I recently found out that November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and I had to do something… even if that something is just sharing how very, very grateful I am that I did just that.
Ten years ago, the same day that I got my first office job, a new dog came into the adoption center near me. We weren’t technically supposed to have dogs in our apartment, and my now-wife was skeptical we could pull it off… But I had spent my whole life with canines rounding out the family, and the idea of going another year without one made me ache. The fates conspired with me, though. I would suddenly earn enough to afford a dog, and a mid sized, mild mannered one drops in the exact same day.
She wasn’t as big I like dogs to be… which meant we could carry her up and down the stairs if she ever had health problems. She was standoffish… which meant that even when she came out of her shell she never felt the need to be the center of attention. She wasn’t very expressive… which meant she was very quiet and never bothered the neighbors. She was kind of boring… which meant that she was 100% fine with us being boring. To shorten this story, we were a perfect match.
She was six, was too perfectly behaved (hence the initial “boring” designation), and had been left at the city shelter by her family for some nebulous reason. We were young and just figuring out how to function (kind of) like adults, and although she often looked at us like we were crazy, she came out of her depression and decided we were her crazies, and spent the next four or five years nervous if we were out of her sight, just in case she lost us.
Now she’s fifteen, and we’ve been through bouts of unemployment, relationship “status updates,” and siblings of both the canine and human variety. It’s a good thing that she’s not the mountain dog of my dreams, as we have to help her with the stairs almost everyday.
People often see me with the old, slow moving dog and the baby and express something like sympathy… I know they mean well, and I certainly know an old dog and a young baby are big responsibilities… But I would rather focus on how lucky I am to have them in my life.
My dog is old enough to have adult sensibilities, and she’s often been an ally when my daughter is just… acting like such a baby! And she’s helping me teach my daughter how to respect others, by tolerating teaching sessions where my daughter learns to pet instead of hit, to greet instead of slam into, to let sleeping dogs lie…
No matter how lame or frazzled we humans get, our dog still looks at us with this amazed admiration, like she can’t believe we’re really hers- exactly how I feel.
And, in case you think my story is a fluke, I’m throwing in some two cents from Petfinder. (And let me stress again: already housebroken.)