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  1. #1 Why old dogs are the best dogs. (Potential Tissue Alert) 
    The last word: Why old dogs are the best dogs

    They can be eccentric, slow afoot, even grouchy. But dogs live out their final days, says The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten, with a humility and grace we all could learn from.
    The Last Word•Friday, October 17, 2008Comment Print Email They can be eccentric, slow afoot, even grouchy. But dogs live out their final days, says The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten, with a humility and grace we all could learn from.

    Not long before his death, Harry and I headed out for a walk that proved eventful. He was nearly 13, old for a big dog. Walks were no longer the slap-happy Iditarods of his youth, frenzies of purposeless pulling in which we would cast madly off in all directions, fighting for command. Nor were they the exuberant archaeological expeditions of his middle years, when every other tree or hydrant or blade of grass held tantalizing secrets about his neighbors. In his old age, Harry had transformed his walk into a simple process of elimination—a dutiful, utilitarian, head-down trudge. When finished, he would shuffle home to his ratty old bed, which graced our living room because Harry could no longer ascend the stairs. On these walks, Harry seemed oblivious to his surroundings, absorbed in the arduous responsibility of placing foot before foot before foot before foot. But this time, on the edge of a small urban park, he stopped to watch something. A man was throwing a Frisbee to his dog. The dog, about Harry’s size, was tracking the flight expertly, as Harry had once done, anticipating hooks and slices by watching the pitch and roll and yaw of the disc, as Harry had done, then catching it with a joyful, punctuating leap, as Harry had once done, too.

    Harry sat. For 10 minutes, he watched the fling and catch, fling and catch, his face contented, his eyes alight, his tail a-twitch. Our walk home was almost … jaunty.

    Some years ago, The Washington Post invited readers to come up with a midlife list of goals for an underachiever. The first-runner-up prize went to: “Win the admiration of my dog.”

    It’s no big deal to love a dog; they make it so easy for you. They find you brilliant, even if you are a witling. You fascinate them, even if you are as dull as a butter knife. They are fond of you, even if you are a genocidal maniac. Hitler loved his dogs, and they loved him.

    Puppies are incomparably cute and incomparably entertaining, and, best of all, they smell exactly like puppies. At middle age, a dog has settled into the knuckleheaded matrix of behavior we find so appealing—his unquestioning loyalty, his irrepressible willingness to please, his infectious happiness. But it is not until a dog gets old that his most important virtues ripen and coalesce. Old dogs can be cloudy-eyed and grouchy, gray of muzzle, graceless of gait, odd of habit, hard of hearing, pimply, wheezy, lazy, and lumpy. But to anyone who has ever known an old dog, these flaws are of little consequence. Old dogs are vulnerable. They show exorbitant gratitude and limitless trust. They are without artifice. They are funny in new and unexpected ways. But, above all, they seem at peace.
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    The Week
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member aerojarod's Avatar
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    When ever I read articles about dogs like this one, it totally rips up my heart and leaves me venerable to cry the rest of the day. But thanks!
    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
    It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
    -- John Adams
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Apache's Avatar
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    Oh jeez, I miss Boxer...:(
    Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.
    Ronald Reagan

    We could say they are spending like drunken sailors. That would be unfair to drunken sailors, they're spending their OWN money.
    Ronald Reagan

    R.I.P. Crockspot
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  4. #4  
    One time I adopted a little old guy that I named Rusty. We already had a dog named Dusty but since Rusty was stone deaf, we figured there wouldn't be any confusion.

    Nobody wanted Rusty. He was old, deaf, blind and demented. Rusty could get lost in a corner and often did. His feet got infected all the time and he had to wear baby socks. In a rare display of ingenuity and accuracy, Rusty once bit me using dead reckoning when I was eating a steak. Every single afternoon after work I had to clean out Rusty's area in the laundry room because he'd poop randomly and then track it everywhere. I usually had to clean Rusty himself off at the same time. Nobody was going to write a book or make a movie about Rusty.

    But I fell in love with him anyway. He depended on me completely and he trusted me completely (aside from the steak issue). He got as much joy out of bumbling through the grass as any puppy and he was secure knowing that I'd never let him get lost. He liked to lay on my feet when I read a book or watched TV. He followed me around the house relentlessly and happily. I was sorry to send him over the bridge when it was time. Mr. Snaps never "got" Rusty but I sure did. :)
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    Senior Member hampshirebrit's Avatar
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    Great thread and follow-up post, Ginger.
    20010911
    nie vergessen, nie verzeihen.
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  6. #6  
    Bumping for dog lovers. :)
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  7. #7  
    Suck it up and post some thoughts about your old dogs. I can't believe CUers have no amusing or bittersweet stories about their old dogs. Half the board probably has a dog over 8 years old.
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  8. #8  
    PORCUS MAXIMUS Rockntractor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    Suck it up and post some thoughts about your old dogs. I can't believe CUers have no amusing or bittersweet stories about their old dogs. Half the board probably has a dog over 8 years old.
    I had a dog named Einstein who would sit in the doorway and howl when I played Kathleen Battle.
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Rockntractor View Post
    I had a dog named Einstein who would sit in the doorway and howl when I played Kathleen Battle.
    When you played Kathleen Battle for what? Money? Sex?
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  10. #10  
    PORCUS MAXIMUS Rockntractor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    When you played Kathleen Battle for what? Money? Sex?
    She has a beautiful voice but he didn't think so. He liked most new age but he didn't care for opera!
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