A dog's life....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hi Ellen,
    I’m aware that you have 3 dogs currently, and was wondering if you have ever dealt with the loss of a dog? Do you also know what the average life span for each size dog is (small,medium,large). My oldest dog is starting to slow down, and from what I have learned he has out lived his normal "time". He is almost 16 yrs old. I’m scares that I’m going to lose him, as I have had him since I was 5 and he is truly my best friend. Any advice?

One of the hardest things about owning a pet is that they never live as long as people do.  But having them for the number of years that you do, is a big blessing.  I know that generally, the lifespan of a dog can be affected by its size.  Chihuahuas, for example, can live to be anywhere from 15-20 years old.  That can all change depending on the breed of dog and if it is or isn’t purebred.  I have dealt with 2 losses in my life.  My first was a dog that my parents had even before I was born.  Smokey was a mutt and lived to be 15 years old.  It was very very hard but I got through it.  Brandy was put to sleep a few years ago.  She was a bull terrier and was 12.  Again, that was hard because we consider our pets to be family members so it was like losing a sibling for me.  Nothing great can last forever.  What you can do now is just enjoy the time you do have with him.  Spoil him rotten, take tons of pictures, and spend lots of time with him.  Brandy “slowed down” when she was about 9.  She got gray fur and was having vision problems.  Just because your dog is showing signs of age doesn’t always mean he is running short on time.  Dogs are loyal to us their entire life, so the best way to make them happy is to appreciate them and let them know they are so loved!! Everyone deals with the loss of a pet so eventually when the time comes, just know that you can find a support group almost anywhere and they will help you through it.  I hope you are enjoying your time with your doggie!!! Hope my advice helps!


  1. I lost my sweet girl Zoe in February. She was 12 and had been slowing down for some time. She passed quietly and gently at home.

    Ellen's advice is good,Brittnie! Let your old guy know how much you love him every single day. Let him have as much fun as he can.

    Remember that you will have a lot of love left over when he is no longer with you, and that love can be given to another dog who will love you back, when you are ready.You will know when that is.

    I have a beautiful new girl now who will never replace Zoe, but will have her own safe place in my heart as a result of having learned about love with Zoe.

  2. I lost my Princess a couple years ago. She was 16 and was my best friend and confidant. She was my kids dog and when they grew up and moved away she filled the void that was left. She gave me a reason to make sure I got home on time to let her out and was always happy to see me. When I lost her I felt like my heart was torn out. I found this poem and it really did help me feel better:

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

    I have gotten another best friend and she is wonderful....But Princess will always have a special place in my heart

  3. Ellen- You give very good advice.

    Brittnie- Hi. I am at that same place as you. 2 of my 3 dogs are older and have been slowing down for a while. I know that time is just around the corner and I am not looking forward to it.

    But IDModo and Anon. are right....you can and will love another dog. I had a cocker spaniel that was 18 when she died. I didn't even think about getting another dog for about 8 months, but, then I did. You will know when the time is right.

    Anon.- that poem was wonderful. It really touched me. Thank you for taking the time to print it.

    Hi IDModo- Yes, you are right, the new dog will not replace the old dog, but, you can still love the new dog and your dog would want you to!


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