I hold Becca tighter these days. With Becca about to turn 16 years old, here's what I've found helps me overcome the fear of losing her.
We can't have our senior dogs forever. No matter how much we want them to be here with us. So why not put that fear and worry away and focus on being present with your amazing older pet?
Becca is about to turn 16 years old at the end of this month. And the truth is that, though as a veterinarian, I manage many 16 year old pets... I've never had one of my own senior dogs make it to this age. I lost my soul dog, Frodo at 15.5yrs of age and now Becca has officially surpassed that.
In our podcast, we discuss at length how this fear of losing your senior dog can lead you to experiencing anticipatory grief. We even discuss how this fear is a normal part of owning a senior dog and I share a few steps that you can take if you feel that fear.
What's really been feeling right for me with Becca lately is being present. And as her 16th birthday looms closer and closer to us, I've felt more comfort around putting that worry away and focusing on the fact that I still have this girl with me. Here. Now. And I still have the opportunity to give her my best.
Which means being present with her as much as possible.
My best two girls, Twig (10 year old brown dog) and Becca (almost 16 yr old black lab mix).
So how do I do this? Well, I don't walk by her without touching her. I can’t make eye contact with her without getting up and walking over to her to tell her she’s the best girl (she loves this and can somehow still see me despite the cataracts ;)).
What I find is that being as affectionate as I can with her right now helps me alleviate the fear of losing her because when that time comes... I’ll know I had made her feel loved always.
I put away work and leave my phone being on walks so I can focus on the moments I have with her. And so much more. Being present helps me focus on enjoying the gift of having this gentle, kind hearted, soul as my own for the last 6 years.
The point is this: sometimes, for pet parents of Senior dogs, worrying about your old dog can take you to an anxious, fearful place. But intentionally being present with them is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your older dog.
So, how do you stay present with your old dog? ⠀⠀