I Love Frosted Faces

One of the many enjoyable things about working at VCA Kennel Club for as long as I have is that I have helped to take care of literally thousands of dogs and cats. It’s ever changing as clients’ needs change. Every few years, I realize we’re seeing a different group of pets on a regular basis.blogEntryTopper

In the last few years, I have noticed something about myself. I’m incredibly drawn towards our older guests. There’s something about the sweet, frosted-faced dogs that I love. Most older pets always look so wise. I remember the 1980s remake, “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,” where a Siamese cat, a Boxer, and a Golden Retriever are making their way home. Each of them “talk”. Shadow, the Golden, is voiced by the actor Don Ameche, imparting life lessons for Chance, the young and crazy Boxer. Ameche’s older voice blends perfectly. It is how I picture older dogs and cats communicating today.

When we have older pets here with us, they may need help getting up and out of their accommodations. I’ve come to enjoy the extra time it takes to assist them. Pets give us so much and to me, the extra time is like paying them back. For many dogs, once they are up and moving, they can go anywhere. It’s just the first steps where they need help. I also enjoy giving them words of encouragement. It’s wonderful to see a family that is made up of an older dog and a younger dog. When the younger dog is new, you can tell the older one is showing them the ropes.

Over the years, I’ve watch many guests get older. One such guest is Summer, the Lhasa Apso. We started seeing Summer in 2008. Her family absolutely loves to take cruises and go fairly often. Whether it is a quick weekend to Mexico or a week-plus to Puerto Rico, we love hosting Summer. Even at 14, she’s pretty spry! As she has gotten older, she may take extra naps, but when she is awake, she’s having fun!

summer enjoying her Garden Room.
Summer loves to live it up in our Garden Room!

Not all older dogs need extra help. We used to see an 11-year old Vizsla named Percy. Whereas Percy was older, he refused to act it. He was always excited about life! He would come in with his much younger sister, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Koda. Percy often made Koda look like she was the calmer of the pair! It was so funny. Sadly, he passed away last year. I can picture him in Doggy Heaven being his perpetually happy self, running and running.

It’s not just the dogs. I love the older cats, too. There’s one in particular that I love–Woody a 20-year old brown tabby. We started seeing him in 2007, when he would have been a spry 5-year old. Woody has always been a sweet, wonderful kitty and he has aged incredibly well. It’s only been in the last couple of years that he has slowed down. He requires a little extra care now, but I don’t mind. It’s like helping out an old friend. You care so much and treasure every moment with them, it really isn’t a chore. When you look at Woody, you can feel an aura of knowledge that comes with age.

At home, I have two older dogs. Penny is now 16 and is the dog I’ve had the longest! She’s a spaniel mix we adopted in July of 2006. She’s doing great! Penny has always been pretty darn perfect. And her senior years are no different. She is so sweet and agreeable to almost anything. Penny may be older, but she still can run! She loves to stalk our squirrel friends outside and will run along the fence trying to engage them. When it is time to go in, Penny will run to the back door with the sweetest of grins. It’s so cute!

My other older dog is actually the one I have had the least amount of time. Josie, the Cockapoo, was a guest here with her brother, but their owner had to give them up. Last year, SPARE (a rescue group we work with) found a home for her brother Mac who is a middle-aged Cavalier King Charles. Sweet Josie was 16 at the time. No one really wants a dog that old–except me! After Mac found a new home, I decided she needed a new home, too.

Josie has been a wonderful addition to our family. She’s now 17 years old. Don’t let that number fool you. Josie is quick and still very lively. She does sleep a lot, but she will get up and move to where there’s action. I’ve joked that she apparates like characters in “Harry Potter” do! I’ll walk down the hall to our bedroom and then all of a sudden Josie will be there. How’d she get there so fast? I like to joke that she’s like human 17-year olds: she’s just enjoying life and living it up! Josie is an absolute joy to have around. We may only have her a few more months but I’m so happy that she can live out the rest of her life with us!

josie is a spry 17 year old
Don't let that sweet old face fool you–Josie can be a speed demon!

While their days of running a marathon may be over, older pets still have a lot of love and companionship to give. When yours get older, remember that there’s still a vibrant soul in that body and take care of them well. And, truly, if you have space and need another dog or cat, go to the shelter or contact my favorite rescue group, SPARE, and ask for a senior pet. They still have so much love to give!

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