Rescuing a senior dog

I get it now.

I used to wonder how anyone could adopt a senior dog. How can you invest your emotions in a dog you know you won’t have very long?

I saw a woman on an episode of Pit Bulls and Parolees who had a soft spot for senior dogs and could always be counted on to take them. What a saint. How much heartbreak!

After losing Isis way too soon, why would we want to adopt a dog that we probably wouldn’t even have for as long as we had her?

Then Mia came into our lives. We think she’s seven. Rob says he’ll be happy if we have her for four years (since that’s how long we had Isis). I said I doubted we’d have her that long. And she’s only been with us two weeks, so maybe it’s too soon for me to make such declarations about understanding why people rescue senior dogs.

We adopted Mia knowing that she’s already lived a long life, so we’re not expecting to spend 10 years with her, like we did with Isis. We don’t have a dog-lifetime of memories of getting her as an itty bitty puppy. Behavior-wise, she’s an angel. She doesn’t require the constant attention, exercise and stimulation that a puppy needs. She doesn’t destroy stuff. She’s an absolute pleasure.

So, yes, rescuing a senior dog is totally worth it. You know how they say people with pets have lower stress levels? I can’t say that was ever the case with Isis, Isis and Leo combined, or Leo on his own. But Mia brought peace with her. She relaxes me.

Unfortunately, there is something stressful on the horizon, I fear. Something that comes with the territory of rescuing a senior dog. She’s going to have health problems. I’m having her teeth cleaned next week. She might need to have a tooth pulled. What if they tell me she needs a root canal (or three or four, like Isis had)? How much should we do to preserve the teeth of a dog who might not live more than a couple of more years?

I do feel anxious about how much money it will cost to keep Mia healthy and free of pain for the rest of her life. But no matter what we do, I know it’s more than anyone else was going to do for her. And I won’t regret it, no matter the cost, because of what she’s given us already.