Hello all greyhound enthusiasts! Apologies for the delay in blogging – I have been away and when not abroad, actually drowning in my work! Now I am coming up for air and I have been struck by a thought which I feel the need to pontificate on!
Why is it many people refuse to consider an old dog as a new pet?
I suppose there is an appeal in taking on a younger dog, since you do get to mould them efficiently to your way of life and expectations precisely and in a nutshell I think that’s the answer. However, it breaks my heart to think of the all the older dogs in rescue centres who spend their days watching prospective owners walk straight past them to coo at the younger dogs and puppies in the next pen.
Some of these older dogs have actually been put into rescue centres by their first owners because they have become too old. These are the same people that a few short years before went to a breeder to collect a puppy and were so excited and loving.
It can be that the burdens of medical care or the lack of bouncing excitement in the family after some years, end up signing their hand over papers for them. I literally do not understand this position. If you take on a pet you surely know up front that this is a commitment for life, don’t you? From the tiny bundle of extreme cuteness (I challenge to show me a puppy that isn’t cute if you can) through the various stages of training, challenges, excitement of activities you can share, through to the gentle plodding of an older dog’s companionship and the loss of things like quick hearing and ever willingness to play.
This of course then by default leads to the time when you have to care for the last stages of the pet’s life and ultimately say good bye. I know this is a truly depressing thought but it takes a strong, loving heart to accept your extended responsibility. Being there for an animal for all of these stages is what it is all about, and you will find that your dog’s love for you will not falter because you too are increasing in years and possibly decreasing in energy alongside them!
Someone once said: ‘True love has no fear of time’. To me this is absolutely true and something worth absolute respect. You should return what you receive and a dog will be there for you through thick and thin and will love you unconditionally through everything you go through.
In the case of my old lady greyhound; she is the silent loving presence in my life that is as solid and dependable as any other member of my family. She does not judge or criticise. She takes me as I am, whether it is dressed up for a night out that she cannot come to, or slopping around, ill, in my PJs.
Knowing this is what you are entering into with a new dog, how can anyone suddenly want to end that relationship because the dog is getting too old?
In fact I actively sought this out when I adopted Suzie as a 10 year old, knowing the quieter stages of this relationship is what I wanted. I was living in a flat for one thing and did not have the time or garden for the puppy training stage. Suzie had lost a loving owner through bereavement and so needed a new second home. There was no space in my conscious to leave her in a kennel for her retirement – and the rescue centre who recommended her to me felt the same. It was a perfect match!
She has been an ideal, easy companion and remains to this day to be such. She is an ideal low maintenance pet for a working person. She is gentle and loving to everything and everyone she meets. She gets me out and about three times a day. She makes me laugh and smile even when I don’t think I can (she seems to know when to suddenly re find her youth from her toy box!) She even helps me to form new parts of both our lives by being a therapy dog in a new town. This is all from a dog who is now 12 years old and frankly coming a little bit undone at the seams!
She doesn’t see so well, her legs are a bit wobbly, her hearing is at best selective (!) and she sleeps more than Rip Van Winkle BUT she is an absolute joy.
I would urge anyone who has 100% reliable-friend-shaped-hole in their lives to go for an older greyhound. Although it is admittedly a shorter term commitment (which you need to be prepared for) this can also even be an advantage in some situations and as long as you are ready for the responsibilities of gentle care, you will find it one of the most rewarding relationships in your entire life – whatever the length.
So remember ‘True love has no fear of time’ and adopt a golden oldie!