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.
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.
I'm creeping into my fifties, slowly but surely, moving into old age no matter how good my skin looks thanks to sunscreen, how many vegetables I eat, or how many hours I sleep. Thanks to many experiences I had with my old dog, my perspective is different. She left me the amazing gift of her approach to it all.
Through her example, I saw first hand how to manage inevitable issues like diminished vision and stiff hips. Her sunny disposition mellowed into a quiet joy and acceptance. She never let old age stop her from enjoying our display of love, and affection.
One of my joys in life today is time spent with old dogs.
Each week I visit with the old dogs at Muttville, and spend time caring for them. They give me such affection and attention, as if trying to update me on all the newest lessons available from their life in the golden lane. It’s wonderful.
If you find yourself creeping through middle age, and haven’t experienced time with an old dog, rectify that as soon as possible. I truly believe caring for, and about, older dogs can enrich your life as much as theirs.
Those initial life lessons that my dog shared with me? I’m currently getting continuing education from the senior mutts at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
Have you learned any lessons from an older dog that has helped you with the aging process?