03 August 2009

Advantages of Being a Senior Dog

As an Indulged Furry you get a lot of special treatment and latitude when you’re old. I’m just a few days shy of my 17th birthday, so I know what I’m talking about. When I was younger I was never allowed to be near the dining room table when my humans ate. They believe it is ill-mannered for a dog to beg during mealtime, especially since I’m fed my dinner before they eat so they know I’m not hungry. And for some reason they find panting doggy breath unappealing while they eat! The rules in our house are so strict that I couldn’t even sit a few feet away from the table and stare at them. Mom calls that “begging from a distance” and it is not tolerated. But for the last few months the rules have been relaxed a little. If I come by the table while they’re eating I’m allowed to stay, as long as I lie down. This new tolerance is only because mom knows I’m not trying to be disobedient. I just don’t remember all the rules anymore and I’m coming for some petting, not their food. It’s also a lot of effort for both of us navigate around the dining room table as she tries to coax me back to my bed in the living room.

Being “in the way” is also something I get to do more often because it’s too hard for me to get up and get “out of the way”. Unless I’m causing a safety issue, everyone, including the cats, just steps over me. There are still times when I have to move – like when I’m lying in front of the freezer and they have to get food out. But even then, sometimes they just slide me out of the way so I don’t have to get up.

When mom is feeling really indulgent, she brings me my night-time meal on my bed. I’m always excited about my food, but just lying there and all of a sudden your food bowl appears – wow – that’s gets my tail wagging. Mom says it’s good for me to get my “happy hormones” flowing.

This next one isn’t a fun topic, but it’s part of a senior dog’s life. Going potty can become difficult for an old guy like me. Sometimes my hips are sore and my legs are really tired so it’s hard for me to squat to go potty. And it’s especially difficult when it takes a long time to go potty because I can’t feel everything that goes on back there anymore. Well, a couple weeks ago I was a bit shaky while doing my “business” so mom came over and supported my rear end and thighs. She just stood behind me and held under my thighs while I squatted. Now that’s a thoughtful mommy!

The other advantage I have in being a senior is that I no longer have to tolerate extreme outdoor temperatures. It can get below freezing here in the winter mornings, and over 100 degrees in the summers, but I’m not out in those extremes anymore. Last winter I stayed in the house until lunch-time, when mom would make a trip home from work to let me out. And this summer, mom or dad comes home from work at lunch to bring me in the house so I’m not out in the heat. It’s a bit of extra driving for them, but they think it’s making it easier for my system to not have to try to stay warm or keep cool.

Life as an Old Doggy has its ups and downs, but with extra consideration and help from your humans, your later years can be very enjoyable.

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