Some thoughts on pup vs oldster care
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Thread: Some thoughts on pup vs oldster care

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    Paddysmom's Avatar
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    DefaultSome thoughts on pup vs oldster care

    The thread by rmcbuckeye and Ryder's 3 mile walk left me thinking about this. Although my thread is not breed-specific, I think it applies all around. I have several breeds in my home.

    Paddy was my first-ever dog (1996) and I was C-L-U-E-L-E-S-S!!! Absolutely clueless. But I started learning... FAST.

    What I've been thinking since the Ryder thread is that we carefully monitor our dogs as pups. What they eat, how they play, how they interact with other dogs and cats and kids and adults and humans in hats and... and... and. We teach them to comply with commands, we encourage all the good behaviors. By the time the dog (whatever breed) is fully developed and trained we're at about two years or so. Then (hopefully) we all go on autopilot. They know what to do and what not to do, we know their limits and blah blah blah. But we go carefully on our way, not too worried, let them seek their full potential. Puppyhood is over!

    Then, ten years later, you begin to tune in to things. It takes experience, it takes heartbreak. You listen for a footfall that isn't right or anything that is *off*: "Do I hear a back paw dragging a bit?" "Do I see a gait that isn't right?" "Do I see you holding your body in an unusual way?" "Do I see you staring at a leaf when you ordinarily would be chasing it?" "Did you not just eat your favorite meal?" "Did you just slightly wince when I rubbed your ear?"

    And we begin the caretaking all over again. For so many years they just... GO! They do their thing! They are healthy, happy dogs! You know what they are capable of and so do they. And we all go happily on our way.

    And then one day? One day? You're providing puppy-like care. Only this time they won't reach their stride. They've done that.

    It is amazing how acute my peripheral vision and hearing has become with so many seniors at home.

    Anyway... that was just on my mind.
    Last edited by Paddysmom; 03-16-2013 at 05:17 PM.

    Seamus and Flynn

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    D Bros.'s Avatar
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    I completely understand. I went through the same thing with Deacon. First I had this little bundle of black fur, who needed to learn all the rules: don't potty in the house, stay out of the garbage, leave the cat alone, etc. He learned all the rules, and everything else I wanted him to learn. I learned things, as well. It had been many years since I had a dog, and I had to fumble my way through everything. This was pre-internet for me, so I taught him obedience the best I could, and got a book to teach him about the more advanced things and about hunting. I learned to watch him for signs. For when he needed to go, when he wasn't feeling well, when something hurt him.

    Too soon the little puppy I brought home was gone, and I had this sleek, muscular black dog living with me. He knew everything we needed, and life went on. We hunted, went swimming, ambled through the woods checking things out, and generally lived a pretty sedate way. Life was good.

    Then years later, I started seeing the signs of age. His eyesight started to go first. As he got older, he got creakier (like me, I suppose) and wasn't quite so lively and full of energy. I started seeing more grey on his face. Like you, I became much more attuned to the little things that showed that things weren't as they once were. And, just like when he was young, I took more care of him.

    In some ways, it was hard. Seeing him age, and not be the hard running boy I remembered. But, in other ways, it was almost a comfort. Evenings spent laying on the floor with him, fondling his silky ears and remembering all those years we had been together. Sifting through so many memories, of good times and bad. Talking to him about all these things. Hearing his tail thumping the floor at the sound of my voice.

    I guess I hadn't really thought about it from this viewpoint until now. Thank you for giving me a new way of seeing things. And for giving me a good excuse for dragging up some old memories of my boy. I miss him still, and don't think I'll ever stop.
    My Lab is smarter than your honor student.

    Deacon 12/1/1999-4/2/2012 RIP, bestest boy.
    Diesel 3/29/2010 My little hard charger.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddysmom View Post
    Only this time they won't reach their stride. They've done that.

    It is amazing how acute my peripheral vision and hearing has become with so many seniors at home.

    Anyway... that was just on my mind.
    I can see why it would be on your mind, Nance. My guys are 6.5 and 7.5 and I am already dreading when they begin to lose ground instead of striding forward with confidence.
    Jackie, Champ, and Buddy

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    Paddysmom's Avatar
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    D Bros... thank you so much for your beautiful reply. It really touched my heart.

    Seamus and Flynn

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    Man........just mannnnnnn it is hard to go the last mile with them.
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    Top Of The Hill is offline Senior Member
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    I think it's partially because I'm getting older, but I feel like the part between puppyhood and almost senior went by way faster than it has with my previous dogs. Because Dee has had ortho issues from early on we've always watched and been careful and I'm always doing that listening for a back toe rubbing etc. She's doing well and still a goofy pup in some ways, but I just can't believe how fast time is going. Scary fast!

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    Mary Jane is offline Senior Member
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    You have touched a nerve here with more than just one or two of us, I suspect. Mya had a check up back in February because I thought we were going to AZ and I always just have her doc check her over before we go......I swear I see an ever-so-slight of a limp in her front left leg.....anyways, you are so right about the more care as they age. Mya will be 7 this coming October. I snuggle and smooch her as much and more than she will let me!!! I have never had anyone or anything by my side more than Mya. She simply will not allow me out of her sight if it is in her control ......not a sofa or a door comes between us. However, there is no SA.
    Thank you for this thread.
    D.Bros.....that is one of the sweetest posts I have read.

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    Great thread Nance. D.Bros that is so sweet.

    I have been alittle different. The first 2 years with Kassa my first dog and same as you Nace so very clueless. Oh gosh I think the vet wondered if she would make it with such a nit wit owner. lol.I spent those years training and thinking I would have her for 12-14 years. Sadly 2 was all I got before she became sick and the listening for the pitter patter that didn't happen I became clued in.

    Then adopting Erns at 3.5 only to be told at 4.5 he wouldn't be an old dog I have spent the years treasuring the time I have and watching for any sign. We made it to old dog. Last year being told he really is in bad shape when I thought we were doing so well knocked me,or each winter I say just one more winter. Just one more, but I know those just one mores are running out. Some days it doesn't matter, some days it does like today when he is sick it matters.

    What I love about here is there are so many who understand.

    Kassa 25/11/01 - 09/02/05 O.S Jaw cancer forever in my heart.
    Ernie 25/11/01 adopted May 05
    Sam 11? adopted Nov 06 - 18/12/07 Lyphoma
    Tessa. Rescued June 2011.
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    Yep, you nailed it Nance.



    Laura





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    D Bros.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddysmom View Post
    D Bros... thank you so much for your beautiful reply. It really touched my heart.
    No problem. And thank you for your insights. I think a lot of those same thoughts were rattling around somewhere in my head, I had just never sat down and put them in order before.

    Y'know, if someone had told me all those years ago that I would have bonded with and loved a dog so much, I think I would have laughed at them. I would have replied, "Really? I don't think so. My life is too full of other things, like partying and hanging out with my friends. I don't have the time to spend on a dog like that." But, thankfully, by the time I got Deacon, I had gotten older and slowed down a bit. The whole partying thing had started to get old, and I was much more interested in getting up early to go hunting, rather than sleeping in late to avoid the hangover.

    I'm so glad I listened to my cousin, who is more like a brother to me, when he told me to get a Lab. If not for that, I never would have gotten to learn of the unlimited love and devotion a dog has to offer. And, while Deacon learned a lot from me, I believe I learned even more from him. Slow down, take time to play, tummy rubs are serious business, enjoy the beauty of a crisp fall morning spent in the outdoors. And, most importantly, love me...because you are my world, and I love you.

    I think that my dogs have taught me to be a better person, and I feel truly blessed for having had them in my life.
    My Lab is smarter than your honor student.

    Deacon 12/1/1999-4/2/2012 RIP, bestest boy.
    Diesel 3/29/2010 My little hard charger.


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