they show you that they love you?