04 October, 2013
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with a great number of pet parents - some who are experiencing the life of a senior dog for the first time and others who have had many senior dogs over the years. I find it very interesting to see the different perspectives. Some choose to look at this stage of life with sadness. Sadness that the dog they knew in their younger years was disappearing, and their time with them ticking away. Many may not realize it, but this sadness can often filter into how they interact with their dog and the choices they make.
I am a big believer that our dogs feed off of our energy and our spirit. When we are sad, unhappy, frustrated etc they pick up on that negativity, but on the contrary, when we are hopeful, happy, positive, they pick up on these feelings as well. What we project can have a huge impact on how our dogs face the challenges that come with this next stage of their lives. Just because they may not be able to do the things they did as a young dog in the same way, does not mean that their days of fun and adventure are over. We merely need to make adjustments and find ways to keep them active and stimulated in a way that makes sense.
When facing challenges common in aging dogs we have 2 choices - we can focus all our attention on the ailment, feel saddened by the reality of their new vulnerability and thus causing our dog to do the same, or we can accept this as part of life, take steps to help resolve and place our focus on ways to keep injecting fun, hope and happiness into their lives. Life is not over for our older dogs, it's just different and the more experience pet parents have, the more they see the beauty and joy of this stage of their dog's life. In my family our older dogs are like royalty and they love it!
One of the things that I love about social media is the visibility it has created for older dogs and dogs struggling with disabilities, showcasing how amazing lives can be despite the challenges. In this day and age there are so many treatments, so many products, all focused on improving the quality of life for our four-legged family members that we have all the tools we need to make their lives unbelievably amazing. All that is left is for us to adjust our perspective. To embrace change as something positive and to understand that the fun and adventure does not need to end.
In fact I happen to believe that our dogs get even more hilarious, more loving and more sure of what they want as they move into their senior years, so embrace it, enjoy it and see the difference this positive perspective can have on your dog's outlook towards life. Show your older dog how to live life to its fullest and they will return the favor. What is your perspective?