dog listening with big ear



Barks from Starks,

IN OUR HOUSE, we’ve entered the realm of senior supplements, doggie diapers and ramps. There’s more sleeping than playing on any given day. Sometimes we go outside every 10 minutes during an hour, and I’m not sure if it’s because the dogs forgot that they just went out, or if they really have to pee again so soon.

This is what we signed up for, though. We accepted all the life stages when we got puppies. 

But the senior stage, though it indicates the inevitable, is a special time. Routines are predictable. Cuddling is inevitable. Walking is leisurely. They’re a little more fragile, a little more sensitive, and experts in canine love; they return affection twofold.

In addition, some of the behaviors of the younger years have faded: those older joints prohibit counter surfing. The mailman doesn’t get an earful of barking because the dogs sleep through delivery. Our homecoming doesn’t produce a choir of dogs at the door—they didn’t catch the sound of the garage door, and they’re sound asleep in a dog bed.

I am especially sensitive to senior pets in need of rescue, and also in favor of second chances. We’re proud to showcase the Top Dog Foundation, a New Germany-based rescue committed to finding homes for older dogs—ElderPups, as they say—who would be unnecessarily euthanized due to their age and health.

“If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being loved by an old dog, then you’re truly blessed,” says founder Jean Stelten-Beuning. I know exactly what she means. Turn to p. 10 for this sweet feature.

Speaking of second chances, my friend Nicole told me the story about the cat whose photo she keeps on her fridge at home. Nicole, who got her own second chance after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, said the cat isn’t hers; she’s never even met “Bridget.” 

Bridget was a humane society cat who Nicole’s friends sponsored to honor her cancer journey and final treatment. Bridget had been at the shelter the longest. Nicole’s friends wanted to give Bridget a second chance too. Enjoy this heartwarmer on p. 28.

Spring is the season of new beginnings. If you have a pet in your home who has had a new beginning of any kind, we’d love to hear about it.