Some people may not understand the appeal of loving a senior dog. But we know that nothing compares to getting to share a good friend’s golden years with them. You’ll definitely notice changes in your dog as he turns grey, but have you seen any changes in yourself?
The following may not apply to everyone, but these are some of the ways your life might change as you spend time with a senior dog.
1. Rules Go Out The Window
All those carefully taught rules that were once etched in stone around your house are quickly forgotten. You may have spent years teaching your dog not to eat “people food” or scolding him when he climbs into your clean laundry. Then as he gets older you find yourself bending or outright breaking your own rules for your senior dog. And after all the loyal companionship they’ve offered you, what’s a little chicken off your plate now that they’re older? You tell your puppy not to beg at dinner, but when he gets older you may find yourself making him an identical meal!
2. You Become More Patient
Whereas our puppies always seem to be in a rush to do everything, our senior dogs take their time. Age slows our dogs down in more ways than one. We learn that loving a senior dog means adjusting to their new pace rather than asking them to keep up with ours. Walks become shorter and slower. Accidents in the house are more likely, but you’d hardly think to complain. Though these aren’t our favorite moments, they’re tiny inconveniences when we get to spend more time with our best friends.
3. You Miss Them Even When They’re In The Room
Remember waking up in the middle of the night to a wet nose nudging your face? Or wishing your dog would take a nap so you could have one of your own? Those moments will become a memory. Your older dog will spend most of his golden years in Dreamland. You may be tempted to wake him up for snuggles or play, but it’s best to let him sleep. Senior dogs need between 15 and 18 hours of sleep a day! A good bed will become more important than ever.
4. You Appreciate The Little Moments Even More
Your dog’s frequent snoozing will make the moments he’s up and active even sweeter. He may not often want to play fetch, but when he does come to drop a ball at your feet it’ll make you feel a little warm and fuzzy. It’s in those moments that you catch a glimpse of the puppy still there, hiding behind the grey.
5. Loving a Senior Dog Means You Love Harder Than You Knew You Could
Watching your dog age isn’t easy. Older dogs may lose the use of their senses, some suffer from dementia, inappetence, and incontinence. It can be painful, but your dog’s later years give you the most precious moments you’ll ever experience. The memories will last forever. You’ll never want to say goodbye, but when you do it’ll be because you loved your dog more than you could have imagined. Even after your senior dog has left, keep him close to your heart, and know that you’ll see him again someday.
There are several ways to remember and honor your dog who has crossed the bridge. Loving a senior dog and saying goodbye doesn’t mean you’ll never love another dog again. Senior dogs often have a hard time finding homes. Check your local shelter if you’re interested in sharing your home with another older dog. You should also consider fospice if you’d like to help a senior dog spend his last days feeling loved before he goes to the Rainbow Bridge.