The Very Old Family Dog

by Parent Co. August 26, 2015

Our family dog is 17 years old. Spy was born in 1998. For most of these years, she was just my dog. She came and went with me. I took care of her. We were a two-person pack. I've lived with her longer than I lived with either of my parents. She knew my brother, father, and grandmother, all who have since passed. In the relentless time-lapse stream of life, Spy has been constant.

But she's no longer just my dog - now she's a family dog. I met my partner and her daughter three years ago. At first, the kid was interested in Spy, but not crazy about her. Spy was totally indifferent in return. It's remarkable to see the bond that's grown between them over the past three years. Every morning the kid runs downstairs to greet Spy with a pat on her head. She's mindful about not giving Spy too many treats, makes sure her fan in on, and almost never complains when it's time to take her on a walk. Those slow, chatter-filled walks make my morning. Having a dog has helped the kid learn about responsibility and consideration. It's gut-wrenching to know that someday Spy will force us parents to teach our kid about loss and mourning. (I can't express how I dread that day - for myself and for the kid. Reading this helps.) It's a bit of a cliché that getting a pet for a kid is one of the best things you can do for them. But for our dog, the reverse is also true: getting a kid was one of the best things I could do for her. The kid keeps our old dog healthy - moving around more than she otherwise might, keeping her interest and attention, interacting with her even when she's grumpy and achy. I'm pretty sure that the extra attention has given our dog extra years, and youth-by-association. It's wonderful for a family to have a dog. And it's wonderful for a dog to have a family. Spy


Parent Co.

Author



Also in Conversations

Seven Ways to Help Your Child Find Genuine Joy During Times of Uncertainty
Seven Ways to Help Your Child Find Genuine Joy During Times of Uncertainty

by Parent Co. December 06, 2020

When times of uncertainty hit, it can throw you and your family’s life off-balance. For example, life amid the current pandemic isn’t easy.

Continue Reading

Children jumping on a sofa
Which Type of Exercise Best Improves Kids' Moods, According to Study

by Parent Co. January 12, 2020

Parents often feel overwhelmed by trying to schedule in exercise because of time constraints and child willingness. A new study can help with the guesswork.

Continue Reading

Boy sitting on a shoulder by holding US flag
It's Time to Reverse the Bucket List

by Parent Co. December 15, 2019

Let's dump out all the accomplishments of the previous year into one long pat-me-on-the-back list to appreciate.

Continue Reading