Loving an Old Dog
Iggy will be 15 years old in May. That makes him the oldest dog at Carillon. But don’t tell him, because age isn’t slowing him down a great deal. Just maybe when he tries to lay down, and sometimes his back knees and hips are a little tight when he walks.
The dog moved from Charleston, South Carolina to Florida with his pet parent Julie in July two years ago. Living farther north may account for Julie’s attitude toward putting him in an inside facility when she first started to search for a day care for him. (Oh, what the Florida heat makes necessary!) She tried four or five different kennels, but wasn’t happy with any of them.
And, more importantly, Iggy wasn’t happy. So Julie went back to Happy Camper, and found it was a perfect fit. “When I take him there, he’s blissful,” said Julie. “And I love getting texts from the staff.” Jenna agreed that the dog loves Happy Camper. “Iggy is always so excited when he comes. He has the best smile and loves every dog he meets. He plays hard and naps even harder.”
Iggy was only 9 weeks old when Julie got him from the SPCA in Charleston. His being an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier (cousin to a pit bull) didn’t faze her. Except that she warns, “He’ll lick you to death.” Happy Camper staff agrees. “He always has a smile on his face and his happy disposition always makes our day better,” said Ashley. Gerri agreed. “Iggy always makes me smile, I love his happy dance.”
Julie says the dog is pretty spry, considering his age, and he loves to go on walks — long walks. He can tell it’s going to be a short walk instead of a long one when she comes to a certain turn. That’s when Iggy starts pulling at the leash and tells her, “Fine, then we’ll go hang out with the neighbor.” (A neighbor whom they socialize with.)
Iggy is on a strictly lamb-and-brown-rice diet. Julie says Blue offers it. She attributes his longevity to the diet and the fact that he doesn’t get any people food. He does get Rejuvenate for his joints. Julie knows it works, because the dog went without it for two weeks once when they ran out of it, and the lack affected his movement.
When Julie was out of town one April, she received a text from Happy Camper staff telling her Iggy had diarrhea. So staff eliminated treats, thinking that may be the problem. On day three, they eliminated vitamins. By day four, a staff member called and said she would cook rice at home for the dog. That worked.”I was blown away that anyone would go out of their way like that,” said Julie. She then told about moving into a fifth wheel (RV) and finding that Iggy had problems getting up and down the outside steps. A park employee built a ramp for her RV to allow Iggy to maneuver up and down more easily. Julie told Happy Camper staff about that, and when she got back from her next out-of-town trip, they gave her a hand-made card they had created out of construction paper to say thank you to the park employee. He couldn’t believe they had done that, and neither could Julie.
Julie’s advice for living with an older dog? “Just pay attention to them to recognize when they can’t do stairs or when they want to take a longer walk.” Good advice for all of us.
Lucky is 13 years and 8 months old, with a birthday coming up in May.
This Dogo Argentino’s pet parent Holly says she thinks he’s doing well because she keeps him on a regular schedule. In her 80s, Holly finally has retired, but she and Lucky still take walks at 4 a.m. — just as they did when she was working.
Lucky has a number of physical ailments, but most of them he’s been dealing with for years. He has acid reflux — mostly because he doesn’t chew his food. He gulps it. A sonogram (taken years ago) showed that he has gastroenteritis. To keep the dog’s digestion on an even keel, Holly feeds him no-fat, prescription food on a regular schedule — onehalf can of wet food and one-half serving of dry food later.
As most older dogs do, Lucky has joint problems, walking (as one vet’ described) “like a slow-footed hillbilly.” He had knee surgery, which helped. The pills he takes for arthritis (glucosamine chondrotin) help too. As do the antihistamine pills he takes for allergies.
When Lucky was at a different day care, he had a run in with another dog and also a sort of run in with a wall, breaking his two fang teeth. He also had lightening strike very close to him, making him nervous. The happy pills he takes now keep him on an even keel. And Holly takes the dog to Banfield Pet Hospital for checkups twice a year. She says, “I wish my report was as good as his.
As long as he eats and poops and walks, he’s doing okay.” At Happy Camper almost 5 years, Holly says she wishes she had found us sooner. Happy Camper staff feels the same way. “Lucky is such a sweetheart to have at camp. I love being able to spend a little extra time with him on his bath days and to do our weekly activities. I can tell how appreciative he is to be loved by everyone. I was so happy to let my puppy play with her look alike,” said Marina.”I have known Lucky for nearly 5 years, and he has gotten sweeter with each year,” said Gerri.
“Lucky is such a pleasure to have at camp, so adorable and precious,” said Rose. Adorable and precious aren’t words usually used for nearly 14-year-old dogs, but everyone seems to agree that they fit Lucky — a camper we’re lucky to have with us.
How Long Will Your Dog Live?
While the notion that one dog year equals seven human years is a myth, the fact remains that dogs have shorter life spans than we do. How fast your canine companion ages will largely depend on his overall health, breed status, and size.
A dog’s first two years are equal to about 15 to 24 human years. From there, the aging process slows down considerably. After that, each year of their life is roughly equivalent to maybe four or five of our years.
Once a dog reaches middle age, however, other factors come into play. Once they get to be about 6 years old, then the size, breed, and type of dog all start to come into play as to how quickly they’re going to age.
Small dogs have slower aging rates than their larger counterparts. Pint-sized pups like Chihuahuas and Yorkies may live to be 15 to 18 years old. Whereas the life span of large and giant-breed dogs like Great Danes and Mastiffs can be as little as 7 to 9 years. Middle-sized dogs go anywhere in between.