As many of you know, I’ve always been a dog person and more recently, I’ve become a cat person too. Still lots to learn about the feline species, but Ninja and I are figuring each other out.
You might want to read, A Little Black & White Cat Named Ninja.
Our English springer spaniel, Sophie, just turned 13. It’s unbelievable to think how quickly those 13 years have gone by, and I suppose me writing this post is in part, the beginning of my preparation for that day that is coming all too soon, but not entirely.
I just happen to love old dogs.
Other than some arthritis and pretty much total (as far as we can tell) loss of her hearing, Sophie is in good shape, again, as far as we can tell anyway. No one would likely guess her age. (Not sure I can say the same.) But she’s old. Not older. Not getting older. Old.
I’ve written quite a few times about the beloved pets in my family, and in this post, I want to share six things I love about living with a dear old dog. I hope you’ll share reasons why you love (or once loved) living with an old dog (or cat) too.
1. You have history.
As I’ve shared before, my dogs Elsie and Sophie were the only ones with me when I heard the words, you have a cancer. Before that, they brought the special kind of comfort only dear pets can bring when my mother was dying from metastatic breast cancer. More recently, when my dad entered assisted living and then hospice care, Sophie once again rose to the occasions delivering the sort of support only she could deliver.
After my parents’ deaths, all the pets in the family delivered more comfort than even my siblings and I thought was possible, each in their own unique way.
Eye witnesses and secret keepers – that’s what my pets have been. Sophie’s still keeping secrets to this day. (Good girl, Sophie.)
In addition to helping me through tough times, my pets and I know yours, too, are part of the good times, milestones big and small – birthdays, holiday celebrations, graduations, vacations, weddings, countless walks and all the other day-to-day stuff that makes up life.
Sophie’s witnessed it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes the very ugly.
2. An old dog’s devotion is unconditional and above all, something to count on.
Old dogs offer devotion (and a whole lot more) without asking for much in return. They’ve grown accustomed to our routines, our moods and even our mannerisms. They know us well, and they love us anyway. They never tire of just hanging out with us.
Can’t really say the latter about your human family members and friends, no matter how much they love you, right?
3. Old dogs are not as much work.
Again, old dogs don’t ask for much. As long as I feed Sophie on time, give her water and let her out a certain number of times a day, she’s pretty content. She’s still very much up for our daily walks, but she’s equally happy to sleep at my feet (or on my bed) while I work at my writing or while I do whatever else I decide needs doing. She goes with the flow. Nice.
4. Old dogs don’t get into trouble, okay, not as much trouble.
Puppies are great, but gosh, they are a ton of work. A ton. Anyone who’s had one or has one, knows this to be true. And you don’t have to worry so much about old dogs getting into the trash, shredding stuff up, chewing on the the couch and so on.
(Granted, Sophie still is very much a food thief, especially if my back is turned. But as a food lover myself, I can relate.)
5. Old dogs have woven their way into your routines and into your heart.
Old dogs are wise dogs. For the most part, they’ve got you and your expectations pretty much figured out. They even have that wise look, that seems to say things like: I get it. I know what you mean. Don’t worry. I missed you. I love you.
You’ve both gotten to that stage when you know each other well. It’s a trust thing. Your bond has deepened into something that sometimes surprises even you.
6. Old dogs are the best companions because, well, because they’re old.
You can both relax and just enjoy each other’s company. They teach us a thing or two about slowing down. Napping. And just vegging out. The stress of that oftentimes hyper-active puppy-hood is long gone.
Don’t get me wrong, puppies are great, and is there anything more adorable than a puppy?
I think not. But time spent with an old dog compares with nothing else.
So, those are six reasons why I love living with an old dog.
I’d love to hear yours.
What do you love (or what did you love) about living with an old dog (or cat)?
Share how your pet(s) help/helped you cope with cancer or just life in general.
Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?