Kiera is the first dog I’ve lived with that has made it to twelve years old. Knock on wood–she’s going strong. I tell her I just want her to make it until fourteen. (I secretly hope she’ll make it past that, but I’ll take whatever I can get.)

As she gets older, she continues to teach me a lot about the things that matter and the things that don’t.

When she was younger, she wasn’t allowed on the furniture. Now all I care about is that her old bones are comfortable.

When she was younger, I used to take her to be groomed twice a year to help me keep her coat under control. She’s always hated going, and would start shaking violently once we got there. I can’t image stressing her in that way anymore. I don’t care how her coat looks anymore. I do the best with keeping her brushed as I can. Now all I care about is that she feel’s safe and happy.

When she was younger, I used to make sure we’d get our walks in around town to help keep her socialized. She’s always hated having uninvited strangers coming up to try to pet her. Now the walks we take are around our fenced property where no one can bother her and she can walk by my side without a leash.

Because the list of “when she was younger” is long, the resulting awareness of appreciation for who she is and what she needs now is deep. That’s because I used to think I knew better, but now I know that she does. I’m finally old enough and wise enough now to really listen–to let her show me the way.

Happy Birthday my beloved. Hoping you have many more.