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.

5 thoughts on “Twelve”

  1. Well, our 1/8th Border Collie and 7/8ths Blue Heeler made it to almost 16.5. Though I am not sure there was any quality of life for her that last year. She suffered too much but being she was our daughter’s dog we let her choose. Actually our dog became so ill that it just could not go on. But it is so very hard to loose them and especially the ones who are so excellent. Enjoy the time you have left with your beautiful dog! We have not gotten another dog and may not. Our lifestyle is changing due to retirement, etc. and it may not be feasible with how we have to live in the future. So for now, we are not. I do not understand why their life span is so short…and a parrot is often alive longer than a human!!

    1. Elizabeth, I’m with you– why do such incredible beings have such short lifespans? And, yes, Kiera is one of those “excellent” dogs. : ) It’s not always easy to know when to let go, as with your Heeler. But it sounds as if she was loved for every minute you had her. I also understand about thinking maybe you won’t get another dog. It’s such a life-altering commitment for the time we have them.

  2. Oh, the groomer…my dog hates that. I took her this week and we forgot one of her collars there. The groomer just moved into my neighborhood so we now have to walk by her place on our walks and when we start getting close, my dog starts trembling, tries to grab the leash to turn me around, tries to run away…The groomer seems nice, but this behavior in my dog makes me wonder what happens while I’m not there…or maybe my dog just hates it. Next time, I’m going to try a groomer that comes to my house.

    1. Meredith, a quick training trick to help your dog walk comfortably past the groomer’s house– carry some treats on you and just as you get within visual shot of the groomers, start treating her like crazy until you get past. All the while telling her what a good girl she is an a happy, upbeat voice. In just a couple of walks, she should be fine again.

      As for grooming, I know for Kiera that it’s how hard and how long the groomer brushes to get her undercoat out. I think it’s similar for our dogs as when we were kids and our mothers would rip a brush through our tangled hair and not be too worried whether it hurt or not– times ten! I wish I could find a groomer that would come to the house just for baths. I’ve really given up on finding someone who has the time and patience to work through Kiera’s thick coat without hurting her. So now I just do a little bit everyday, because I’d rather have her look a little scruffy and be happy.

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