Elsa and I were out walking early at the park yesterday morning. We were enjoying the warmth of the sun as it rose over the hills and came through the tops of the trees. I love this time of year; as the spring rains end, leaving a blanket of green and blossoms in their wake. The sound of birds fill the air; bringing with it a sense of tranquility all around. Early morning is a great time to get out and find some peace before the day begins.
As we made our way around the park we passed by others who were out enjoying the dawn. We walked by a couple of little white fluffy dogs, a Golden Retriever who was wanting nothing to do with retrieving, a big Akita, a rambunctious black Labrador and a Rottweiler. None of the dogs phased Elsa, except for the Rottie. As I discussed on my last "LIVE" session on my Facebook page; Rottweilers freak Elsa out. The lack of tail and dark body leave her with little information to read.
As we continued our walk, further down the path and just ahead of us a bit was an old guy. An old Siberian Husky who's legs told of his younger years gone by. They buckled with each step; but his human guardian took her time. She was meandering with him and smiling as he stopped to smell the bushes. Old dogs make me smile. I love old dogs.
After living with many dogs through their youth, adulthood, middle age and into the golden years; I have been privilege to the joy and wonder of old dogs. It is a time when we step up to be there. Our dogs give us their all, they share their life with us and teach us many things throughout our lives together. But it is in their final years when we learn the most about love, patience, caring and giving. It is a humbling experience and one that I cherish at every turn.
Living with an old dog is a gift. One that gives just by being in the moment with our dog. The memories come flooding back when I think of my dog's golden years. Luke was my most recent "old guy," and he left behind a legacy; one that I draw on regularly and lovingly. He was my heart and those last months with him were some of the most precious moments of my life.
Yes, living with old dogs is work. Many ailments can inflict a dog as they age, just like us. How lucky are those of us who are given the gift of caring for an old dog. Many people never get to experience this as they lose their canine companions before the golden years. Giving is what life is all about. It comes in many forms but is a life altering act.
To give - to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow:
Old dogs force us to slow down, be in the moment, take in life as it unfolds before us. Watching an old dog as they enjoy the warmth of the sunshine on their body, take in the smells of a passing breeze or simply sit and watch the birds all around, is moving.
I have experienced so many "moments" with my old dogs over the years. Just having their head rest on my lap as they sleep and dream of years gone by, is such a gift. Far too often life gets too busy; we get wrapped up in everything else that those special "moments" pass us by. Once gone they are gone, never to return.
Right now, if you are living with an old dog, enjoy it. If the golden years are still out in the future for your dog, look forward to them. For those are the years that will impact you the most. Of course a life spent with a dog by your side is wonderful at every step. But after so many years together, those intrinsic years of gold are priceless.