Fact: Emmett is old.
He’s not getting old. He’s just straight-up old.
This is not a fact that I’ve readily accepted.
Oh, no. The opposite, really. “Of course he’s getting older,” I would said. “Everyone is!”
Except, at 13.5, Emmett is actually old. He’s no longer in his golden years. The reality is, he’s in his twilight years.
And you know what? They are going to be as good, as happy, as full of life and love and joy as they can possibly be!
Me and my best friend in the whole world…
One of the things that happens as we–people or pets–age is that we get pushed aside. I’m speaking generally, of course, but the American culture is largely ambivalent towards the elderly; we love them, of course, but we also sort of ignore them because they can be sort of inconvenient. Sadly.
With dogs, I feel like that gets exaggerated, and so many seniors spend their twilight lazing in a dog bed in the living room, gaining weight, and maybe feeling a bit bored and lonely.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
There are simple little things that you can do to make your aging pup’s life as rich as ever. Here’s what we’ve been doing for Em:
- Healthy, wholesome food (most of the time). We are all about good nutrition as the foundation of good health. We’ve been feeding Em Wellness, and he gets a slew of supplements, including goodies like coconut oil and DGP for his joints. That said, it’s not possible or kind to only feed him (or anyone, for that matter) healthy all the time! In addition to the occasional puppy latte from Starbucks, we’ll treat him to a seriously special meal. Like earlier this week: John stopped at a deli and got Emmett a baked potato stuffed with chicken and cheddar. Healthy is good. Decadent is, too, on occasion!
- Exercise and outings. Though he can’t go on jogs or long hikes like used to, nothing (but maybe that chicken-stuffed potato…) makes him happier than an outing. Emmett loves to walk. His legs aren’t in great shape, so we go from our driveway to the lamppost at the corner and back. Or, we lift him into the car and parade around PetSmart to pick up food or cat litter. He gets wiped out super fast, so these are short walks and short outings, but he loves them so we make the effort.
- Support, as needed. Everyone ages differently. While Emmett’s lost his hearing, others lose their vision–or both. While some experience painful arthritis, Emmett’s going through a whole other situation with his back legs. It’s a neuro issue, but it’s caused him to struggle to keep his balance. ToeGrips have saved the day. They keep him from slip-sliding all around the kitchen and the slippery floor at the vet or PetSmart. We also have him getting acupuncture once a week, and the vet who does it recommended exercises that we do on days we don’t walk him. The ToeGrips + acupuncture + exercises give Em the support he needs, but every senior dog is going to need a solution for whatever support they need.
Oh, and after all that, he needs naps! Big-time naps! So, since he can’t jump on the couch or bed anymore, I climb into his bed to snuggle with him!
I’m grateful for every single second we have with Emmett. Many of you know that when he got his cancer diagnosis in April 2014, they told us he had–at most–six months. We’re lucky and blessed and thankful for each day he has with us. I want those days to be as happy and comfy as possible.
Good food, exercise, and support… does the trick!
(Want to learn more about our full routine with Emmett? Check out my earlier post, The Real Deal on Aging Dogs!)
For those of you who love senior pups, what tweaks and adjustments have you made to accommodate your dog’s health and happiness? How do you ensure your dog is super comfy in his golden-into-twilight years? I’d love to learn what you’re up to with your dog!