My dogs are old. There’s no denying it: they’re 91 in dog years, their noses are grey, they’re slowing down and they’re getting creaky and wobbly. Neo is still fairly sprightly, but Eddie is on so many brain-stimulating drugs and steroids he would be banned from any sporting event (and has a new nickname, Contadog, which will only be amusing if you follow professional cycling).
Although it’s sad in some ways that they no longer look like this …………….
(WARNING! CUTENESS OVERLOAD!)
ERMAHGERD EPIC CUTENESS
TOO MUCH CUTE
……………. I have decided there are benefits to having old dogs too.
1) It forces you to slow down
When the boys were young, if I had a bunch of stuff on my “do list” that I was stressing over, we could go for a nice brisk walk and get home quickly. Now, that’s no longer an option. Eddie in particular is too unsteady on his back legs for any sort of power walking. So now, we meander, we pootle, we stroll, we spend a lot of time standing still while they sniff the latest interesting smells. And this is good for me. It helps me to be mindful, to enjoy the moment, to stop and look around and the sky, the trees, the beautiful autumn colours. It’s no longer a power walk, it’s more of a moving meditation.
2) You have an amazing bond
Eddie and Neo have been in my life for 13 years. 13 years!!!!!!!!!!! That’s amazing! The only other living creatures I’ve lived under the same roof with for that length of time are parents and husband. I’ve known my dogs longer than I’ve known most of my friends. After so long together, we know each other so well, and we love each other very much ❤
3) You learn to relax and enjoy the small moments
After Eddie’s last trip to the vets when his back legs had pretty much gone, he was put on steroids which have definitely given him a new lease of life – still, we think it’s unlikely he’ll be with us for more than a matter of months. So, we want him to enjoy every moment he has left. When he decides he wants to walk through some really stinky mud on his walk, we let him. Life’s too short to not do what you love, and really, who gives a shit if the carpet gets muddy, when it puts a big smile on his face? This lesson is a good one to apply to our own lives, too.
4) You no longer need an alarm clock
Steroids make dogs drink more, so Eddie wakes us up more or less on the dot of 7.30 most morning, sometimes earlier. No alarm necessary!
5) It reminds you of your own mortality
See point (3) above. Life is short – we know this all the time, but we so easily forget it. Knowing that our boys are nearing the end of their lives reminds me every day to cherish every moment with them. And then, of course, I extend this to the rest of my life as well – after all, none of us have guarantees, and it’s entirely possible that I’ll be wiped out by a logging truck next week and my dogs will outlive me. So I try to live every day to the full, to be mindful, to take good care of myself, to move away from negative, draining things and do more of what I love. I don’t always get it right, but at least I’m moving in the right direction.
6) It teaches you kindness and patience
I’m naturally an impatient person – if you ask my husband he’ll probably tell you its the thing he’d most like to change about me. When the boys were younger you could scurry them out of the way if you were rushing around. Now, their old age means you really can’t. So when a dog is lying in a doorway I have to be patient, and gentle with him, and let him move out of the way before I can go where I want to go. And rather than getting cross with them, it’s teaching me to be kinder, and hopefully a nicer person.
So there you go, 6 reasons why a dog really is for life, and how it’s great for you as well as them to be in it for the long haul.
My elderly gents ❤