All posts under A Dog’s Golden Years

Transforming Transgressions

When your pup is young, the number of transgressions can be a serious source of frustration.
Chewing on everything and being generally disruptive to everything and everyone,
It’s a real chore to keep from being permanently irritated and sore.

Then comes adulthood where your dog has learned all the ropes.
Of course, that does not mean your dog obeys every minute of every day,
And boy or girl, that dog will do what it pleases when you’re gone, knowing full well it will pay.

All of these issues take a completely different turn once the dog hits old age.
Sure there’s the knowledge that these actions are wrong,
But looking at that familiar face now coated in grey, the anger and annoyance aren’t nearly so strong.

Transgressions don’t seem nearly so bad as they did when the dog was younger.
With old age comes a very different kind of filter of how you perceive bad behavior.
Perhaps it’s because you know it was much harder, or maybe the affinity for your dog is now greater.

There’s something endearing about an old dog that gets up to old mischievous actions.
The things that are wrong for your dog to do take on a whole new meaning,
Knowing your dog can still do stuff makes picking up feel a lot less like cleaning.

It’s not quite pride, rather something akin to seeing the dog he or she used to be.
Knowing that despite the aging body, that is the same dog who’s been with you through the years.
Having this knowledge can make the misbehavior start to bring you to tears.

There is so much your canine can no longer do, but here’s one trick still in the paw.
And so right or wrong, it seems not to matter, not a little, not at all.

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The Joys of a Good Stretch and Roll

Young dogs tend to stretch, roll, romp, and run.
Older dogs have found that the real joy is in the first two.
It’s a lesson most people learn while still young.
There’s nothing quite like a good stretch first thing in the morning
Or a nice roll down a grassy knoll to make you feel alive.
Mature dogs don’t need the morning or a hill
To find the thrill of these little pleasures.
A trip to the backyard on a warm day is more than enough.
Watch as your dog trots over to a favorite spot,
Then flops down with a groan or dramatic hrumpf.
This is followed by the old bones rolling
Until that belly is pointed full at the sun,
And then the dog just rolls and rolls,
And stretches each limb.
It’s a sheer pleasure to watch as your dog finds happiness,
A contentment and thrill in the simplest of things.
Once the roll and stretch are over,
Your mature pooch gets that far away look
And a grin appears on either side of that lolling tongue.
There’s no reason to resist the urge to join in,
To lie down beside the old dog and enjoy the sun.
Stretch and get comfortable as the sunshine sinks in.
Your dog will love the extra attention that ensues,
And it will make your day a little brighter as you take a break.

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The Way the Home Changes

Having an older dog means making a few modifications to the home,
Nothing extreme or that will cost you a small bundle,
Just a few simple things to keep your old girl from injury or pain.
The changes can be for when you are present or when your pooch is alone.

Areas that are tile, vinyl, or wood, your dog can no longer get traction,
And that causes slipping and falling which can do serious harm.
It’s an easy fix, just get an old rug or remnant carpet to put down
That gives your old boy safety to walk, giving you a nice degree of satisfaction.

The dog’s bedding is something you’ll probably update.
Your sweet old boy probably gets cold easier,
So you add more blankets to the area to help him stay warm.
Now when he lies down, the warmth – it feels great.

Then there’s the stuffing that you add to help keep his joints off the ground.
A pillowy bed can help keep him more comfortable without causing a fuss
It’s also a nice exercise for him to paw it into comfy submission.
The liveliest you may see him is when he finds his comfort zone after walking around and around.

If you have stairs, you may get a ramp to assist in getting around the home or outside.
This really depends on the dog’s size, but in most cases it is a boon,
Especially when you need to get your dog into the car.
In most cases you need to make sure it is sturdy and wide.

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The Greatest Gift

Old dogs are one of the greatest gifts a person can have.
All those memories are treasures you wouldn’t change for anything.
You can still see the dog that was in the face that now is.
Though limited and not nearly as energetic as once your dog was,
The love is still there for you to see with everything your dog does.

You may miss the activities that you enjoyed as you first started to bond,
And your dog probably does too, after all, those days were fun beyond belief.
Though if you were to be honest, not having to go out as often can be a relief.
Those joys are replaced by the closeness that comes with close, unquestioning friendship,
Helping you feel comfortable with silence in your dog’s devoted companionship.

If you want to get another dog, your old pooch can help teach all of the ropes.
Though limited in activity, and possibly quick to put the pup down,
This can go a long way to helping a young dog to more quickly understand the human frown.
It’s like a tag team event with your old dog coaching what your facial expressions mean,
That way the dog learns how to behave, good, bad, or somewhere in between.

When you feel down, that’s when an old dog can really provide the most comfort.
After all of the years, your dog knows exactly how to react to help make you feel better,
Coming to your side and either resting where you can decompress as you run your fingers through fur.
Some will place their face in your lap and tell you they are sorry with their eyes.
These are the golden years your dog and for you, a friendship that never truly dies.

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Shifting Priorities

Older dogs can help you realize so many things.
They way they choose to deal with new limitations
Is quite honestly one of the world’s best inspirations.

When the old boy wants to welcome you home,
He may not be able to get up to greet you at the door
And so he adapts and happily wags his tail on the floor.

The idea of play has pretty much gone by the wayside.
All he really wants to do now is sit happily at your feet
And feel the sustained petting, and that’s really sweet.

The focus of walks now turns to sniffing each blade of grass
Going as often as possible to claim all of the land.
Considering his age, it’s easy to understand.

The joy and excitement your dog used to feel
When greeting another dog is far more muted today.
A simple hello is really all he needs to say.

One of the few things that probably hasn’t changed
Is your dog’s adoration of food
And giving more treats, if you loved him you would.

The need for playtime is nearly gone in the golden years.
Replaced by a desire just to be near.

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Increased Time Out of Doors

When your dog reaches the golden years, that’s when you start to spend more time outside.
It isn’t that you are playing and getting tired beyond your ability to walk,
But by the time you return, odds are good your pooch is ready for a nice long nap.
Though the walks are no longer brisk, and you may find boredom as you stroll at a snail’s pace,
It’s some quality time watching your dog enjoy all the little things in the wide open space.

At first this can be problematic as walks seem to take nearly forever.
You have things to do! You don’t have time for this slow as a turtle walk!
That is when you need to stop and look at how pleased your dog is.
The white on her face emphasizes the years she’s spent with you,
Yet the excitement she has for each blade reminds you there’s nothing more important to do.

She’s more than content, she’s genuinely happy to be out in fresh air.
For a moment you are taken a back
All you can do is stand and stare.
Then a smile crosses your face as she moves to the next shrub.
Her old legs causing her to stumble. You reach down and giver her back a rub.

That’s when you realize you are rushing to do things that are of no real significance.
It’s this time outside in the sun, rain, or snow that you will remember in a few years
When your old girl has passed on and you wish she were still present.
She’s learned to appreciate the things she can do, a great lesson for us all.
Such a sweet, simplistic lesson can help you realize that your priorities need a real overhaul.

Being outside, no matter what the weather or the condition,
Is something that most of us don’t do nearly enough.
Your old girl can help you remember the fun that you are missing while rushing around
And spending all of your time inside completing chores and passively watching screens.
It’s a great inspiration to head outside and enjoy the browns, blues, and greens.

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A More Subtle Approach to Life

Older dogs are quite good at a lot of things that their young selves didn’t do so well.
The subtle approach to enjoying life is something that you learn to watch
As your old girl slows down and is limited in what she can do.
The way she wags her tail or the look in her eyes when she looks at you,
These are the best ways to see what she thinks of what is going on.
Her old eyes still sparkle and shine, and they act a bit like a Rorschach
Because you can read into them whatever you want
But after all of this time, no one knows her the way that you do,
So what you see in those eyes is far more likely to reflect the way that she feels.
Her subtlety probably does not escape you, as you had a few years that gave you a sneak preview.

Dogs age much faster once they reach a certain age.
You can see them slow down and start to have trouble with more energetic endeavors.
This is when you really need to pay attention to how they express themselves.
Whether she is unable to climb stairs or can no longer stretch up to pull treat from the shelves,
It’s these little signs that let you know that your dog is making the transition.
And this is when you need to learn how to read the subtle changes, light old age levers
These small things early on show you exactly how your dog will adapt.
If you watch the little things, you can better prepare to help the old girl
When every day tasks become so much harder to accomplish with such old bones.
Usually the excitement is visible in the eyes and tail, when your attention is better than every toy.

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Learning to Relax

Old age teaches many lessons, and dogs are known for learning well.
No matter the energy of days gone by, old dogs learn to sit back and chill.
Their favorite thing to do now is to be with you, they are happy just to dwell.
When it comes to resting, they no long feel it is something you can overkill.
Keep in mind they can still get excited, even if they lack the energy of a long-lived Duracell.

You’ll find they take to resting directly beneath your feet,
Finding comfort in being in your general vicinity.
It doesn’t hurt if you drop some crumbs or offer a people food treat,
That’s one bonus of being near, but it’s really your presence to which they have an affinity.
They will wait patiently to see where you sit before they finally decide to take a seat.

It’s this kind of love and devotion that really makes the later years so enjoyable.
Your dog is there waiting for a momentary pat or just a little bit of interaction.
To you they want to ensure their head is always readily available,
That way you will feel loved as you, setting off a chain reaction.
You feel less stress, and your dog gets a bit of extra affection.

Some dogs take longer to learn this trick because not all creatures feel natural when they relax.
Dogs are no exception – if they are accustomed to action and doing, sitting still can be a chore,
But as old age sets in and their bodies aren’t as capable, they learn to be a bit more lax,
No longer pushing themselves to do and play – instead the focus is on rest and maybe a bit of a snore.
Still it’s nice to see them pleased with a bit of attention, knowing that for the day that is the climax.

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The Joy of Dinner Time and a New Dance

The exuberance of young dogs at dinner time can be entertaining,
But it doesn’t take long until it becomes more of a nuisance.
As your dog ages, the dance becomes tame, but no less excited.
Instead of knocking you over, that food bowl is awaited and invited.

The twirling and bouncing is probably not something the old bones can do.
That does not mean your dog’s dancing days are done.
It’s quite enjoyable to see how that elated dance evolves
As the limits of the body your dog ingeniously solves.

Watch as the front paws prance, it belies the excitement inside.
The way the tail wags all over without rhythm or rhyme,
However, there is not doubt it wags for a very specific reason.
Supper time! To nearly every dog it’s the best time, regardless of the season.

The original dance still exists within that sweet, old frame.
Just look closely at the way those eyes sparkle and shine.
It lets you know that the meal is still every bit as anticipated
And despite the calmer movement, your dog is every bit as elated.

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Out for a Walk

Old dogs are still the same pups that you fell in love with years ago,
And whatever their opinion was about walking on the leash,
That sentiment still rings quite true,
Even if their legs can’t take them the distance they used to demand
Or accomplish the speeds that made it real exercise.
Despite all of this, your pup still needs to get out for a stroll.
Perhaps you have to reduce it to a short trip around the block
Or a ride in the car to a small park
Making the ride longer to keep your dog excited.
It’s worth the reduced distance and speed
Just to see that look of pleasure on your old dog’s face.
The smells and the feel of the wind remind your dog
Of the days gone past and that the world’s still there.
Just because the walks are short
And the speed is a quarter what it used to be
Doesn’t mean that you should stop walking altogether.
No, this is the time when the walks are about the pleasure of existing.
Learn from your dog just what a leisurely walk means.
It’s the best way to be reminded that nothing lasts forever,
But things don’t have to last to be enjoyed.
Your dog is still with you, making sure you get out of doors
If only for a little while.
And that time together is more enjoyable because the tugging,
The pulling, and the easy distractions are gone.
It’s just you and the old dog out enjoying the world.

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