These photos were taken in 2001 and 2016. Our wonderful dog Hoover has been part of our family for almost 16 years. Rescued from the streets of Dublin by Olive, a kind dog lover, Hoover came to live with us when he was about 9 months old. Olive called him “Hoover” as she had never met a dog with an appetite quite like his! Every day he continues to live up to his name!

He grew up with my children sharing the highs and lows! Now we are here to support him in his old age. He no longer carries the newspaper home or chases cats! There are no more displays of acrobatics in return for treats or ball chasing, and the sofa is just too high to climb for snuggles these days. He has lost his hearing and has slowed down a lot.

Animal communication has helped me identify what his changing needs are, hows he’s feeling and what he can still manage to do. We owe him a comfortable retirement after the years of fun and love he has given our family.

As your old dog ages, their needs change. As an animal communicator I am sometimes asked to connect with older animals to see how they are feeling.

One thing that comes up time and time again is sadness. Yes, sadness! Remember that your animal picks up on your thoughts and feelings. Do you look at his grey old face, his slower shuffle across the room or his increasing visits to the vet? And say to yourself, ‘poor fella, you’re not great on long walks any more. I worry that your sight is declining, will I need to assist your passing on, I won’t be able to cope with that decision, I feel sad when I look at your frail body’. It is normal to have these feelings but not good for your dog!

They pick up on these feelings and think “Why is everyone sad when they meet me?” This is a very negative emotion to surround your animal with.

Better to look at what changes can be made to support them. Here are a few practical tips to consider:

  • Shorter but more frequent walks if they have slowed down.
  • Don’t be cross if they have a toilet accident in the house. Its your responsibility to get them outside more regularly.
  • Keep them mentally stimulated.
  • Just be with them. Sit with them and get present. They love it!
  • When it comes to end of life, honour the life they have shared with you and be grateful. Remember the good times.
  • Don’t focus on the future without them. But that’s for another discussion!

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