I have never had a puppy. All my dogs came to me as older (or middle-aged) adults, along with all their mountains of doggy baggage. I have recently been going through a roller coaster of health issues with Bernice, which is why I have been mostly absent from my blog (and why I gave you the lame banty post yesterday). On Sunday, Bernice was herself. On Monday, she was a disconnected, stumbling, incontinent, frail dog that I barely recognized. She wouldn't eat or drink. She couldn't focus. It was terrifying, heart-breaking and sleep-depriving. Also, expensive. I am lucky that I have finally found a wonderful vet and I hope he keeps practicing until we're both too old to have pets. In my case, that would be well into the 100s. I am a glutton for punishment. This morning, Bernice finally ate something. Cat food. She turned away from the sauteed ground round, ground chuck, simmered organic chicken with broth. What turned her around this morning was a small tin of Tuna & Whitefish glop. Sigh. Like most parents, my children prefer McDs.
Bernice is in the records as "Approx 11/Unknown". When I adopted her, I was told she was four. I have found that "four" is the standard age of any adult dog whose history is a mystery. The vet I had when I adopted her thought she could be as old as eight. So, Bernice is either 11 or 15. I am guessing that she's closer to 15. She came to me a bundle of nerves and anxiety. She is, after 7 years in my care, a slightly better bundle of nerves and anxiety. But she is all mine and I love her with all my heart.
So, why would I adopt a dog when there was a pretty good chance our time together would be limited? When there was a pretty good chance that the ensuing vet bills would keep me in debt and brown bag lunches? Because I firmly believe that every single old, stray, abandoned, abused, misused, unloved dog (cat, goat, sheep, llama, elephant, platypus) deserves a chance to experience a loving home. Even if it's for a year. Or even less. The pure joy they experience (and you by default) as they come to realize that this - this place with the comfy furniture, soft beds, long walks, good food, and all the love they can handle - is now their reality. It is all for them. It's worth the Doggy Depends.
So I will happily feed her Fancy Feast Tuna & Whitefish three times a day - with a spoon, if necessary. We are not out of the woods yet, and there is still my 'youngster', Scrappy (13) to consider but, we oldsters have to stick together.