In case you didn’t know, August is Adopt A Senior Dog Month. I know that most Greyhound people know that May is Adopt A Senior Greyhound Month, but August is a month for all breeds of dog. When I realized this, it got me thinking about a few things.
We recently adopted Flattery and she’s a very young Greyhound. She’s the sixth Greyhound to enter our lives and we were very conscious about a lot of things when we chose her. We met a couple of other Greyhounds that we really liked, one especially named Lorelei, but we chose not to adopt those dogs, partly because it would put them at the almost exact same age as Bunny. I didn’t consider them too old, as matter of fact, they all seemed to have a lot of puppy still left in them without being just too much.
The reason we didn’t choose them was because we realize that in a few years, Bunny will be a senior dog. It’s not something that I want to think about and I’d like to deny it forever, but I know that isn’t possible. What I do know is that when she’s a senior dog, I want to be able to take care of her as well as I possibly can, and having two senior dogs at one time can be an expensive venture.
We have adopted a senior dog before, and our experience was fantastic. Lilac turned out to be so much more than we could have dreamed. I thought she’d live a quiet life with us for a few years, but she ended up liking it here so much that she stuck around for more than half her life. She was seven and a half when we adopted her, and she was over sixteen when she passed away.
Lilac brought so many things to our lives that we never expected. She played with her toys, especially her Mother Bunny bunny until she was about fifteen, and got a bit unsteady on her feet. I think she was in danger of knocking herself over when she shook the toys. I didn’t expect her to be so playful as an older dog, but we enjoyed watching her. She even played more than Blueberry, who was the resident baby dog at the time.
She also taught us a lot about aging. Lilac had a certain dignity about her that it’s hard for me to entirely describe. She absolutely was not interested in being helped in any way shape or form. As she got older, she was unsteady on her back feet and we tried to help her up and down the back steps. She would have none of it, and if we weren’t quick enough, she would try to just jump off the top step to avoid carefully walking down the five steps in the back hallway. Standing in the kitchen was difficult, but she refused to eat on her bed, so we would stand in the kitchen and hold her butt up so she could eat where everyone else ate.
We learned a lot about making life easier for senior dogs with Lilac and Blueberry both. Heated dog beds and fans helped us to make them a lot more comfortable as they aged. Giving them glucosamine helped to keep them moving comfortably for a long time. We also learned about the magic of shaky cheese to help get them interested in eating. I also learned that I had reserves of patience that I didn’t know existed.
If anyone asked me if I would adopt a senior dog again, the answer is a definite yes, as long as the time was right for us. One group that I have a lot of respect for is the GPA Senior Sanctuary in Florida, dedicated to helping senior hounds find new homes, whether their family members have passed away or they can no longer take care of them. They have a true passion for helping senior Greyhounds which I really respect. They can always use donations, too, if you feel so inclined.
The truth is, you never know when you adopt a dog how long you’ll have together. You could get a puppy who only lives a few months or a dog who lives to very old age. What you will get back from that dog is more than I can tell you with words. There is something incredibly sweet about older dogs and it’s something I hope that everyone gets to enjoy and experience. Yes, sometimes it can be hard, but I have found that the experience is more positive than anything else.