Ever since I read a recent blog post by dear daughter about her middle-age mutt, Ace, I’ve been “writing” this blog post in my head. I have an older dog. Some would say an old dog, but when does a dog truly become old? When do any of us become old?
Puppies generally garner a whole lot more attention than older dogs. Puppies are lively, furry little bundles of cuteness, okay, and let’s not forget naughtiness too. An adorable, frolicking puppy can bring out a smile in just about anyone, right?
Older dogs on the other hand, tend to garner less attention. But of course they don’t “demand” attention, not like a pup does anyway. Don’t think pups demand attention? Just ask anyone who’s ever had one.
No, older dogs are generally far less demanding, oftentimes “asking” for very little beyond having their basic needs met. Older dogs, or at least many older dogs, are quieter, meandering more slowly throughout their day allowing life’s activities to unfold, or not unfold.
Older dogs tend to be happy going for that walk or run, but equally content just to sit by your side while waiting for that pat on the head or scratch behind the ears. Naps are fine too; in fact, naps are the ultimate opportunity for the older dog to bask in your presence.
Sometimes older dogs are said to look dignified or wise. I guess this is largely due to the natural graying or whitening of their fur, especially when it occurs around their sweet faces.
Are older dogs wiser dogs?
But when you look into the eyes of an older dog, you do see something there that you do not see when you look into the eyes of a youthful puppy.
Is it wisdom?
Is it maturity?
Is it compassion?
Is it devotion?
Is it love?
Or do we just imagine that we see these things because we want to see them?
I don’t know the answers, and it doesn’t matter anyway.
Puppies are enormously fun and the joy and energy they bring into a household is something you can actually feel.
But there is something extra special about sharing your life with an older dog too. If we are paying attention, maybe they even have a thing or two to teach us about growing older.
Good girl, Elsie!
Do you have, or have you ever had, an “older” dog (or cat)?
What do you see when you look into the eyes of an older dog?