If you have ever raised a puppy and walked with them through their entire journey to “old age” or golden years (apropos for my Golden), you know what I have only found out for the first time with Libby; senior dogs are just the BEST!
Our girl is sweet, loving, tries to still be a puppy, and even though she has developed some older-dog health issues, I would walk through fire for that girl. She’s stolen my heart.
Just a little background…Libby was 4 months old when she was rescued from a puppy mill by the local golden retriever rescue. At the time, we had recently lost our last golden mix, Ginnie, to canine “breast cancer”. It was devastating even though we had only had her (also adopted) for a couple of years. Anyone who knew Ms. Ginnie-fur-ball, knew she was one of a kind. I just couldn’t seem to imagine life with another dog anytime soon. Ginnie had passed the day after Thanksgiving, 2009 but when I heard there were going to be some golden puppies coming into the rescue, my heart skipped a beat. I’d never raised a puppy but hubs always said there’s nothing like having a puppy to raise and grow old with.
Long story short, he was 100% right. Libby is our furry-girl through and through. She understands our commands, but even crazier? She knows what we are thinking. I swear that dog is completely on the same wavelength as us. After 11 & 1/2 years together, we are quite a tight knit unit! Somewhere I felt like Ginnie was smiling down on us as if to say, “I couldn’t stay with you long but I asked God to send you someone who could”.
OK, just typing that made me well up. That furry-girl was something else too. Thanks GinGin – I thank God every day for Libby too.
Yes, Libby is definitely now feeling her “golden years”, but she’s still giving it the ol’ puppy try – especially when it comes to critters in the yard. Below this post is a video I uploaded also to my YouTube channel on her bunny spottings out here in the country – where they are huge as they are numerous! 🐰
Old age comes quick for dogs and it often comes with health challenges (like humans). In April, (and I’ve shared this on other pages of my site too) we started holistic treatment for Libby to battle the Cushing’s and osteoarthritis with Chinese medicine, acupuncture, laser therapy, chiropractic, massage, herbal remedies and B complex injections. Of course we did try switching her food as well but that didn’t go as we had hoped and I’ll address that in another post. We do supplement along with her regular diet. We are careful with every ingredient – with the holistic and traditional veterinarians’ help.
We felt very strongly that since Libby’s Cushing’s symptoms were on the mild end (even though her cortisol was very high) we just didn’t feel right putting her on what seems to be the only medication that either works or doesn’t (and if it doesn’t can send her into an Addison’s spiral). I don’t want to make this post too long so I will certainly get more into our regimen details in a later post.
Finally, we thought our old girl could get some benefit from hydrotherapy. There’s a funny story I’ll share another time about Jay and I and some friends about a lagoon and a dog who couldn’t wait to get in the water (and up until that point had never swam)…Anyhoo, we are not exactly close travel wise to the integrative veterinarians she sees but driving two hours round trip is no big deal if it means she’s going to benefit from it. So that’s what we’re doing as well. I’ll share more about that in the later post but I’ll just let you know now that this girl still loves the water and she is also a warrior; fighting for her health too!
So let me know in the comments – do you have a senior dog? Or have you had one in the past? Have you ever raised a puppy too? I feel like I have learned so much on the go with much help from the rescue, books, the Internet etc. but I’m always interested in learning more! 💜