When we found out that Bunny had a “suspicious mass” a few weeks ago, a very sweet Greyhound lady from across the globe sent me a really kind message of support. She was going through a similar situation, waiting to see if something was wrong with her Greyhound. Then a short time later, she was holding her breath, waiting to see if something was wrong with her other Greyhound, a delightful diva of a girl who I would love to meet. All three of our dogs are just entering their senior years, and as a dog owner, especially if you’ve had dogs before, you can’t help but worry at times and hold your breath. The conversation we had over a couple of weeks’ time made me think about what it’s like going through those senior years.
It made me think of the first Greyhound we adopted. Her name was Treat and she was the most wonderful brindle princess there ever was. She is truly the reason I fell in love with the breed and why there will always be a Greyhound in my life for as long as I’m able to have one. The day we went to the kennel to meet dogs, she leaned against one of the two of us the whole time we were there, and she was the only one to look back longingly at us as they led her back to her crate. In that moment, she chose us and changed our lives.
Treat was as funny and sweet as a dog could be. I could tell you a hundred wonderful stories about her, but the blog post would be much too long if I did. I began trying to get in shape while we had her and I would take her walking with me every afternoon or night. When she felt it was time, she would come and stand beside me and stare at me until I relented and took her for a walk, which was incredibly good for me. No matter the weather, she was determined that we go and she would have literally walked off the end of the world with me if I’d let her. She just loved her walks that much. She did this mad dance of joy every day when I got home that was just for me. Make no doubt about it, though, she was a diva through and through. I was really looking forward to her senior years because I knew she’d make a fabulous grande dame.
That wasn’t in the cards for us, though. Treat acted much younger than she was all her life. At ten years old, she had more energy than Blueberry, who was about five at the time. It didn’t matter what it was, if you were going, Treat wanted to go, too. One day, towards the very end of my Spring break, I took the dogs outside for turn out and quickly realized that something was wrong. She couldn’t make her back end stand back up. My heart dropped and the world stopped spinning. I quickly took the other dogs back inside and then carried her in, fighting hysteria. We were soon at the vet’s office and Mr. Taleteller met us there. She had a spinal tumor. In spite of the fact that she rallied and did her best to stay with me for as long as she could, six short weeks later, the battle was over. I felt a lot of things, but one of the deepest cuts was that I missed those senior years with her.
Of course, not long after that, I got to experience the senior years to the nth degree with Lilac. If you read the blog during that time, you might recall that Lilac was beyond a diva. She was bossy, sweet and larger than life. She was famous for her demands about the fan placement, bed fluffing, finicky eating, notifying us that Timmy was in the well and waking us up at all hours of the night. Life was never dull with her around. I learned that I possessed levels of patience that even Job would envy, and I also learned a lot about the aging process. It’s not for sissies, and you don’t have to just lay down and take it. Lilac had a zest for life that I’ve never seen in any living being before, and she enjoyed even the simplest things with more relish that you could imagine.
Since Bunny’s surgery, I see her feeling those senior years a little more than she was before. I plan to enjoy and savor every minute of that time. The senior years are a gift with any dog. The one thing I’ve noticed more than anything is that she’s become a lot more affectionate. If we are sitting beside each other, we need to be touching. She has also gotten sassier, letting us know her opinions in no uncertain terms. I have a laugh or smile over her several times a day. I cannot imagine missing this time with her.
I guess that’s why senior Greyhounds who find themselves in need of a home tug on my heartstrings a little harder than most. A lot of people don’t realize that there are senior Greyhounds out there in need of homes, but once you discover the secret of how sweet they are, it’s hard not to have a soft spot for them. I know people who only adopt senior Greyhounds now. There are adoption groups like GPA’s Senior Sanctuary of Florida who focus solely on helping the older dogs in need find a home. Senior Greyhounds are the perfect answer for a lot of people who want a dog in their life but can’t handle the energy of a younger, more energetic dog. If you have ever considered adopting a senior, I highly encourage you to pursue it. It will pay rewards that you never imagined. Those sweet seniors can do things to your heart that you never imagined.