There is no easy way to accept the fact that dogs’ lives are never long enough. When the aging process begins to become more evident, it can be a heartbreaking transition, or it can be one of the most inspirational processes you have with your dog.
I adopted Oliver 13 years ago from the SFSPCA. He was a little black and white bundle of terror and love that inspired my career path. He has been by my side through every major transition and experience over the last thirteen years and I can’t think of a better right hand man. A couple of years ago, I started noticing some serious changes in him. He was just a bit stiffer and would exhaust a little sooner. I also began to realize my totally off leash dog was not able to hear me anymore. For the active lifestyle we lived, these changes scared me, they broke my heart. It took some time for me to realize that after all the changes he supported me through, it was now time for me to support him through his.
“It took some time for me to realize that after all the changes he supported me through, it was now time for me to support him through his.”
We made changes. We slowed our walks, we added dietary supplements, we refined some training skills, but most of all, we learned how to enjoy the little moments. The trips to the coffee shop, the rides down the coast, the late night snuggles and the undeniably loving glances. He taught me patience and what the meaning of unconditional love really was. The change wasn’t in our relationship, but how we embodied it. The lessons he has taught me in the last couple of years have made me a better person. Whether we end up with only days left together or many more years, there is something very special about the bond shared between a human and an older dog. Without a doubt, it will be the dog teaching the person some new tricks.