Barking blondes: There’s life in the old dog yet
As a typical belligerent bullie, her selective hearing over the past years, along with feigned deafness, has been one of her fortes.
But to discover that Molly might now not be able hear the world so sharply is a massive shock.
The signs had been there, but sometimes unless you look you don’t see.
The biggest clue was the sound of fork in feeding bowl having no effect what so ever. It was only when the scent of raw green tripe wafted towards her basket was Molly alerted to “dinner time”.
Dogs hearing is only four times more acute than ours, nowhere near as massively different as their sense of smell – a staggering million times more sensitive than ours. With their noses they can smell mood changes, smell minute changes in their environment and understand a lot without necessarily ‘hearing’ it.
Luckily for us, dogs read our body language more than voice commands. Therefore they still understand what’s going on and what’s being asked of them, cleverly masking any deafness.
If we believe that time flies then imagine what its like for dogs.
As we clock up the years, a dog’s life goes even faster with every year measured as seven of ours.
The puppy years fly by and then suddenly, in the basket, is a middle aged dog.
It’s a tragic truth that dogs just aren’t programmed to live long enough.
It’s a life lesson for all dog owners to enjoy every minute with our beloved pooches as a life can be measured by the dogs you own – every one represents a chapter.
Being ladies of an indeterminate age, we are well aware that the same laws of ageing affecting us also apply to dogs: ‘we can’t turn back time’.
Signs of ageing craftily creep up on dogs like people and its hard not to be in denial.
Maybe it begins with a slowness to notice visitors arrive, or respond to the doorbell.
Or perhaps you take your dog by surprise coming home, and they’ve not greeted you at the door? You might see your dog stretching for longer in the mornings or maybe their afternoon naps get deeper and longer.
The enthusiasm for ball chasing in the park gradually gets less, they become less active all round, and you know your dog has reached the final life stage.
This is the chapter where we’re duty bound to ‘be there’ and do everything to make their lives as happy, stimulating and as pain free as possible. Rather than being sad and depressed, it’s a time to consider yourself lucky that they have reached double figures.
Even the smallest positive changes to their lifestyle and diet can make a massive difference. Adding plenty of fish oil for their joints, eyes and cognition or boosting their immune system with anti-oxidants like Vitamin E, fruit and leafy greens, and going that extra mile to keep up a fun routine.
Even though they may become as deaf as a lamp post with extra care – like massage and acupuncture – you’ll be surprised that there’s life in the old dog yet.
Finally, we will be at Crufts in Birmingham this week. If you see us please come up and say hello.
It’s a fabulous celebration of the canine world with bright, agile, fit, young dogs competing for prized rosettes.
But let’s all spare a thought for “the old folks” back home.
Barking Blondes by Jo Good & Anna Webb, published by Hamlyn, £12.99www.octopusbooks.co.uk