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An Older Dog Is an Extra Special Dog

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?


Sophie looking pretty darn cute as a pup!

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?

Who knows?

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.  

An older dog is an extra special dog.

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!

An older dog is an extra special dog.

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?

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How do you move on when a dog dies? |

Wednesday 10th of September 2014

[…] happens often when you’re an older dog, I guess. Ace doesn’t seem sad about it like I […]


Monday 16th of June 2014

My dog is 10 1/2, and we have been together for 9 1/2 of those years. Her first year probably was not a good one, as I found her in a high kill shelter in South Florida. When she picked me, she had pneumonia and was severely underweight. She had obviously been abused, when I tried to pet her she would cower and cry. I worked with her and with lots of love, good food and patience, she is now a happy healthy senior dog. I don't think I would have made it through my breast cancer treatments without Daisy by my side. I have no other family and she was always there for me. I often wonder who rescued who?


Monday 16th of June 2014

Nancebeth, Your Daisy sounds just wonderful. Good for you for rescuing her and transforming her life, but then again, it sounds like she transformed yours as well. I'm so glad she's been there for you through the cancer chaos and beyond. Thanks so much for sharing about her. And yes, that's a good question!


Sunday 15th of June 2014

Elsie is a special dog to me. She has a look that just says "love" to me. I don't even get quite that same look from my own dog.

I really enjoyed reading all these comments because it shows how special every dog is. As a blogging friend of mine wrote one time, aren't we all lucky to each have ended up with the "best" dogs?

It makes me so sad to imagine life without my dog, but it helps to know every dog is special. I've had friends lose their beloved dogs recently and it gives me hope to see them adopt new dogs and eventually love and bond with them just as much.

Dogs help me to appreciate every day and I hope I can always have at least one.


Monday 16th of June 2014

Lindsay, I think you're right about that look Elsie gives you. I know she has a special love for you. I loved reading all the comments too... It makes me sad to imagine that too, but I also know the memories are forever and as you said, every dog that comes into our lives is special. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment.


Saturday 14th of June 2014

Nancy, we have a ten year old shepherd/aussie mix who came from a kill shelter in the south. The story was that her mother was a puppy mill shepherd who had a mixed breed litter. I did see her brother who looked like an aussie, and my dog, Keema, looks like a petite shepherd. She's always been fearful: we call her "Keema the brave"--but she does the best she can, and is a complete love. She tolerates my daughter's tough little "sato dog" from Puerto Rico--who is now 7. When my granddaughter was born, my daughter's dog was disgusted, but Keema adored her immediately. I've always had dogs and couldn't imagine life without one. Recently, I was offered a Portuguese Water Dog puppy, and although it was enticing, we decided that Keema would be miserable. So, just one aging dog at this point. Every night I wrap my arm for lymphedema, and every night Keema jumps onto the bed and keeps me company and turns what could be an ordeal into an opportunity to tell her how amazing she is.


Sunday 15th of June 2014

Kira, Thank you for sharing about your dear Keema. Our pets do the best they can too. I like how you put that. Sometimes we expect too much perfection from them... I cannot imagine myself ever not having a dog either. Pets bring so much into our lives. They enrich them; I guess that's what it boils down to. I'm glad you have your amazing Keema in your life.

Beth L. Gainer

Friday 13th of June 2014

Hi Nancy,

I loved this post! I can totally relate, though I've never had a dog, but the same thing can be said about cats. I have a six-year-old tuxedo cat (Ninja's double) and a 15-year-old brown tabby. As she ages, I try to make her more comfortable. She has taught me a lot. Like puppies, kittens are loads of cuteness and fun, but I think kitties are more destructive in the house. That's why I only adopt adult cats, plus they are less likely to find homes than kittens.

I'd like to think that animals gain wisdom as they age. And an aging companion can be the best one. Their needs are simpler.

By the way, my older cat has always acted like a kitten to some extent. She still runs around the house and causing mischief. Her vet jokingly says that's not "normal," but as we all know, what is normal anyway?


Friday 13th of June 2014

Beth, I'm glad you liked the post. I know you are more a cat-oriented gal, and they are pretty darn precious as companions too. It's nice how they generally live longer. Dogs' lives are so short. I like to think all of us, our pets included, grow wiser with age, but who knows? Regardless, spending time with an aging pet is something special. Thanks for reading and sharing about your sweet cats.

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