Sweet Sixteen

by Houndstooth on

Today is the day.  Our sweet senior Greyhound, the incomparable Lady Lilac, turns sixteen years old today.  I never, ever thought I’d end up being the human servant to a Greyhound who lived to be sixteen years old.

The Beauty of AgeWhen we were new to Greyhound adoption, there was a Greyhound named Suzie who lived to be twenty one years old, and I recall being amazed when I read about her.  She’s a legend in the Greyhound community.  I hoped that Treat would be one of those legends, but it wasn’t to be.

Lilac came to us at seven and a half years old, retired first from racing and then from being a brood mama.  She had two litters of puppies, and one of those puppies is our own Blueberry, who is now a senior hound herself at nine and a half.  We had two Greyhounds at that time, Treat and Hawk, who were both two years younger than Lilac.  When we’d talked about adding another hound to our pack, we talked about adding a younger dog who could help take some of the burden off Treat and Hawk in our busy schedule of doing meet and greets and nursing home visits.  A younger dog would be able to step in as they slowed down.  Instead, we added Lilac, telling ourselves that she’d be with us for a few years and then that spot in our home would open again and a younger dog could join in.

Lilac has never been a fast-paced sort of girl.  She always took things at her own pace, and that was one of the reasons we didn’t think she’d be with us for too long.   Still, as Treat and Hawk started to get grey faces and show their age, Lilac’s face remained youthful, and many people were surprised to hear that she was actually two years older than them.  I never dreamed that she’d outlive them both.

Two years ago, she had an episode that scared the daylights out of me.  I was home from work with the flu, and I’ve never been so glad that I was sick.  It looked like she was having a stroke to me, but the vet told us it was a seizure.  She spent the night at the vet’s office and then returned home, the day before her birthday.  I thought we were on very borrowed time with her.  Her back end was noticeably weaker, but she made a lot of improvement.  Before long, she was back to being her sweet, sassy self.

She’s had several of those spells since then, and they always scare me.  Darned if she doesn’t bounce back every time, though.  Our old lady has traveled all over the place with us, too, despite her strong dislike of moving vehicles.  The fact that she made it out to Gettysburg with us this past Spring and walked all the way through the vendor area still amazes me.  She’s a tough old bird, no doubt about it.

I’ve learned so many things from her along the way.  She’s taught me the beauty of old age.  I hope that I can be even half the old lady that she is when I get into my senior years.  She lives life on her own terms.  If she wants to lay in front of the fan all night, she does.  She also doesn’t hesitate to tell us what’s on her mind, whether it’s concerns about Timmy in the well, displeasure over her bed or fan arrangements, or that she loves us, she’s straightforward and in your face about it.  I hope that I remember not to tell those I care about what they mean to me.  I’ve learned patience in spades while I live with her, learned that sometimes you just have to leap into what you want and worry about the landing later, and that sometimes while an iron will can take you far, you need to bend a little and accept help from those who love you.

Portrait of LilacSometimes I wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t accepted Lilac’s plan and made her a permanent part of our home.  I don’t know if she’d still be alive or not.  I know that our lives have been infinitely richer because we took in a scraggly little used up dog.  Even we didn’t realize what a journey we were in for when we adopted her.  She’s now lived more than half of her life here with us.  Those older dogs often still have a lot of living to do.

We’re celebrating Lilac’s big day today, and every day that she’s with us.  You never know what the future will bring you, but it’s often something beyond what you ever hoped for.  Enjoy the journey you share with your pets, no matter how long or short it is.  Happy Birthday, Lilac!

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  • Karen

    Happy Birthday to the Grande Dame of the Noar household, dear Lilac.

  • thehoneybuzz

    Happy Birthday to the Grand Dame Lilac. May we all be so lucky to become so wise in our old age.

  • Jen

    Happy birthday, Lilac!

    Life just does what it wants, doesn’t it? Much like Lady Lilac 😉 Thank you for sharing her with us.

  • Happy birthday to you Lilac! You are an amazing lady.

  • Ah Lilac, have the best birthday ever. We hope to read many more of your conversations:) Lots of love and thoughts from Sue, Beryl and Frankie

  • Lilac, I just had to stop by to read this Very Important Message – eeks! – your mom called you a used up dog! Alert! Alert! It’s hard to get polite help these days.

    I hope you have a heaps happy birthday and those humans work hard to make it marvellous! Hugs, slobber and stuff like that xox, Georgia.

  • Lilac, you are an absolute inspiration! Happy happy birthday to you and to your family as well. May this year be your best yet!

    Love the portrait and I didn’t realize that the Queen is Blueberry’s mother! Hope you all have a fantastic day and celebration!

    -Chandra at Daley’s Dog Years

  • Happy Birthday, Lilac! She really needs a tiara, you know. 🙂

  • EllaBellaHound

    HAPPY HAPPY SWEET 16TH BIRTHDAY LILAC. You are an inspiration!! To hounds and hu-mums alike. lots of love from Nicki and Ella x

  • Happy birthday Lilac! We’re sharing your joy here in the gardens.

  • Pamela Samson

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL GIRL:)! SIXTEEN CANDLES for you …Im OVERJOYED to read about you wonderful and amazing life:) Bless your mommy and daddy and of course YOU! I know how special it is to have a Mommy grey and her baby at the same time..( as I had Grandy and Chindoll!) its a DOUBLE blessing
    I LOVE you(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((LILAC)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))and yes I remember Suzi…what an inspiration …and so are you:)

  • jet

    So glad you made it Lilac! Happy Birthday!!

  • ♫Happy Bark-day to you♫ Our momma thinks that you are an inspiration and has her human paws crossed that both of us can live to be 16 with all of your grace and charm.

  • Happy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Grand Girl!!! You and your loving, fun-filled family are inspirations to us all! Much, much love to you and consider this a long distance snoot and a kiss from us xoxo May you have many more GREYT years and GREYT adventures! You are GORGEOUS!!!

  • Happy Birthday, Lilac! Wow, sixteen years, we’re so glad you come this far… and thanks for sharing her with us.

    Licks, hero

  • Sue

    Happy Birthday Lilac. Song and I are sending you huge hugs (((Lilac))).

  • Isn’t she just wonderful 🙂 Mum had a tear in her eye reading your post. She lost her first Grey, Flynn aged 12 1/2 earlier this year after 9 years of pure love, so she thinks Lilac is amazing. I’m only 4 so Lilac is someone for me to aspire to be like. A very Happy Birthday to you! Deccy x

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LILAC!! Today, since it is your birthday, perhaps you’ll let someone else deal with Timmy, and just rest up and have fun! Super scritches to you, sweet (and beautiful) old lady that you are!

    I remember Suzy Waddell! I met her once at Dewey, she was in a cart. 🙂 Oh, and we so nearly came to GIG this year, if it hadn’t been for losing Mum and having to cancel our holiday we’d have been there. What a shame we missed meeting you.

    We took in ‘a scraggly little used up dog’ once. We thought he was so scraggly and used up that we probably wouldn’t have him more than six months, and he was not quite ten years old. So very thin after a horrible dental that took him a long time to get past, and losing his elderly owner and ending up having the family AND rescues fight over him so that in the end he very nearly had nowhere .. but Captain Jack became one of the funniest, sweetest, most adorable (and at times just plain stubborn) little greyhounds we’ve had. We had him more than six months … but three and a half years was still too short a time for us. *Sigh*

    You’re right, those older ‘used up’ dogs have a huge amount of love to give, and often will surprise you! I’m hoping Ranger will be one of them once he’s settled in properly. He’s still being a tad difficult right now, but he’s improving. He’s been a long time in kennels.

  • Clive

    Happy 16th Birthday Lilac!!!

    Love and best wishes from all the gang here!

    That was such a touching post!!

    – Clive & Murray

  • JenB

    Awwww!! Happy Sweet Sixteen Lilac!!!

  • Roo

    Happy Happy Birthday to the Lovely Lilac! Have a lovely time celebrating my dear 🙂

    Waggin at ya,

  • Mango

    Happy Birthday Miss Lilac! You are a grand lady for sure and an example to us all.


  • sara, oreo and chewy

    Happy, happy Sweet Sixteen to the Lovely Lilac. What a tremendous life you have led.

  • Happy birthday Beautiful Lilac 🙂 What a wonderful age, we hope that you have had a special day, and your humans (and other 4-legged siblings) have spoilt you rotten 🙂

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY! old lady. Your the best.

  • Woof! Woof! WOW Happy SWEET 16 Lilac. Enjoy you special day. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  • Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!!!!

  • Happy Sweet 16 Birthday, Lilac. We hope you have a very special day and you gets lots of treats and snuggles from everyone. Sniffs, The HoundDogs

  • I feel like I need to salute Lilac or something. Wow! 16! I just can’t imagine…. although I full expect Reagan to live to be 16… just to irritate us. Have a great year, Lilac!

  • dorothee

    happy, happy birthday to rooOOOOoooo, sweet, graceful lilac! i hope you will have the most wonderful day filled with treats and belly rubs and ear scritches.. and most of all love from all those around you.
    your momma’s words brought some tears to my eyes, but tears of joy as i am able to share my journey of life with two of your canine sisters and i was reminded to be thankful for every day they are with me. life is so precious! xx

  • Oh, Lilac! Happy Birthday. You have brought so much joy and laughter into our lives. You are a treasure. Love you, Lilac and Happy Sweet 16 Birthday!

  • Happy Birthday beautiful lady!

    What wonderful post celebrating her long and happy life with you all. We have our paws crossed that this next year will be as wonderful.

    Drools and licks,
    Minnie and Mack

  • Happy Birthday Lilac. We feel honored to be in the presence of your greatness!!

  • Happy Happy 16th Barkday sweet Lilac!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  • Congratulations! You made it! I never knew greyhounds could live that long. A testament to the power of love and good energy!

    That’s so wonderful that you adopted her as a senior already and she’s still enjoying a great life with you.

  • Jen

    Congratulations!!!!! And Happy, happy birthday to gorgeous Miss Lilac. 🙂


  • Nicole W.

    Happy Birthday to the Lovely Lilac!!

  • Frankie Furter

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRFDAY SWEET 16 LILAC. I hope you have many more birfdays.

  • Happy
    LILAC DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Woo have one pawesome furamily!


  • This was beautiful and written great. Lilac happy birthday you sweet girl.
    Seizures – we know them all too well – they are a scary thing and glad she doesnt have too many of them.

  • Happy 16th birthday, Lilac! And many, many more!!!

  • ~B~

    Happy Birthday Lilac!!!!!!!!!!!! You are my hero!


  • Happy Sweet 16 Birthday!!!!! We hope all your dreams come true today!

  • Happy Sweet 16!!!!! We hope all your dreams come true today!

  • Happy Sweet 16 old gal. Thanks for the backstory on her.

  • Lilac, I hope you have the bestest Birthday! Lovely story, now I need a tissue…

  • KB

    I am SO happy that your family gets to celebrate this amazing day and Lilac’s wondrous life. Happy Birthday, Sweet Lilac! The love flows both ways around you – you make your family so very happy with your character, and they love you like crazy!

    I didn’t know that Blueberry was Lilac’s daughter. That’s very cool.

  • Happy Birthday Lilac! Elderdogs have so much life to give – thanks for sharing yours!

  • Happy Birthday Lilac! What a sweet sixteen it is! I hope you get whatever it is you’ve wished for and that your humans get your fan set up just right!

  • Happy Happy Barkday dear Lilac! A wonderful sweet sixteen it will be. May you have loads of noms and noms and noms… and maybe a new fan… and a fluffier bed.. and urmm urmmm… a cabana boy for real 😀

    A most wonderful post written for a loved one.

  • Happy, happy birthday Lilac!!!!

  • Happy Sweet 16 Lilac!
    ♥ Cinnamon

  • Benny & Lily

    Happee Birthday sweet Lilac
    Benny & Lily

  • Happy Birthday, Lilac. And may we still be celebrating your wonderful quirks at TWENTY-SIX!

  • angus

    Happy sixteenth . You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again .

  • Barbara

    Happy Birthday, Lilac!! I KNEW you’d make this day, and probably many after! I love you so much! There is a present on the way, so keep your nose out!!

  • Re

    Happiest of birthdays to you Lilac! I hope that those cabana boys bring you everything that you want and rightly deserve!

  • Happy, Happy Barkday, Beautiful Lilac!!

    Tell your mom that her post was very touching.

    Just like you!!

    -Gizmo, Bart and Ruby

  • Happy Birthday Lilac! You are smart and beautiful girl. What a great post. I hope you are all having a great day!

  • Happy Birthday, love. I’m still searching for your present. I will find just the thing.


  • Happy Birthday, Lilac!

    You rock!


  • Happy birthday!!! What a wonderful post :D.

  • Ryker

    Happy Birthday Lilac! Life is full of wonderful and unexpected delights and you are one of them!

  • Beautiful post. Happy birthday to a wonderful pup!

  • So cool! Happy Sweet Sixteen. And I hadn’t made the connection that Blueberry was her daughter.

  • Happy birthday Miss Lilac – you are most definitely a gem!

  • Hi Young un!! Lilliana Rosalilta here from Mack’s Mess — I heard you were cellabrating your sweet 16 and I just had to come say hi and wish you many many more healthy barkdays. I am 19 myself and really enjoy the benefits of being a senior citizen here in Blogville! Have a great day!


  • Happy Birthday Lady Lilac!
    We wish you all the best!!!

    Lot’s of kisses and licks!

    Beautiful and touching post!

  • Chester’s Mom

    Happy, Happy Sweet 16 dear Lilac! For some reason you remind me of the actress Jessica Tandy, a tough old lady with a twinkle in her eye. We can all only hope to have that same spark in our senior years.

    All I can say is, YOU GO GIRL and I hope to be wishing you Happy 17 next year!

    Congrats to the servants – I’m sure you all had a lot to do with her living this long.

    Meesh ;0-)

  • Happy Birthday Lady Lilac!

    RA, Isis & Nanuk

  • Yay! I’m so glad she made it and wish her the happiest of birthdays!!! This post brought a little tear to my eye – I have always admired people that adopt senior greyhounds. I have always been afraid to because I’m not sure that my heart could handle it, but your story is a real inspiration. It’s true that really don’t ever know what the future holds, I certainly didn’t expect to lose Macy at such a young age (6.5 years old). Congrats to both you and Lilac on quite an accomplishment and so many wonderful years together!

  • Miss Lilac, you are an inspiration to all greyhounds and their adopters! Happy Birthday Girlie!

  • Happy Birfday Lilac! Mom once knowed a laydee whose German Shepherd lived fur 19 years so watch out, Morgan mite be taking notes!

  • this was such a sweet post!
    Happy Sweet 16 Lilac!
    Here’s to many more happy days!

  • Biggie B’s mom

    Happy Birthday little girl. I feel blessed have gotten to meet you. Have a Blessed day.

  • Theresa

    Happy birthday to a beautiful girl, Lady Lilac!!!! I was lucky enough to “meet” Lilac, Hawk and Treat on Dogster, and am very glad that I can celebrate her sweet 16th!!!

    Much love,

    Theresa and Ben (who woofs happy birthday !!!)

  • Dear Miss Lilac, We are sending you the happiest of birthday wishes and hope you had a great day!
    Veil, Beckett and Maddy

  • Look at all the birthday wishes for Lilac. Add mine too–Happy Birthday, Lilac!

    You’ve written a wonderful tribute to your elegant lady.

  • Oh… happy birthday, dear Lilac. We are in awe of you here, and are so happy that you have lived to be such an elegant older lady.

  • Jen

    Happy Sweet 16th Birthday Lilac! I hope you have a wonderful and sweet day! filled with lots of hugs and kisses and of course presents!

  • Pip

    Happy Birthday Lilac! Save me a dance …well, I know I am not as cute as Alien, but …OK, I will go find Alien for you. It’s your sweet sixteen so I guess you can dance with whoever you want!

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S: I do love a lady who speaks her mind!

  • Wow oh wow oh wow sixteen! Happy Birthday to Lilac!!

  • Happy Sweet 16, Lilac! hugs and growls from Ava and Apollo.

  • Gordo (11), Julia (11), Annie (14)

    roos! roos! roos!!! Happy Sweet Sixteen Lilac!

    with love from some of your fellow senior greyts <3

  • Happy birthday sweet Lilac girl! xoxoxo

  • Happy, Happy birthday beautiful sweet 16!!

    We are so glad we could get into your blog today.

    For the past few weeks every time we tried to visit we got a malware warning!! We didn’t know your email to tell you and we didn’t want you to think we didn’t care about you!


  • Kat

    Happy Birthday, dear Lilac! Thank you for sharing some of your lessons with us 😀

  • Though our time has been much shorter with Lilac, here in blogworld, your life with her has touched me in so many different ways that I don’t even know if I could explain them. May Lilac have the best 16th Birthday ever and tell everyone about it!

    Forever touch by that tough girl. 🙂

  • So glad you are with us Lilac. Hope you had a fantastic day!

  • Happy b’day Lilac!!! Hope it was wonderful!!!! Hugs!

  • The Gonzo Ark

    Happy Birthday, Lilac!!

    From – Colleen & Michael (the Humans)

    Jeannie & Moose (the Greyhounds)

    and Scout (the GH wanna-be)

  • One of the true beauties of Blogville, happy sweet sixteen dear Lilac!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  • What a beautiful tribute to a dog who has so clearly changed your world. While she might not be able to read, I have no doubt that she is well aware of how much she is loved. I only hope we can do as well for ours as you have for yours. Happy birthday!

  • ONE MORE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY!

  • Jed & Abby in MerryLand

    Happy Belated Sweet Sixteen, Lilac! We are most impressed at your elegant endurance and delighted for your happy longevity. May we all live as long and as well as you!

    Jed & Abby

  • the road dogs

    Wow! Look at all these birthday wishes! We can NOT believe we missed the actual day after all the anticipation! Our sense of timing is very fluid and we hope Lilac’s is too and that she will forgive our belated Happy Birthday wishes! What a wonderful life she is leading and it sounds like she’s got you trained well! Hope she had a wonderful day and got extra special treats and lovin’!

    The Road Dogs

  • I can’t believe the LOTH made me miss Lilac’s big day last week because of her STUPID work clogging up the computer.

    It’s no less heartfelt for being nearly a week late…..

    Congratulations on reaching the sweetest sweet 16 ever Lady Lilac. You and your family are an inspiration to us all in our house.

    lots of love and licks, Winnie

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  • Happy Birthday to the grand dame! Wow 16!!! Sorry I am a bit late, but none the less my congrats could not be more heart felt! Hugs and scritches!!

  • Karen Millar

    I am late as usual since I was traveling, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus wishing Lilac a very happy birthday!

  • Michelle

    Happy Belated Sweet Sixteen to Lilac!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • A very happy birthday to Lilac. I know it is a belated birthday wish, please pass along to Lilac it was done to stretch the birthday celebration out as long as possible. (well and also because I was traveling)