Note: The following is an excerpt from an article by Jennifer Kachnic.
Quality of life is no doubt your number one goal for your senior canine companion. But as your dog ages, physical and emotional changes can leave you questioning how she is truly feeling.
You may wonder if the walks are too long, or if the level of play is sufficient. Questions such as these can be explored with the services of an animal communicator.
Now, on to what senior dogs have to say…
Animals are very skillful at living in the present moment. They don’t worry about the past or fret about the future. Although their past can affect their behaviors, they are not thinking about it over and over the way humans do. They are living in the now and encourage you to join them.
Often, senior dogs find it disturbing when their human companion is worried or anxious about his or her state of being. They wonder why people focus on what might happen in the future rather than what is currently occurring. Your dog’s desire is to encourage you to concentrate on the fun you could be having together, rather than on being upset unnecessarily. He thinks in the positive and does his best to get you there, too. Perhaps he brings you toys, nudges your arm, or looks soulfully into your eyes. His message to you is stick to the moment.
Another insight I have gained from my communication with senior dogs is that their perception of pain may not be what you imagine. I remember working with a dog named Bud, a big, handsome, Chesapeake Bay retriever mix who had just undergone major knee surgery the week prior. I asked him, “How is your knee?” He replied, “Which one?” I smiled. That was the day I learned to never assume a dog is living in his pain.
Moving on to an important topic…
Within the loving relationship between you and your dog lies the reality that he or she will leave some day. No one likes to think about it ahead of time, but when the senior years approach, death becomes a glaring certainty. Dying is very difficult to contemplate for humans. This is not usually so for dogs. They do not fear their impending transition. Instead, they embrace it.
Animals teach that death is a process. Aching joints, weakening muscles, and digestive issues are common occurrences for elder dogs. Illnesses can also be components of preparing for end of life. Although they can be challenging for both of you, physical changes are a necessary part of the experience. This process allows your dog to slow down and accept the deterioration of his body so he can begin to welcome the completion of his life.
A senior dog does not view a disease as a problem. She embraces anything and everything as a part of her journey. Through my experience, dogs have shown me that they gracefully accept all that is going on within their bodies.