Monday, October 26, 2009

Babies and Old Dogs

Our neighbors Melanie and Bart are members of the old dogs club. They are the owners of One Eyed Jack, a thirteen year old black male Labrador retriever with one eye. Melanie and Bart are also expecting their second child.

The other day I ran into Melanie as she was walking back from the bus stop with Jack and we stopped to chat. I commented that Jack seems to be doing well. She shared with me how he has his good days and his bad days lately. She is concerned that he’ll start needing more attention just around the time they’ll be busy with a new baby in the house.

That got me to thinking about old dogs and babies. They both require lots of attention, one on the way into the world and the other on the way out. They both lack the skill to communicate with words about what is ailing them.

Our oldest dog, Lucky, will turn fourteen this January. Already she gets us up twice a night to relieve herself. Much like parents with a newborn, Mama Wordbones and I will take turns getting up out of a warm bed in the middle of the night and going downstairs to let her out. Sometimes this task includes stepping out in the cold night air to help her get up the steps.

Two of the other members of the old dogs club in our neighborhood also have newborns in their home. I suppose the natural progression of things means that in the next few years there will also be a progression of new puppies.


UhOhBadDog said...

So very true, and looking at the friends in my circle, a fairly common occurrence as the dogs came first, and have aged with us as the family expands. We have two children, 2 & 4, and fortunately our Golden Retriever is still healthy at 10, but we know that could change.

One suggestion (although not one for those with new babies here or on the way), consider bringing the puppy into the home before the old dog nears the twilight. You'd be amazed at what an old dog can teach a young pup, and in our past experience, has led to that old dog feeling quite young again. We're just about ready to start the cycle again.

Good luck!