Dog Days of Summer with Our Senior Dog

Mia on the day we got her: June 4, 2011.

I found a handwritten (I know, right?) journal entry from Jan. 17, 2012, about six months after we got Mia:

There’s something very special about Mia. She knows her role in my heart. She stays by my side and doesn’t cause any trouble. She’s my constant companion so I’m never alone.

But what happens when she’s gone?

She has few demands, just “don’t ever leave me.”

Her muzzle is darker than Isis’s, with a half-moon of silver frosting on her upper lip. It’s what made me think she wasn’t right for us. I almost turned her down. 

How could I love this old dog?

How could anyone give her away?

Over the last couple of years, Mia’s decided to be Rob’s constant companion. And yeah, I’m jealous. She follows him around the house and hops up on the couch beside him.

We used to have a morning ritual after he left for work where she’d get up onto Rob’s pillow and cuddle with me, but she doesn’t climb up on the bed anymore. And if I sit down next to her on the couch, or on the floor, I have to be very careful not to fawn over her too much, because she’ll get up and move.

Leo doesn’t even get up on the bed with me anymore. I understand now what parents go through when their children get too big to sit on their laps. I think they call that Baby Fever.

I like to read outside, and love it when Leo comes and lies down right next to my chair. Even that doesn’t last as long as it used to, and frequently, he’ll run back into the house, and I’m out there by myself.

So we have a new ritual. Mia can’t keep up on walks anymore, so every day when we get home from work, we put her Help ’em Up harness on her, and assist her up the hill in the backyard. I lay out a blanket and lie down with my book. Somehow, this is more inviting to Leo than when I’m sitting in the chair. Or else he thinks I’m more vulnerable and in need of protecting. Either way, it’s the only time I can get both dogs to lie down beside me.

I just wanted to post this here so I’ll remember it next summer . . .

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

6 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer with Our Senior Dog

  1. It is hard when they get older and slower. I look back at my dogs that got older (and sometimes it seemed like “how did that happen”) and we have to slow down in life to savor the moments with them. Then I also look back sometimes with regret and wish I had spent more time but unfortunately real life has bills to pay and housework to be done. I do have to admit I put off housework more as I age because I want to spend the quality time with my dogs (whose lives are always too short no matter how long they live).
    I once read a saying that said if dogs lived long long lives with us, there would be so many more that would be put down or killed in shelters. With their short lives, we just get to love more and share our life with more. It is sad but true.

  2. Enjoy every moment. Time seems to go faster as our dogs get older.

    We lost our 13 year old girl on Monday. Seeing your old dog makes me feel a bit nostalgic.

  3. Our 15-year-old dog is too arthritic to keep up, so we are luck he is small enough to fit in a dog stroller. As soon as the heat breaks, we hope to take him out in it!

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