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The Realities Of Having Senior Dogs

The joys and responsibilities that come with owning a dog.

Yesterday was all about dogs for me. While at the New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care in Windsor there was a stunning 11-week-old black German Sheppard waiting for his shots with his family.

I could not help myself. After getting permission to pet him, I sat next to the pup who immediately stood up and started licking my face. The feeling was incredible: there is no drug out there that can compete with the love a dog can bring to your life. A part of me was saying what a joy it would be have a puppy again.

But let me tell you why I was at the 24-hour clinic. Our 15-year-old (we are guessing because she was adopted) Muffin – a terrier mix – had not eaten in four days and was getting lethargic. I took her to our vet in West Hartford, who after running a series of blood and urine samples determined that Muffin had kidney problems which required that water be given to her intravenously at a hospital for at least 48 hours. Odds were that she would recover with treatment and maybe live with a diminished kidney function for another year or two. The tab for her hospitalization and diagnosis – $2,000 or more.

Back at home we have our second adopted “child” Nitza, a 95-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback who is also a senior at 11.5 years. Over the past week she has defecated in the house at least five times – once last night once this morning. She isn’t acting out, she simply can’t control herself. We give her medication for her arthritis and for incontinence – $100 monthly – and they help.

Thankfully I work from home. Otherwise I don’t know what we would do. We limit the time away from home to four hours unless we can take the “children” with us.There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about how long they will be with us.

If I did not have Nitza and Muffin in my life I would have missed a lot of unconditional love and TLC.

But when we adopted the two did we really consider what we would be going through when they became seniors? No and nor do most people.

So yes, if you can financially and emotionally care for a dog, adopt one. Just remember it is a HUGE responsibility and not just fun and games.

Please check out our other stories at CtPetLovers.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Karen's Dog Training Blog October 26, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Great piece George. Having had a number of senior dogs in my life - it is sad when they get old and need medical care. Affording the care is difficult. Owning a dog is a HUGE responsibility and gives HUGH rewards in return. No drug can compare with what a dog can do for you....
Lisa Pepe October 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM
It can be heartbreaking to watch a 4-legged member of the family get older. It can also be a time to re-pay all that unconditional love you've received and keep that committment you made to them years before when you took them home. At 12 years old, my cat Normie was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid. He received the treatment that was recommended but was still vomitting 3-5 times a day. To see that frail body wretching was almost too much but his quality of life otherwise was pretty good. It was hard on us during that time but I would do it all over again if we could have Normie back. We had the honor of being with him when he passed away; Normie was on my lap with my husband and Norm's sister next to us on the couch. I believe he actually waited until my husband came home from work. Yes, it is a huge responsibility, but also an honor and a privilege. It certainly was a privilege to have Normie in our lives. Lisa Pepe
George P. Gombossy October 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM
If I could ask everyone to also leave their wonderful comments on our new site CtPetLovers.com I would really appreciate it. George
R Lee Balderdash October 31, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Why do dogs lick people?..... To see what they'll taste like! LOL! http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2011/07/would_your_dog_eat_your_dead_body.html

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