In my experience, Senior Dogs are a real blessing!

*
They have survived the test of time, usually carry some battle scars
(Like the rest of us who are approaching the "golden years")
And appreciate the little things that contribute to a "good life."

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It does take a bit of time to realize how just how many "surprises"
(i.e. old tricks!)
A Senior brings along in his/her baggage,
But the alert owner of a new Senior'dale can set boundaries and limits early,
Thus ensuring a more graceful adjustment to a new environment.
That is what being "proactive" and "in charge" is all about,
At least when living with children and/or Airedales.

*
A Senior Dog probably had some sort of obedience training in his/her previous life,
And so we can work out more easily
What is necessary for living contentedly with each other–

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"Breakfast before the crack of dawn, my dinner at 6, please,
And I promise to lie quietly nearby while you have your meals–usually, that is.
And yes, I do know that the crate awaits me if I can't be polite during your time at table!"

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"I don't "sit" too well because of my arthritic joints,
but I usually go "down" when asked."

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"You do not have to shout at me–I probably can't hear you anyway.
A sense of humor, a guiding hand on my collar
and firm direction is the best way to handle me
Because
We are really on the same side here–
in the beginning I just need to figure out
How much I can get away with!"

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Let the younger and more energetic souls among us take on the exciting challenges of the pups–
We who elect to live with Seniors are grateful
That the days of agile counter-surfing, chewing everything in sight, threatening the mail person
And even worse pranks are deeply buried in the past.

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Senior Dogs do not have to conquer the world any longer–
Leave that to the youngsters.
Any attempts at reproducing exciting escapades of the past are usually less intense
Than they would have been in the glory days of youthful vigor and Airedalean creativity.
Senior Dogs appreciate regular meds and quiet walks around the neighborhood,
Meeting friends with happy woofs, smiles, and profuse tail wags.
Tossing a few tennis balls is appreciated, too!

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Senior Dogs can still bark with enthusiasm when spotting a squirrel
Or meeting another dog,
But they will also lie contentedly (and snore) at our feet for long periods of time,
Because being near us is the most satisfying place in the world to be.

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Senior Dogs, like their human counterparts,
Just need someone to love and care for them as they are right now–
Warts and kisses alike accepted.

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And when our turn comes 'round and the "last day" arrives,
as it must for all of us,
Being in the embrace of the one who has loved us dearly,
And whose love was returned without measure, is the final gift.
It gives meaning to the phrase that "parting is such sweet sorrow."

*
Try it:
you'll find that as we grow (older) together
the rewards are rich and precious memories.

***

Janice Parkinson-Tucker
October 18, 2007

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