Actually, our whole year has been completely unusual. Less than 3,000 miles have accumulated on our odometer, and it feels like we haven’t done anything truly interesting.
Maybe that’s to be expected after the nutty travel schedule we kept last year. But, truth be told, it’s more than that.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, Ty and Buster are getting old.
When Ty started slowing down last year, getting him a stroller allowed us to continue on at our normal pace. It was easy to fool ourselves into believing things weren’t really that different. But when Buster’s hind legs started giving him trouble over the winter, we knew life was going to change.
Traveling With Senior Dogs
With arthritis affecting Buster’s hips, giving the boys the “best possible life” quickly went from exploring new places to spending more time cuddling on the sofa. Don’t get me wrong – snuggling on the sofa has always been one of my favorite pass times! Still, compared to all the places we traveled last year, it feels a bit like we completed the road trip and fell off a cliff. A more gradual transition would have given me time to adjust. But that’s not what we got.
READ MORE ⇒ Helping A Dog With Arthritis Keep Going
Now we spend more time throwing the ball for Buster and watching Ty meander around at his own pace. As much as I miss visiting new places, seeing the boys happy means so much more. We’ve been parked at my parents’ for the past five weeks, and Buster has literally worn out his squeaky balls. (Don’t worry buddy, we have more on the way!) And when Ty’s not sampling the grass, he can be found under the front porch, which he discovered makes an excellent fort. They’re content – not lamenting how things used to be, or worrying where time is taking them.
The most difficult thing has been adjusting my expectations. My heart hurts when Buster needs to rest after playing for 10 minutes. Or when Ty needs to be rescued because he’s wiggled into a spot and can’t find his way out. The past and the future run through me, and I want to shut my eyes and pretend the boys will always in their prime.
And yet I know these days are precious. Perhaps more than any that we’ve spent together. We’ve seen all the places, done all the things, and collected every single memory. When the time comes to say goodbye, we’ll have left no box unchecked. Rod and I have more mountains to climb. But, for now, we’re just grateful to throw the ball, overdo it on the treats, and let Ty and Buster know we couldn’t possibly love them more.
So, we’re traveling with senior dogs. For us it’s meant spending less time on the computers and more time on the sofa. What changes have you made to accommodate traveling with your senior pets?
You nailed it, Vicki – it’s one of the best things and one of the hardest things I’ve done. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.