Empathy and Compassion: The role older dogs play
NBC's Clear the Shelters Adoptathon 2016

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.


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?"

A different kind of meditation

Every, single, time, I perk up, they perk up, and we all get to business! It's a bit like meditation only you're moving around. Because most of the dogs are little, I have to focus on not stepping on their dancing toes, and not loving on them too hard. With their individual personalities and needs, they require my full attention and focus.

Awareness breeds compassion

It's also important to pay attention to their body language. Being older dogs, they are experts at showing you signs that say, "Yes, come sit with me, or no, I want some space." This is the time when you gain a wider awareness of how we all age at our own pace. We all need compassion and when I experience this need with the older dogs, it focuses me on something much more important than what's on TV.

Older dogs, like JR from Muttville, are the best medicine when you're feeling out of sorts, or worried about the future. Hang around one and I promise you, the world outside will fade away, even for just a little while. The atmosphere being near an older dog is calming, and meditative.

Do you have a senior dog? Have you had these meditative experiences too?

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