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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Appreciating Antiques

I've been doing some reflecting lately.  In one month, on September 20, Lilac will be fifteen years old.  That is rather aged for a Greyhound and she's definitely showing her age, but she's still humming merrily along.

It's hard to believe that we thought she was a senior dog when we adopted her seven years ago at the tender age of eight years old.  We weren't particularly looking to adopt a senior dog, but we had her as a foster after she arrived on a dog haul after having recently weaned her last litter of puppies.  After months with not one single person offering to adopt her, we decided that she should stay here with us.  Actually, she'd decided that she should stay here with us from the moment she laid eyes on me at the adoption group president's house where she'd come off the hauler.  It just took me a while to figure out that she'd made her decision.

We weren't adverse to adopting a senior, but we lead an active lifestyle and we thought when we added to our pack again, it would be a younger dog so that we could give Treat and Hawk a break.  Obviously, it didn't work out that way.  Later, we did keep Blueberry here, but that's a story for another day.  Aside from her penchant for garbage and candy theft, Lilac was actually very unassuming, just coming up to us when she wanted some love and wrapping her head around our necks. 

I had no idea that Lilac would end up outliving Treat and Hawk when we decided to keep her here.  I thought we'd be blessed with her company for a few golden years and that we'd make her life comfortable and pleasant.  Little did I know that a sassy, independent and opinionated old lady lurked inside that dark brindle fur coat.  I'm so excited that we're going to be celebrating her fifteenth year next month.  We want to do something really special for her, but we haven't decided what that will be yet. 

In spite of the middle of the night wake up calls and some of the other negative things that accompany old age, we wouldn't trade a minute of our time with our Grande Dame.  I realize now that every day we have together is a gift and it's one we need to make the most of.  There is something infinitely sweet about life with an old dog.

It makes me think about all the senior dogs out there, waiting for homes, who are passed over because someone wants more time together, or they think these dogs aren't as attractive, or a host of other reasons.  The dog I thought I'd have for the longest, who was always ready to go on an adventure, passed away much too soon at only ten years old.  You never know how things will end up working out.  If Lilac leaves any kind of legacy from her life, I hope that it's letting people know that you can't discount the joys of adopting an older dog.  The rewards that you will reap far outweigh the costs.  We have been unbelievably lucky that Lilac decided we were hers all those years ago!

We're participating in the Pet Blog Hop again today.  We're very thankful to Life With Dogs, Confessions of the Plume and Two Little Cavaliers for hosting the hop.  If you'd like to join in, it's pretty simple.  Add your link to the McLinky tool, copy the code and paste it into your html code editor, and follow the three hosts.

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36 comments:

  1. Mom SO understands!

    Kyrye was 15+ when she khrossed last December - and now Banshey is the eldest at 14+ -

    Hugz&Khysses,
    Khyra

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  2. Wow, 15 years old! She looks great!

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  3. You are so lucky to have a wonderful dog live to such an age! I've had about 15 dogs (3 are still alive) but I think only 1 lived til 15+. And if Lilac didn't have such an awesome home she may not have lived so long. Well done to you both:-)

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  4. What a warm, sweet, life affirming post. You sum up so sympathetically our relationship with mans best friend.

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  5. Thanks for sharing, I'm sure you will come up with something special for her big day.
    See Yea George xxx

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  6. What a wonderful post Houndy. As one who owns a classic dog I know how enjoyable they are.

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  7. You post made me cry. I am so not ready for my furchildren to get old because I can't even imagine life without them

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  8. 15 years old? Wow! Way to go! What a beautiful gal. I love a little grey on the muzzle.

    Slobbers,
    mango

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  9. She has a sweet face. My collie had a sweet face. It occurs to me that collies and greyhounds are very similar in build .... minus all that fur! We has Sarge for 14 years, got him when he was 5 weeks old and he was so much a part of ourt lives. I am so glad we had the other dogs when we lost him, it helped so much. Older dogs have special needs.......just like older people and I don't regret one moment of lost sleep to take care of mine......... well, maybe I grumble a little......

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  10. What a wonderful post, and important message about loving and adopting senior dogs. Farley was our first dog and we had him since he was a puppy. But after blogging and learning from others, I know that I would like to rescue and older dog in the future to make sure they are well loved like Lilac - as she deserves to be.

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  11. That is so true. I was a bit older than what my humans had in mind when they adopted me. I was six (so they claimed) but as much as I hate to discuss it, that's pretty far along in terms of Pei lifespan. I plan to defy those odds, of course. Still, my humans say that the year and a half they've had with me has already been worth it and they wouldn't trade it for anything. Of course, that's one of the reasons they had to get Franklin. One, to keep me running around while I still can. My humans are not spring chickens themselve. And two, to give them motivation to go on should I cross the bridge before them. But you're right. You never know in what order nature will decide to do things.

    lotsa licks, Lola

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  12. What a wonderful post! Senior animals are so often looked over and it is just heartbreaking. Actually, animals over 3 tend to be ignored as being too old by many adopters. Isn't that crazy? I was 3 or 4 when I was adopted and people thought I was on the verge of being too old. 10 years later here I am going strong!

    Even more heartbreaking, there are more senior animals in shelters now because of the economic crisis - so sad!

    Your pal, Pip

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  13. What a beautiful tribute to your Grande Dame. She looks wonderful for 15 - and that has a lot to do with the wonderful care and love you have given her. Most of our recent dogs have not lived past the age of 10, Phantom is now almost 12 - and you are so right, we cherish those old ones so very much.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

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  14. What a greyt story. We have a girl in our group who adopts mostly seniors! About 90% of her dogs are seniors. You never know how long you are going to have your precious dogs, so why should you pass up a dog just because of its age!

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  15. Oh my...dat be such a wonderful post about MY favorite Greyhound.....da Regal Madam Lilac!! We just loves her at our house.....she be funny too!

    My mom loves da Seniors too.....one of her favorite charities be da Grey Muzzle Organization. They be a charity that collects da greenpapers and then 'funds' all different shelters and rescues around da country that haves Senior Dogs in their program

    Senior Dogs Rule!!

    MinnaK
    PeeS.....My mom thinks that da Lilac and her Fan on da spaceship at Puddles post be the funniest thing she seen in awhile. Her been chuckling about it all morning.

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  16. Nice post..the older my grey Guinness gets, the more I appreciate every day with him..although, Lilac looks younger at 15 than mine does at 11...must be something with women I guess..lol

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  17. Beautiful. It all too true unfortunately. Of the 19 hounds we have had, we pretty much took them in due to the fact that no one else *felt* they could handle them. Considered 'special needs'. I personally feel that seniors are the best and many times end up giving you much more than any others out there. Bonnie was a girl that we didn't get until she was 11. She was a tiny brindle girl who lived with a heavy smoker and had some breathing problems. This sassy lady lived until over 15.

    On the other hand, we have recently adopted some younger ones because of our camping and traveling...hiking and so on, which left us by the age of 6. Who can ever tell? Life is so totally unpredictable.

    We adopted our Scooter at the age of 4 only to have him leave us a few weeks ago at the age of 6 due to osteosarcoma. Our older dog, Renner is now 9 and has seen 2 companions of his (Wally before Scooter) pass away at an age much younger than he was. There is just no safe guess regarding the age of adoption that will land your pet with you for the maximum amount of years.

    We miss our Scooter and it was a very tough loss...we haven't replaced him thus far and to date, I am not really sure I can stand to do as much 'loss' as I had been over the years. Though I understand that people think after *so* many losses it must not hurt as much to loose one, I think, in my case at least, it has worked in the opposite direction. Not sure we will ever get another hound now. I have been feeling...enough is enough. :(

    But I guess only time will tell. Renner seems to be a little bit lost without another hound in the house, him never being an 'only hound' before. Though he may well adjust, he does seem a bit down regardless of all of the extra attention he is getting.

    Yep, love every second you have them because life is all so uncertain.

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  18. Lilac looks wonderful for a being almost 15.
    It is so great to hear how well she is doing, you are so right when you said that there is something sweet about sharing life with an old dog:)

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  19. Following you from the Saturday Pet Blog Hop! Love it if you'd stop by and say hi!
    Beth @ Two Monkeys & a Washtub
    http://twomonkeysawashtub.blogspot.com
    I have two great doggy giveaways going on that could use some entries too! (They're both linked in my pet hop post)

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  20. Your story choked me up with happiness for you and Lilac plus with memories of two of my dogs. We adopted one dog (S) at the age of 10 years old. We actually hesitated to adopt him because dog deaths hit us so hard and the statistics said that he would live only another 2 years or so. In retrospect, he brought us so much love and happiness over the 4 years that we had with him that I can't believe that we ever hesitated.

    We also had a Lab, Astro, who lived to be almost 16 years old. What a distinguished gentleman he was. I miss him. I have a special place in my heart for older dogs.

    Here's to Lilac, a sweetheart extraordinaire!

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  21. Beautiful story! Many dogs have blessed our home but most left us at the ages of 10 to 13. I'm more comfortable around senior dogs, maybe because of my age and I feel like we have so much in common lately. Our Buck is almost 11 now & he has really slowed down lately. I don't know how age will affect him in the future but I will always be there for him as he has been there for me.

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  22. Oh's 'da Josie loves 'dis story!! I's be a rescue Josie!! I am a little old(er)(ish)too!! Lilac doesn't look like she's gonna be's 15 in a monts!! 'da Josie be tinkings maybe 6 or 7!!
    I likes her bunnie slippers too!!

    So Mommy got our bows from ulta. It's a hooman place and 'dey are her hair barrettes...hee hees.
    She clips 'da barrette part onto our necklessess. Yous can borrow 'dems for sure!!

    Hugs!!
    IzZY & Josie

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  23. Sure is pawesome that Lilac decided you were the perfect family for her!
    Happy saturday to all of you!
    Kisses and hugs
    Lorenza

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  24. Before Minnie entered our lives from the middle of the street, I always said I'd get an older dog - NEVER a puppy again. There's just something about those old faces...as I sit here watching everything be chewed, I remind myself that while Minnie desperately needed us and needed to be found, PUPPIES ARE HARD!!!

    Lilac has given you so much joy, with her knarly paws and her fan just so. I can imagine that you can't imagine life without her!!

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  25. We absolutely agree with you about adopting older dogs. We see regularly the great benefits that people get from taking on a retired guide dog - our dogs retire at 8 or 9 - and then having those dogs for many more years. An older dog can be a really wonderful addition to a household.

    Lilac looks amazing for 15 and we wish her a very happy birthday.

    take care
    Clive and Murray

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  26. Woof! Woof! Happy BLOG HOP Weekend. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  27. We love the seniors! Well, we do all be seniors now too, BOL. You never knows how long any of us will be around. My sis Dixie had heart surgery when she woz a yungun and woz supposed to live half a life so nobody wanted to adopt her coz of that and mom kept her. She do be 11 years old now. I think Dixie is hasing the last laff.

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  28. And yet she dances like a woman half her age, especially to Techno.

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  29. Yet another houndstooth post that I love. It is so valuable and I think humans need constant reminders. I say adopt old and needy alike!
    I also forget if I told you this already, but I'm so excited that you're using my book again this year. Happy school year.
    Twinkie

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  30. Grand Dame Lilac proves us all wrong. Mom has an affinity for old dogs too. She exemplifies the old saying- never judge a book by it's cover.
    norwood
    You go girl! Well maybe not at 3am but you go!

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  31. My first dog was 10 years old when he came to live with me.... Like Lilac, he was appreciative and wise - a totally different experience than Murphy the puppy and one I will always be thankful for. Lilac is looking great, especially for a lady of "a certain age" :)

    Kira

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  32. i'm so glad miss lilac picked ya'll to be her mama and daddy! and i hope that if i get up to 15 years, that i will look as totally fab as miss lilac does!! :)
    *woof*
    the booker man

    pee s -- BOL @ alien!

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  33. Wow! Lilac is 15 years old and going strong... she sure knows what she wants in life, starting with choosing whom she wants to stay with. Here's to a healthy beautiful gal, Lilac.

    Licks, hero

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  34. I honestly had no idea. They graying muzzle offers clues, but I had forgotten that last birthday and was thinking 12ish!

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  35. She doesn't look a day 15 :) She's still as beautiful as ever and having a senior dog has many rewards. They are definitely more loving and the moments with them are to be treasured forever.

    Let's have a big ball of a pawty for her :)

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