Fact: Senior dogs are the best dogs. They know the routine, how to communicate, how to act. They’re polite, gentle, disciplined and calm. It seems like they can read your mind, they’re always prepared for your every move.
They don’t bound and spring through the world anymore, but who cares? Neither do older humans. Just like senior people, they slow down and enjoy the little things. Like good food or sitting somewhere beautiful with the sun on their face, sniffing the fresh air.
The only hard part of having a senior dog is combating the constant judgement and comments of total strangers in public. As your dog’s face greys and they slow down, strangers begin to feel that they must throw in their two cents about your beloved family member. If they don’t offer their input directly to you, they will commence to comment loudly to people around them about your dog.
“Oh, how sad…” they’ll say, or unbelievably, “She’s being so cruel, keeping that dog alive.”
The public’s comments will become a constant drumbeat that will wear you down and shame you out of embracing and enjoying all the years your senior dog has ahead of him or her. You will gnash your teeth and build an invisible protective wall around you and your dog, helping you to ignore the comments and stares. You’ll be so grateful when some wonderful person actually wants to say hi to your dog because they know about senior dogs. But if you’re not careful, it’s easy to begin to believe, a little bit at first, and then whole heartedly after a while that, yes, maybe I am being cruel, maybe my dog needs to be put out of his or her misery.
I truly believe that some loving owners that have an otherwise healthy senior dog, ends the dog’s life years earlier than needed because they are told over and over it’s wrong to keep them alive. But what if you ignore all those voices? What if you took your dog out proudly and when someone says, “Oh, how sad!” You say firmly, “It’s not sad, it’s wonderful that she’s having such a long life and is so happy.”
Soon enough your precious old dog will say goodbye to you without your help. They will look you in the eye and let you know that they don’t want to be on earth anymore. They will wake up one morning and refuse to eat breakfast. Then they will close their eyes, take a deep breath and and they will leave you. So why not just wait until that day comes and in the meantime, you and your beautiful old dog can just enjoy their very best years, the golden years.