As the owner of 3 Senior Dogs, 18, 13 and 11 (and one other that is only 6 because we had a momentary lapse of common sense) I've come to the realization that raising elderly dogs is like raising children and a little bit more added in.
The only ones who listened to me for years, were the dogs. I could talk until I turned blue, my son would ignore me. Now, I can talk and the dogs don't listen. Duchess is completely deaf now, Gracie we have realized hears if she is looking at you or if you yell at her. Nico still listens, but he has joined the world of subjective hearing. He will hear you if you want to give him food or let him out.
You spend the first two years of your childs life picking them up when they fall down. I'm currently picking Duchess up off of our wood floors more often than not. Wood floors and an elderly dog don't mix well. She may as well be walking on ice.
When your child starts to eat, you spend time mashing everything up so its easy to swallow. Cutting everything into tiny pieces so they don't choke. Yep, every morning I'm adding water and canned food to bowls to help with the chewing and swallowing process.
Remember the days of trying to get your young ones to take medicine? Well, all I can say is the inventor of pill pockets could be my best friend! If you have a dog that needs medicine, these are a must have! Just don't go with the Duck flavor! The smell is just awful.
We enter into the world of having children with the understanding it is a life long process. Once a parent, always a parent. They will make you feel love, anger, joy, and other things that you can't even put into words. Entering into the world of owning dogs comes with the same responsibility, just a little different.
Your dog will do things that make you angry and upset. Duchess killed a rabbit (well played with it like a toy is more accurate) the first year I was divorced and living alone. May not sound like much unless you have heard a rabbit in distress. Not a sound you want to hear, and who is going to get the now dead rabbit off of your porch? Nico ate a dining room table and chairs, and a hole in our kitchen wall the first year.
But, your dog won't talk back to you. Your dog won't say No to you. Nor will it slam the door on you, get mad at you, or never not need you. All a dog will do is love you and show you gratitude.
We certainly know our time is limited. I spend each morning paying close attention to Duchess. Is she in pain? Is she comfortable? Trying to be sure we aren't being selfish and keeping her around. She still goes out and walks the property every day. Every now and then, she breaks into a run. Even if after she looks perplexed as to "why the hell did I just do that?".
I've enjoyed being a Mother, now a Grandmother. (Ok, I will admit, writing I'm a Grandmother is a tad jolting!) And I've enjoyed being a "Mom" to our furry family also. We have been lucky to have the whole brood, even if I have to buy lint rollers a case at time!