The other day I had someone ask me, ” How do you stay so strong when you know they are getting older and struggling?”
This isn’t the first time that someone has asked me this and I’m sure many people have had the same thoughts as I share pictures and videos of Sherman and Leroy in their senior years.
It’s a good question and a hard question and something that I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last few days.
Caring for a Newfie throughout their life is an act of love, bravery, strength, patience, compassion, humor, and endurance.
It has very high ups and very low downs and it’s one of those things that is very, very hard to explain to someone unless they have experienced it for themself.
Sherman passed away only a few short months ago and while I still miss him terribly, I remember the good times and the good feelings way more than I remember the very brief bad times.
The day we said “see you later” is overshadowed by all the wonderful days we spent together.
With my experience with senior Newfs, there are different types of stages for me once they get to be seniors.
Around age 7 I realized that they were now considered a senior and my heart hurt because I knew that we had fewer years together ahead of us than we did behind us.
I got sad starting to think about the “what if’s”.
What if this is their last snow? Last birthday?
But then they reached 10 and my mentality switched.
I have a 10-year-old Newf!
Let’s do this!
It was then less of a sad feeling and more alright, what can I do to help them?
I LOVE caring for my senior boys.
It has been my most favorite stage of life with them.
It’s absolutely a labor of love.
Don’t get me wrong, there are difficult times, bad days and heart-wrenching decisions but I learned to focus more on the good days.
Your mentality changes a bit.
For instance, instead of being sad that Leroy hasn’t had much snow to enjoy so far this season, I’m more “O.k. No snow, no ice, I don’t have to worry about you slipping or falling, let’s bring out the poles and exercise.”
Some days it’s draining and hard and filled with struggles and a poopie butt but then the next day is better.
I do my best not to feel sorry for him, I am proud of him and you should be too.
I’m not striving to have the longest-living Newfoundland.
I’m striving to have the longest-living Leroy because, from a medical standpoint, Leroy shouldn’t still be here.
I follow Leroy’s lead and I build on his weaknesses.
Leroy can’t get up on his own anymore?
Let’s get him a harness.
Leroy falls sometimes.
It’s ok. I’m there to pick him up.
At least I can pick him up.
At least he’s still moving.
Bad days are ahead, they always are but we’ll get through it.
If Leroy stumbles, don’t be sad, I’m not.
He is 11 1/2 years old and I would rather have him stumble than not be able to walk at all.
I’ve invested years in making sure that he continues to move into his senior days.
All those walks, hill work and poles have been leading up this.
Dogs give us so much unconditional love and help us through some of the most trying times of our lives.
The very least that I can do is care for them and love them with a happy heart for as long and as best as I can.
Old Newfies are a true blessing and that’s how I get through it.
Senior Newfies deserve our admiration and our support.
Owners of old Newfies should feel proud; that’s what having an old Newfie should feel like. Pride.