Have I Lost My Mind? New Love At An Advanced Age

The following post is a guest blog by my mother, Mary, who recently opened up to the possibility of getting a new dog. She hasn't had a puppy in about 15 years and thought it would be a good idea to share the experience of her journey as a senior thinking of re-entering the world of canine companionship. – Kelly

I am a 62-year-old woman, with a 69-year-old significant other named Fred.  We have been together for 16 years. We have bought a home together, have grandchildren together, and have been through my heart attack and breast cancer together.  Some would say we’ve experienced a lifetime in a few short years.

I had a German Shepherd when Fred and I met. Sadie was a beautiful, very smart, yet somewhat neurotic dog.

My first daughter always had a love for animals and became the best dog trainer on this earth (some would say I am a little biased). From time to time she’d call and tell us about a dog that need a good home.  I would pay no attention to the conversation; the last thing I wanted was another dog.  One day she called to tell us about an adorable female Rottweiler that needed a home knowing Fred had always wanted one.  She asked if she could bring the dog over for Fred to see, said she was taking care of it for a few days.  I said NO, Fred said yes. My daughter and the dog appeared at my doorstep within a few hours.

As my daughter was leaving I said, “You forgot the dog”.  Her response was she had a lot to do and would be back in two or three days.  Well we all know how this ended.  Of course we fell in love with her and kept her; Bailey was the sweetest and gentlest dog you could ever imagine.

As all good things have to come to an end, eventually she became old and ill.  We lost her a little over a year ago.   At that time I was tired of poop all over the yard and hair all over the house, so I told myself.

Time has passed and there has been a deadly silence in our home, something missing - a good reason to get up in the morning (besides work).  Also, there is something to say about having somebody special meet you at the door after a long day.

Fred has wanted a dog for the last year but I stood my ground, “If IT EATS AND POOPS, I DO NOT WANT IT.  I AM TIRED OF RESPONSIBILITIES”.

Well one day, after caring for my other daughter’s cat for a week, I realized how nice it would be to have an animal to love and watch grow up again.  I have had many mixed feeling and thoughts about getting a puppy at our age.  What happens if we cannot take care of this addition to our home? What if we get sick, too old, or heaven forbid one of us is no longer here. Am I ready for such a big commitment again?

Well, I have overcome my fears, and after a lot of soul searching I decided to give Fred a dog for his 69th birthday.

With my daughter’s help we did find a Ridgeback in a rescue that seemed like the dog for us. Now I am having trouble sleeping with all the worries, excitement, and anticipation of bring a new life in our home.

I have made lists of things we need to do before he arrives. I have printed out the Puppy Bites on Dog Star Daily. We are reading Dr. Dunbar’s books, trying to be ready to start off on the right foot.  I have driving my daughter crazy with phone calls about everything from what food to feed him and what type of crate I should purchase. Oh my, what have I forgotten! Fred thinks I have lost my mind and I have to agree with him.

WHAT WAS I THINKING, BRINGING A NEW YOUNG LIFE INTO OUR HOME?  After all this is a lifelong responsibility.

I hope we are up to this adventure. I will try to keep everyone posted, especially seniors thinking about getting a dog. IS THIS A GOOD IDEA OR NOT?