Ollie: A dog getting older

Ollie will be seven years old soon. Given that his breed rarely lives beyond the age of ten, we have to accept that he is now past middle age, and becoming old, relatively speaking.

There are times when he still remembers what it was like to play. He rushes around with a soft toy in his mouth, or gets excited when anyone calls at the house. But he doesn’t play with other dogs anymore when we are out, and his free-spirited joyous solo running has slowed down to a perky trot.

The shorter two-hour walks of winter seem to suit him well enough too. He is usually ready to go home before 4 pm now, and sometimes heads for one of the exits of his own accord, even when I am still happily trudging around.

There are some grey hairs visible around his jowls now, and he seems to want more to eat, having taken to begging when we have something, which he never did before. When he doesn’t get a morsel, he will return to his food bowl and finish up any remaining dry food. And he is always ready to flop onto his bed at night, as soon as either of us shows any intention of getting ready for bed. In the mornings, he is reluctant to stir, and sometimes has to be told to go out into the garden, especially when it is very cold, or raining.

But the biggest change in him is seen by his constant search for affection, and visible jealousy when I am giving that attention to anyone else. He seeks lots of cuddles now, and will push himself against my legs when I am reading, typing on the blog, or watching TV. He has always followed me around slavishly, but now he gets even closer, and can’t seem to tolerate me being out of sight.

Perhaps he is feeling those changes inside, the differences in energy, and that need for reassurance. It could be that he has noticed that I am also seven years older, and have slowed down too. He may just be following my example, who knows?

But he can be sure that he will continue to be looked after, loved and cared for, no matter how old he gets.

91 thoughts on “Ollie: A dog getting older

  1. That was so touching! Ollie will definitely live over ten. Ollie is a Shar Pei, right? They tend to get infections from sand or moisture getting into their wrinkles on their face and snout, so clean regularly. Thank you for the heart warming and sort of sad post! KEEP WRITING!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post was so touching, it got me sad and worried about my dogs getting older in a few years too. Though they’re 6 and 5 only. But it’s the first time I felt something like this. But have to deal with it. Just reminds me of the appropriateness of the quote, “Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
    Lots of love to both of you, enjoy and celebrate every moment together!

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      1. I always think of my dogs as big, but I guess they’re medium as well. Greyhounds and Lurchers can weigh anything between 15 and 30kg, and the average lifespan is 12-14 years. Saying that, my last Lurcher was 15 when she died last year, and the one before that lived to nearly 18, so the statistics aren’t always right! Best to take them as a rough guide only.

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  3. I hadn’t stopped to realize the connection between our dog’ age(12) and her increased desire to stay close. When we sit in the living room, she plops down on the rug between us. She, like Ollie, has definitely become more people centered and craves our company.

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  4. How nice to see you two today! A fine pair you two are. Your description of Ollie reminds me of Bear. His eyes look very old. He doesn’t do much but lie around. Even when I try to play fetch with him, he doesn’t have that enthusiasm from two years ago. He turned 9 this month. We try to keep him warm and happy. Today he went out to the wilderness and sniffed around. That makes him like a puppy.

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. I just keep Ollie’s routine as normal as possible. As he gets older, disruption of that routine seems to affect him more. He has a way of looking very sad, and that makes me feel guilty. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  5. I hadn’t realised that Ollie’s breed wasn’t very long-lived. He’s been such a great companion for you. Love the pic of you two together. Our standard schnauzer, Indi, is only five and going great guns. They have a fairly long life span.

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  6. Our Pickle [a Staffie] will be fifteen this year if she makes it till August – and there are no signs that she won’t… [Then again, there were no signs that Digger would be gone before she was five 😦 .] Watching my daughter’s French Bulldog belt around like a bullet from a pistol reminds me that Pickle was like that only a few years ago. [ At the moment we are looking after the Frenchie while my daughter has new fences erected, one stepson’s labrador, while he’s on a course and the other stepson’s beagle while they’re away ski-ing.]
    When Digger first came, the dogs ran into the garden to play and Pickle suddenly yelped. She stood there shaking as if she’d been hit (she always shakes when she’s told off and we think she’d been under a strict regime before she came to us). I suspect the old girl had forgotten about her arthritis and had a sharp reminder when she tried to leap around like a four-year-old. After that, their games were more of the roll-over-wrestling variety. Or Pickle would crouch while Digger tore around the garden and bark at her as she passed.
    It’s sad to see her so stiff when she used to be so active. (I gather athletes and dancers get arthritis bad – probably why mine is hardly worth mentioning.) But at least her tail is still wagging.

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    1. Cheers, Eddy. I can still fit into all my clothes from six years ago, but I can certainly feel the ‘weight’ of my body more now. Probably because my legs are less capable of supporting it.
      πŸ™‚ Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah Pete. We know the procession of the living goes on and we all move toward the front of the line and then disappear into the fog while newborns join the rear and through the years move toward our empty spaces. I am now too old for a dog for a pup will probably outlive me and would wind up in the care of my children – perhaps. Enjoy your years together. He is a joy of a dog. Best regards from cool and rainy Florida.

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  8. Our little Patterdale is fourteen next month and behaving very like Ollie. Although he has an injured leg he forgets and bounds down the steps to the garden to see if the foxes have intruded. He is very grey round the face and bottom! He is also quite clingy with hubby and has begun to complain when we go out without him in the daytime. he doesn’t seem to mind in the evenings, he just goes to sleep.

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  9. Well let’s hope you and Ollie have a few more years together! He is certainly a great companion for you Pete and although I have considered getting a dog I still don’t feel now is the right time. They can be good pals, but they also need a lot of looking after and restrict where you can travel to. And I am not getting any younger!

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    1. I would urge you to not get a dog, Jude. You still get out and about a lot, and have reasons to travel too. Once you get a dog, the responsibility can take over your life, and severely restrict what you are able to do. I wouldn’t ever change having Ollie, but would definitely not get another dog when he’s gone.
      We have a 92 year-old lady in the street behind us. She has a small dog, but can no longer take it out, due to her age and infirmity. So she relies on the kindness of her immediate neighbours for dog-walking, vet trips, and such.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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