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Your article made me cry. Every word of it is so true. I have an eleven year old Irish Setter who is the love of my life...need I say more?
Maybe we should just ask these people if they would ask the same question of someone's 90 year old mother. Although "Do you know you have a wart on your chin?" I love it!!
I saw that you had an Irish Setter named Amos and smiled, because one of my very favorite Irish Setters is named Amos. Then I saw your byline and realized - such a small world - they are the same dog! I absolutely love "The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch"!! Not to mention the sequel, "The Amazing Amos." Oh...I have to go read them again...wonderful books...thank you.
Thanks for this article. It made me cry for Pam and for myself as I have an old dog with an inoperable tumor. She is happy and in no pain so why do people have to be so ugly about it? I shouldn't have to wait until dark to play with my sweet dear old dog. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for writing this. I have five dogs, and two of them are in their golden years. One of them was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and is now a tripawd because of it. I have yet to experience any strangers making rude, tacky, or classless remarks like you talk about. I cannot imagine anyone being so thoughtless or insensitive when it comes to my dogs, who I love so much.
I know they are getting old. I see it everyday, and it makes me sad. I cannot bare the thought of not having them by my side one day. I don't know how I'll deal with it. I do everything I can to keep them as healthy as they can be. They get plenty of exercise, the best food I can afford, and lots of love. I've been researching supplements for dogs, and now all of my pack get fish oil, and the older ones also get glucosamine and chondroitin. I even started a website to help other people learn about the benefits of fish oil for dogs, and soon will do the same for glucosamine and chondroitin. I do not sell anything on my site, so if anyone is interested in checking it out, please feel free to drop by: http://efishoilfordogs.com I know it isn't pretty, but I'm learning as I go.
Thanks again for for this post.
I laughed, I cried, and I took this advice. What a beautiful piece.
i'm a big fan of senior dogs and always try to promote them to those considering adoption... i have two seniors myself... and it's true.. senior dogs don't often get the same respect as their human counterparts... i'm glad somebody put it up for attention... thanks...
My sister had a dog that lived to be nearly 17 years old. During the last days of his life he became very thin and bony. (He was still eating at this point, but just couldn't keep weight on). People would question why he looked so "awful". He was obviously a senior. But he was happy and lively. I didn't like people assuming we didn't take care of him; on the contrary he lived a very long time!
What a beautiful story! I just lost my cocker spaniel at the age of 17 and it was so heart wrenching to have to make the decision to put her to rest. She had terrible skin problems in her later life, and yes, friends and family would say "what's wrong with her"? and make faces! Really? She was still the most beautiful sweet dog to me - and I made sure she knew it every day.
thank you for such a wonderful article. Full of humor and truth. I so appreciate this information getting out there.
I just had to out my dog down a few weeks ago. It was the hardest thing, I ever had to do in my life so far. I know exactly what your saying but it seems to me that people have become much more rude in general feeling as though they have every right to judge you and your life. Well, I just adopted two dogs yesterday from the SPCA, I needed to fill that empty space. Its crazy how much you can fall in love with animals.
I have just read your article - 2 years later but feel that I have to make a comment. My Irish Setter bitch Cleo is now 11 1/2 years old. She was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure and she has very bad arthritis. BUT, and it is a huge but, she is being medicated for her heart condition and, along her pain medication for the arthritis, she is acting more like a teenager than when she was younger. It is as though she has a completely new lease on life.
Because of our particularly hot summer (in South Africa) I have had her shaved and she is all legs and feathery tail which look totally incongruous with her gentle grey face.
I have been told that she is really an ugly dog (I disagree because to me Irish Setters have to be the most beautiful dogs in the world)and I just don't care what people think. When she looks at me with those soulful deep brown eyes I am lost in the love that I feel for her.
As long as she is as frisky and chirpy as she is I will do everything in my power to keep her with us and to share the best years of her life with her - no matter what other people might say.
There is one problem however - along with this new lease on life she has also developed the most incredible appetite and nothing is safe from her greedy paws. Still it a small price to pay for the love she shows every minute of every day.
I love point of view!i had a dog who was 16 when she died.she was my family's guard dog.was killed in a fight.people commented on her age to.
My dog was adopted from the shelter, she was very overweight, people made unkind comments as we walked to get her fit. She lost weight, and we continued to walk until she could no longer. As she aged she required medication for her pretty severe arthritic condition. People comment your dog is limping etc. She loved going out even if it was just to the corner. She became such a sweet dog and towards the end of her life she continued to go out. I loved her very much and she will be forever missed. And yes having dogs is like breathing, you love them and they are never out of your mind.
This article left a lump in my throat.. I had a 'friend' that once said: " Your Maltese dog is so old (14yrs old).. can't i leave him behind someone's car for you just before they reverse"... needless to say that someone so insensitive is not my 'friend' anymore, i prefer the furry 'friends' .. unconditional love and acceptance that we could all practice in human life... my darling 'son' died a year ago of cancer complications RIP my Floyd, mommy loves you forever xxx
Well, I do think that people can be too sensitive. I assume that when someone comments on my dogs, they are being kind and sympathetic, and maybe just want to talk. BUT, several years ago I adopted a Pekingese (possibly a mix). She was the cutest little thing! However, the first time I took her out with me, some woman (about 30-40 years old) started laughing and pointing, and cackled, "That's the ugliest dog I've ever seen!" Too late I thought, I should have said, "Have you looked in the mirror lately?"
Im sat here, smelly dog at my feel, tears streaming down my face, after reading this letter.
My dog is 17, blind, smells like musty old socks, shakes, collapses, twitches due to a heart murmer, has recenty suffered a "stroke" and cant manage a proper walk ( this is recent problem) until last week when he was bitten by another dog. he would pld along as if walking on hot coals, then getting a whiff of a squirell race of in to the woods. Now he just aches, and shivers.
decline can be so rapid, alarming, isolating for both owner and pet. Yet my dog dexter, eats, sleeps, wees ( all over the place) licks my hand when approached, tried to sneak food off my plate or eat my crips. Waggs his tail when I get home from work, if fighting every inch of every day to stay alive. he is strong, I on the other hand cry with the humanity of his situation. But I will fight with him, for aslong as he wants me too.
I love dogs. plain and simple. And senior dogs are my favorite. I mostly feel sorry for the people out there who don't see the immeasurable value of a pet, even at an advanced age. This is when they need us the most. This is the time, after devoting their entire life to us, that we should give them our very best. I lost two senior dogs in 2011 and it was the worst year of my life. You think you won't make it, but you do. And now I have another. And I don't adopt puppies, I adopt older dogs. And I know I will go through that again. But every moment I have them in my life makes it worth it. We don't dispose of humans when they grow old, though I am also appalled at how little senior adults are valued as well. I love them too. A slow walk, a loving massage, a nap in the sun...we can embrace these moments with our pets and although it can be bittersweet, there is joy in seeing how we bring them comfort, let them know how important and loved they are, thank them for everything they've given. The same goes for people. So do what you want with your dogs - take them out in public, educate people on the value of their lives no matter what their age, tell them when they're hurtful or inappropriate. Or just feel sorry for them. Because karma is a bitch and one day they will grow old and fear their diminished bodies but know they still have much to give and teach and say that nobody seems to want to hear. And they may remember their lack of compassion when they were younger. Some people just don't know better. How sad for them to have lived and never have known the unexplainable love and bond a human can have with an animal. And be happy you are the loving person that you are. Because your dog knows, and in my opinion their is the only opinion that truly matters.
I really liked your comment -- I'm a "serial" elderly adopter, too. There's nothing like bringing an old dog home from the shelter or pound, and having him live out his days with your, hiking and then lazing around afterwards. Soooo much easier than life with a puppy or young dog, and it feels, to my mind, much more rewarding. Sure, you miss them when they're gone, and you have a bad day at the end, but then you have the opportunity to do it all over again. I'm with you -- YOUR DOG'S OPINION IS THE ONLY ONE THAT TRULY MATTERS! :0)
Thanks for saying exactly what I feel. I too adopt elder dogs and lost so many in an 18 month period my neighbors were concerned for my sanity. BUT, Pheona and Noel who were "sisters" all their lives needed a home at 10 years old. They are now 14 and I know I won't have them with me much longer. Dodger was 8 when he came to live with us and is now about 11 and a real mommas boy!! They bring a lot of love and peace to my life and I know another special elder will need a happy place after these babies leave me.
I recently lost my Black Lab on November 21, 2012 to malignant melanoma and my Golden Retriever on March 19, 2013 to a pulmonary embolism. My heart has been breaking every day since. I most especially despise the people who have informed me that after all, "it is only a dog." My dogs are members of my family and as such deserving of my full respect, love and support. Anyone who thinks my beautiful companions are worth anything less than that are not worth my time, except to assure them that if they pass I will not mourn.
Children are a blessing and your pets are so a blessing. children grow up too fast and your dog, cat, or what ever will grow old to fast... My baby girl is a 12 year old perfect chocolate Labrador and all i want for her is comfort for the next year or so she will have with us. What wonderful gift she has been wish I had realized how fast time was going bye for her to be with us. Yep she is just a dog and a very good dog most everyone has told us for year's ...So if anyone tells me things that seem cold or cruel I just say to them she is worth every minute she has lived to make me happy every day the least I can do is show her kindly that she did a good job of it! Tell them with a smile! some people don't have the luck of the love of a good animal.
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