Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

What it means to have an old dog


Having an old dog means you have to watch where you’re stepping in the kitchen while you cook, as she’s underfoot looking for anything dropped, and she can’t hear you move around.

Having an old dog means you get to open string cheese and actually eat the whole thing because she doesn’t hear the wrapper. Or the fridge door opening.

Having an old dog means you can get up to go to the bathroom at night without her getting up and having to do the same.

Having an old dog means when she does wake up in the middle of the night to go outside she’s serious about it and you better sleep with one ear cocked.

Having an old dog means you don’t travel as much, and never as a couple because someone needs to be home with her.

Having an old dog means shorter walks and longer sits on the deck.

Having an old dog means you smile wistfully when she play bows, or attacks your feet. Because she doesn’t do that very often anymore.

Having an old dog means you stare at her when she’s sleeping, memorizing the way her fur curls around her ears.

Having an old dog means more vet appointments and bigger bills.

Having an old dog means cooking chicken and rice for someone other than your people.

Having an old dog means pointing out the squirrels in her backyard and feeling sad when she doesn’t care.

Having an old dog means sometimes you sit longer in one spot because she’s finally settled and you don’t want to make her move again.

Having an old dog means stepping out of the shower and having to dry your own legs off because she doesn’t come to lick away the water.

Having an old dog means waking her up before you go to the grocery so she doesn’t wake on her own and look for you.

Having an old dog means sometimes finding her looking for you anyway, even though you haven’t left the house.

Having an old dog means reassuring her that you’re still sitting in the same chair when she opens one eye to check on you as she naps.

Having an old dog is keeping all her toys, even her frisbee, out of sentimentality rather than any hope she’s going to play with them again.

Having an old dog means going out in the backyard to explore and sometimes having to carry her back into the house.

Having an old dog means the UPS or FedEx driver can ring the doorbell and she doesn’t go crazy barking.

Having an old dog means checking the floor after she’s been deeply asleep to make sure she hasn’t leaked.

Having an old dog means letting her choose where we go on our daily walks.

Having an old dog means sitting at a picnic table and watching her park rather than exploring much of it at all.

But mostly having an old dog means you are very very lucky.

Love you baby-girl.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

53 thoughts on “What it means to have an old dog

  1. All so very true ….and having an old dog means sooner than you want it too….one day you will look for them and they won’t be there and you heart will break every time it happens .


  2. This brought tears to my eyes. Wish dogs lived longer and didn’t grow old so soon.


  3. yes, having an old dog means YOU are VERY, VERY, LUCKY.


  4. Oh, Dawn… I love you too, Princess.


  5. She is such a great companion and you are such a great doggie mom. Thinking of you while you enjoy every moment with her.


  6. Having an old dog means that you have been blessed with unconditional love and warm legs at night for more than a decade. Thank you for the reminder that God has blessed me and our family. Stay well and happy. Peace.


    • Yes, she used to run down the hall and JUMP !!! into bed with us. She hasn’t done that in years, it took us awhile to figure out she hadn’t been on the bed in awhile. I think she hurts when she jumps down and maybe up too. She’s choosing to be on a stack of pillows on the floor these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t see to type response because of the tears. So many times I’ve done all of the above. Hugs of love to the Princess, you and Dad.


    • Thank you. She had a pretty good day today, we went to her park and sat under a picnic table. Well. She sat under the table. I sat AT the table. She’s napping now, that was a pretty big day.


  8. Just when I think my heart has healed, I read something like this, and I start aching all over again. Beautifully written, Dawn, as only someone who’s loved an old dog could do. Dallas did much of what you’ve listed — and I have to admit, he was way easier as an old dog than as a puppy. Gee, Scary Boom Day wasn’t scary at all, once he lost his hearing! (I’m dreading that holiday with Monkey in a few weeks!) Hang in there and cherish every moment with your beautiful princess!


  9. Oh my gosh, I agree with every single word!


  10. Oh! Your post has made my eyes wet. I am sitting here looking at my old dog, asleep on the floor not far from me, which is what she does almost all of the time now. This morning, once again, she did not eat all of her breakfast and when this old dog doesn’t eat, you know it’s not good because she’s all about food. Or was all about food. I’ve noticed so many big changes in her actions and behavior just in the past couple of weeks. The most recent is her inability or unwillingness to use the stairs she’s been using for a long time now to get on the bed, because jumping on the bed became a problem quite awhile ago. So yesterday evening I jury-rigged another way for her to get on the bed, which is working. For now. UPS arriving is no longer an exciting event. My bowl of cereal is no longer watched intently. My heart aches as I watch the fading away, and I am torn – do I assist her at life’s end, or do I let nature take its course?



    • It’s a hard decision, that’s for sure. Both our previous 2 shelties died on their own without us having to make the decision. This one? Well, she’s stubborn so I bet she makes us decide. I don’t think it’s going to be real soon, but maybe sooner than I imagine, depending on what the lab work says.


  11. Excellent observations. Life slows to their pace doesn’t it? I think it’s intended to let you soak in more of the details of them, so you’ll never forget.


  12. Yes and sometimes when they are asleep you wonder if they have passed on because they are sleeping so sound. We always hoped that Chance would just fall asleep…and I hope Katie does that for you when she is ready. Sending you a hug:)


  13. ♥~ Loving an old dog is very special.


  14. Hugs a zillion times over.

    “Having an old dog means stepping out of the shower and having to dry your own legs off because she doesn’t come to lick away the water.” That was Chip’s job. The only dog I’ve ever had who did that (that I can recall).

    Having an old dog means that, when you try to wake them up and they don’t respond, you start trying to figure out whether they’re even still alive, and if they are, why won’t they wake up?

    And, yes, another zillion times over, having an old dog is lucky indeed.


    • Katie is the only one of the 3 we’ve had that likes to lick your legs when you get out of the shower. She used to do it every day. For the past couple years she doesn’t sleep in the bathroom while I shower, but just lately she’s coming in there and waiting for me to get out again. It’s kind of sweet.


  15. I have loved every dog we have ever had. Our first dog we got together Krissy lived for 18 years she was a mix breed with sheltie in her. Our second oldest was Eye Eye she was a mix breed with some chow in her was 16 years old when she passed away all the rest through the years were all younger. I loved them all they all had a special place in my heart. Now we have the 3 dogs Daisy is 8 Zoee will soon be 3 and Cricket is about 1 1/2 yrs old. Spoil them all you can while you have them that is my motto.


  16. Being owned by an old dog is an honor indeed. I hope you all and Katie have many more enjoyable days together. Princess Katie is blessed to have you as her loving parents. Sending love, hugs, and you all are in my prayers. 💕


    • Thank you very much. We are blessed to have been able to be her parents. Her breeder is having a hard time with this, though she hasn’t seen her in 14.5 years. She’s stayed close reading the blog and watching her pictures on FB, so she’s still really attached. It’s hard on lots of people. The princess has no idea her reach.


  17. Dawn I couldn’t make it all way through your post- I lived through everything you wrote, and tears clouded my vision even though my babies are gone 10 years. My kitchen became a hospice for 2 years as my Sammy who was 17 slowly entered the world of dementia. He died at 19, and then our Max began his journey into old age, for another 2 years, until he was 17. I didn’t sleep through the night those many years. They had been sick for so long I had forgotten their youth, it was only when I went through old photos I remembered how vibrant they had once been. I am glad you have your wonderful blog to always look back on. And yes, you are very lucky indeed.


  18. Oh boy, that brought tears to my eyes. Tears of sadness, yes, but tears of love, and memories. You write so well, Dawn, thank you.


  19. That is pawsome. It made me smile.

    Dog Speed

    Dog Dad


  20. Pingback: It’s been a tough few weeks | Change Is Hard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.