There are differing thoughts on change: it’s hard to do, it’s for the better, it’s inevitable. I’m not a big fan of change, but then again I’m nearly blind, so rearranging the living room furniture or dropping shoes in ever-changing places is troublesome. Can you walk confidently through your house in the dark? Aging is all about change, better educated decision-making, and increasingly aged body parts.
I am Lazarus, a 13 year-old bear-hunting Plott Hound whose near-death battle with a bear cost me an eye and earned me my name while my spirit remained intact.
Dogs have the sense to feel the emotional energy of those around us. When you get excited, we get excited, when you are upset, so are we. I once became physically ill just because my housemate was curled against me, crying. Our senses may deteriorate with age but a dog’s emotional energy remains powerful. I can no longer hear my kibble hit the bowl but I feel both the unconditional love and the not-so-surreptitious worry my caretaker has for me.
And it’s often change that causes these intense emotional sensations. It makes one nervous or excited or annoyed or inspired to see such simple things as a senior dog eat breakfast (or not), walk the stairs with caution (vs pain) or simply be breathing after an overly quiet sleep. Routines change, bodies change, lives change.
We all have our senses and some use them better than others. Senior dogs need those most attuned to watch over us. It’s just part of our life, having someone who’s observant notice if we’re sleeping more, eating less, walking with difficulty. We want someone caring, who looks behind them to see if they should hold the door open for another. I can barely see but as with most dogs I recognize a hand that needs attention. Senior dogs need someone who pays attention to friends and family for emotions worth noting. People like to tell you why they’re happy and may need to be asked why they’re sad. If you’re emotionally blind you don’t provide those opportunities to beings who can use them.
Change can be exciting or exhausting and dogs, like people, need others to share the times. Look around you, make yourself available for others in change. The energy of need and loss is as strong as that of delight and confidence.
(Lazarus lives with BioStar’s Rick Moore)