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Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

Dogs enter old age at different rates

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What a lovely week this has been. I have been quite under the weather for weeks, and this week I am improving wonderfully well! Nothing in this world can beat good health.

One highlight of my week, I heard from one old friend who lives by the rule, "The measure of a person's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out." He blessed me out one time for telling what a wonderful donation he had given. Ain't gonna do that no more! Two other friends and animal lovers, Lucy and Dean have always been there if I needed them, and they sent a great donation. Many thanks to you -- my friends we will use it wisely!

Daughter Laurie and family did not have a good week at all. They had to say goodbye to their Weinmariner, "Hannah." She was a great companion for 13 years. No matter how many times you have to give up these old friends, it never gets easier. Old age and its inherent problems are things that we share with our canine companions. Aging brings about arthritis, impaired eyesight and hearing, heart disease and even senility. Sound familair? Sure enough, they suffer just as we humans do. "Hannah" had to be helped over the Rainbow Bridge, which makes it that much harder to prove love and friendship. That choice is never easy.

Dogs enter old age at different rates. Typically, big dogs age faster than small dogs. Most larger breeds begin to show age-related diseases by the time they reach 9 years old. Certainly there are exceptions to all rules. Smaller dogs may not become senior citizens until they or 12 years or more.

John Saidla, DVM at Cornell University, states,"Usually, the larger the breed, the faster the dog will age. A Great Dane at 10 is ancient. On the other hand, a 10-year-old poodle or Cocker Spaniel is not old. The oldest dog I ever treated was 22 years of age; it was a Dachshund."

Probably the most important thing that you can do to ease your canine companion into old age is to be aware of the types of problems that your dog may encounter. Some of the more common age-related conditions include behavioral changes, impaired eyesight and hearing, mobility changes, dental diseases and cardiovascular changes. We cannot prevent our canine friends from getting old, but many age-related conditions are treatable, and an informed owner working with an experienced vet can greatly enhance the quality of the dog's older years.

When that quality wanes, that is the time we must make that hard-core decision, tough as that may be. When owning a pet you make them family and the last good-bye is bittersweet.

At any rate, keep adoption an option! There are many animals at our local shelters that can give you love and can also break your heart. I will tell you it's worth it.

As Jazz would say: "We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are."

Thought for the week: Take a few minutes and send a note to those people who reached out and greatly affected your life. Also do this: take a few minutes and reach out to help someone else get ahead. God Bless us all!

Some excerpts in this writing were taken from the Dog Watch newsletter.

Shirley Connealy
Paws to Ponder
Connealy has been a longtime advocate for animal rights.
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