He doesn't move fast, he sheds, has gas, and eats like a horse.
And he's having "accidents".
Friends of ours fostered this dog. I think they were growing attached to him, despite the wet spots on the carpeting. Then along came an elderly couple, who fell and love and adopted the droopy-eared guy. They said it was their mission to give a good home to senior dogs.
And I immediately thought, THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO DO! Adopt, or foster, senior dogs. After all, we have Kelly. She's 13 and living life to the fullest!
|Kelly, now 13, is a happy senior dog.|
And Ike, at age 8 is considered a senior as well.
|Check out Ike's white spectacles!|
And we had Brooks, the best dog we've ever known. He was 11 years old when we adopted him. He seemed healthy, except for allergies. Then he was diagnosed with cancer, and died suddenly before we celebrated his One Year with our family.
Losing Brooks was one of the most difficult experiences I've faced. I stood by his gurney at the Emergency Vet, while he went into grand mal seizures, one after another. They said there was no option but to euthanize him, the cancer was most likely in his brain. I couldn't let them do it. Everyone left the room but me and Brooks, and I couldn't even pat the dog, who was no longer the Brooks I knew, because he was thrashing and foaming at the mouth. The vet popped her head in the door and asked if I was ready. "No," I said. So they gave me some more time with Brooks. The seizure passed and he was asleep, exhausted, barely alive.
"Are you ready?"
Finally, I couldn't let Brooks face another seizure, and we had to say goodbye. I'll never, ever forget Brooks' gentle soul, his stoic acceptance of what must have been great pain in the days, weeks, who knows how long before he was diagnosed. The way he melted at my touch. He was so submissive, he would never look into my eyes. But every night he sat with me in my big green chair, chin on my lap.
|Brooks, age 11, happy in my lap!|
This wasn't supposed to be a memorial to the greatest dog that ever lived. This was supposed to be a post about why I want to adopt or foster senior dogs. I want to, because senior dogs are gentle and noble, often tired, yet full of wisdom that comes from experience. I can't stand to see them lonely and homeless in their golden years. They deserve a soft, comfy bed, and the peace of having a consistent, stable, loving home until they go to the rainbow bridge. I love senior dogs.
But then, I reconsider, could I do it? Would I be able to do love another dog as magnificent as Brooks, only to lose him in too short a time? Would I be able to do it once more, or twice, or again and again? Would the comfort of knowing I'm helping these sweet dogs outweigh the grief of losing them?
Does it hurt to lose a dog after having him for only one year any more--or less--than to lose a dog after having him for 8 or 10 or 13 years? It's quick and easy to get attached to a dog. Losing is painful, no matter when it happens.
|Going Strong: a very old dog I met at Bark for Life Walk-a-thon.|
So, if and when I adopt or foster senior dogs, I won't focus upon the losing. Instead, I'll keep my mind on the present. The happy times, where I witness this dog being loved and cared for, walking in the fresh air, sleeping on that comfy bed. Chasing a tennis ball, lounging on the couch, getting hair all over that couch, getting muddy paw prints on my kitchen floor. If I stay in the present, if I focus on what this dog needs right now, if I don't think about that part at the end when my tears flow and that comfy bed is empty...then, maybe then, I can foster senior dogs.
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