When I am old and decrepit. If we are lucky, our furry family members will grow old with us. It’s a blessing to be able to watch your puppy move forward through all it’s life stages. One day they are chewing the furniture, they are in full on puppy mode. The next you realize that your friend has become much calmer and comfortable with your life together. For years you coast along, not really realizing how quickly things can change. With Nishka, our gorgeous Siberian Husky, Father Time snuck up on us one day. That dog could walk for hours and hours, she didn’t seem to have an off switch. We took her on a trip with us to a cottage when she was fifteen, she lost her Energizer Bunny status, it seemed like overnight she had slowed down markedly. We went from an hour and half walk twice a day, down to an hour, which then reduced to a half hour. It felt very sudden, she had became a geriatric dog in the blink of an eye. Our pets seem to do that, they age gracefully and then there seems to be this cumulative affect, where time catches up to them. Loving your animal in it’s twilight years is a true commitment. With Nishka, she was a proud dog, it behooved her when she would wake up soaked in her own urine. For us it was a major adjustment. We had to lay down plastic sheeting in the bedrooms where she liked to sleep at night to protect the carpets, we were forever cleaning us mishaps. Then came the day where the stairs were just not an option for her, we had set her up with a crate in the main living area. Every morning I would have to wash her bedding. Her incontinence meant frequent trips to the Doggie Wash for a bath to keep her from smelling. The thing about having a senior dog, other people in your life will have a lot of opinions. “Why don’t you put that poor dog down?” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I could have retired. The thing about our old girl, she wasn’t wanting to let go, she loved her walks, she loved being alive and there was no way she wanted to be put down. So I ignored the comments and jokes about the twenty-two caliber solution that would fix things. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of taking care of a lovely old boy, whose back legs have different ideas about supporting his frame. He can’t hear so well, he is stiff and sleeping is about all he feels like doing, until he hears his leash jingle and he perks up and is ready to get out for some fresh air. His people have been incredibly accommodating to adjust to his needs and he is a happy old guy. They are struggling with whether it is time to let him go, as he too, has become incontinent. Where am I going with this? Love your friend for as long as you possibly can. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly about your decision to keep your four legged friend in your life. As long as you are truly there to commit to their care and can cater to their needs, then there is no need to succumb to other’s judgement of what they think you should do. There is no right or wrong, as long as your friend is safe and supported, ignore those who think they have all the answers. When it is time, you will know, our friends usually have subtle ways of helping us to realize they are ready to let you go, and then you can honour them by letting them go.