They Tell Me I Have A Senior Dog…

Maybe I am the only one that has irrational, obsessive thoughts about my dogs.  I adopted my boys from a Tampa, Florida animal shelter when they were young.  Brickle was actually six months old, and when we adopted Digby, he was about a year and a half.  From the moment we welcomed them into our home, I had that irrational, obsessive thought.  How long would I have with them?

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Like many, I had loved and lost…lost other furkids by the passing of time or illness.  I found myself comparing every moment I had with Brickle and Digby to the furkids before them.  And I knew this was unhealthy.  Yet, as many circumstances do to us in life, they affect us.  And I couldn’t push these thoughts away.

So that was about seven years ago.  Now, my boys, Brickle and Digby are nearing their ninth birthdays in 2018.  It literally seems like yesterday that they came into our lives.  Yet, why can’t I remember my life before them? Where does the time go?

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I know this sounds odd, but even though I have always tried to prepare myself for their aging process, I never could have prepared for the feelings I have now.  I look at them, and I don’t see any senior dogs.  I don’t see any old dogs…although so many people make comments when we walk by them like, “Oh, look at those old boys”. At first, I wonder who they are talking about. My dogs?  How can they be old?

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When did this happen, and why do I even care about their ages?  They are healthy and happy.  And it is just the plain and simple truth that as each day passes, well, I get older too.  Do I think about this everyday?  No.  So why should I obsess about it with my dogs?

I know the facts, or at least the facts as I have been told by vets and research online.  There seems to be some magic formula that when your dog reaches seven, that he is now a senior.  And there is all kinds of research on how long each breed can live.  I could spend all of my time reading this and taking my dogs to vets.  Wow, would that be a lot of time wasted with my dogs.  And so, now, every time that I am told I have “some old dogs”, I feel proud.  Because although they are getting older with each passing day, and I am too, I feel compelled to tell others that their worth grows day by day as well.

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If we let numbers or terms dictate how we live our days, are we not living for others and their standards… not our own?  I see my dogs and their gray hair.  I see their slowing strides and longer naps.  But I also see that with care and devotion, the time we can spend together will be as long as we can make it.  That means not giving in to an age or a standard.  What it does mean is taking responsibility as their person to give them the best life and the most healthy life possible.  Exercise, travel and eating right are part of the routine in our house.  And I won’t change that no matter what age they are.

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If we simply give up on our dogs by just calling them seniors or old, it will rub off on them and their worth.  I know this to be true.  Treating them differently because they are old emotionally isn’t healthy for them, and it is not healthy for us.  When I changed my attitude, and my thoughts from concentrating on how long we had left together, to making the time we had now special…well…it changed our relationship. And I saw a little more spring in their step.  I saw their happiness. And that is because they saw mine.

Yes, I am a crazy dog person.  A dog mom.  But I wouldn’t change anything about my life, because my dogs are in it.  I appreciate the times I had with them when they were young, but I could have appreciated the time more if I had not been obsessed about the future.  I won’t make that same mistake now.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.

So they tell me I have a “senior dog”.  Well.  That’s awesome.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person, 2 Traveling Dogs

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9 thoughts on “They Tell Me I Have A Senior Dog…

  1. Susan Espinoza

    Your Dogs are so healthy looking And honestly 7 is not old at all plus DIGBY AND BRICKS HAVE A MIX IN THEM WHICH REALLY HELPS THEIR LIFELINE YOU HAVE GIVEN THEN SUCH A GREAT ADVENTURE THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL HANDSOME BOYS TRUST ME WHEN MY ANIMALS HAVE GONE IN I WANT TO GO WITH THEM ITS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE RACHAEL I SAW SOMTHING ON FACEBOOK TGE OTHER DAY THAT WAS WONDERFUL IT SAID “If only Rainbow Bridge had Visiting hours”wow if only Best of luck back to that Florida place take care you 4❤️💛💜💗💖💚💛❤️💗

    Susanbeth_e@yahoo.com

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. All of my grandbabies are covered in fur, as well as all the furniture ,clothing ,countertops….. We wouldn’t have it any other way. No, those babies arent old!! They are teachers on four legs. Traveling place to place to awaken people to the beauty that surrounds all of us.And reminding all of us to be grateful for the time we do have together. I really wish Rachael that you would consider writing a series of childrens books. You have such a way of putting your heart and soul into what you say. Imagine if little ones could hear bed time stories that you made.and grow up with the knowledge that sure they might look different but they are treasures put on earth for us to treasure. Maybe animal neglect and cruelty would finally start to fade away We can only hope. Love you guys give the babies a kiss for me.

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  3. Karen

    My baby girl is 15. She is my best friend. She has been with me thru two bouts of cancer. She also has a chronic condition little dogs are prone to. So, I guess, we take care of each other!

    I watch her every day for signs that she is ready to go over the Rainbow Bridge. I really don’t know what I’ll do without her. I love her so.

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  4. Jackie black

    I have a young 12 years old.We rescued her and her beloved mother Lisa. 12 years ago. Sadly we lost Lisa 2 years ago and wee Abi reminds us so much of her mum and yet is such a character in her own way. Rescues give so much and never leave our hearts.

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  5. sharon washburn

    we have a 13 yr old jack Russell. he has arthritis in his hips. he takes medication that has prednisone in it. it really helps the shaking but makes him famished all the time. he gets his exercise searching for food!! and it makes him a little grumpy!!! we love him so much. don’t want to imagine life without him.

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  6. Patricia Moller

    Rachel, I can relate to your feelings. When my last little girl, Samantha was 13 she looked like a puppy because she was small and was a “party poodle” with white eyebrows and a white chest and front legs., plus she was gray. People didn’t realize she was old but I knew and when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge my heart broke but I couldn’t grieve because my husband was so sick I had to care for him. I lost them both and I’m considering another poodle (allergies) until I decide I live thinking about all the wonderful times we had together, she was my girl. Enjoy your boys, I sure have been enjoying them since your first blog and I feel like part of your family. Kiss their noses for me and stop stressing, enjoy this sweet time with them. Hugs ❤️🐾🐾

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  7. Barbara Sevrens

    I have a senior dog she is 15 and seems to be sleeping more. I just love her for being my girl. Right now she is sound a sleep. She didn’t get up with me at 7:30 am. Going into check on her in a minute. Your story was wonderful. L enjoy reading your stories about Digby and Brickle. Have a great day🎄🎅💖💕😝❤

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  8. We lost our senior boy last year and we picked up our two, bonded new dogs from our local shelter. We saw the gray hairs, the ‘age bumps’ and we noticed the slight limp from arthritis in both, BUT we also saw the need for attention and love and we knew they would love us! So we brought them both home. We think they’re around 8-9 years old, maybe older, but we are so thankful for them! They are so sweet and so loving and so giving! I couldn’t imagine life without them. Their being here turned our many tears of sadness over losing our old boy into tears of gladness. And when that awful day comes when they cross that rainbow bridge as we hold them, we’ll go get another pair of old dogs. There is a huge need💕

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