June 1992 - December 14, 2006
Guinness has gone to the Bridge, but leaves us this very important message about senior greyhounds...
Hi! My name is Guinness, not that book guy, but a record holder in my own right. I was on GREAT's website as a special needs foster dog for a long time, and I wanted to say a few words for the senior grey. After all, I know lots about that age category, because besides being in that group, my foster mom and dad are seniors too! And, my foster sibling greyhounds are also seniors: Taz is 7.5 years old and Hannah is 8.5 years old.
If you remember, my foster mom said: ďGuinness is a distinguished older gentleman who has the heart to win races, but no longer the ability. He is a perfect companion? I have taken that description to heart and every day I try to be as good a boy as I can be. I know that so many of my senior colleagues approach each remaining day of their lives with the same gusto.
My age has probably scared folks considering adoption away from me, but I still have most of my teeth and they are all good. I am still energetic and enthusiastic. My face and beard are a little grey, but I have all my hair. Not many 95 year old men can say that! I tell my foster dad every morning and evening that I am ready for a walk and donít need a walker or cane. When I get impatient, I vocally let my foster dad know it is time to ďget on the move? Admittedly, my legs arenít as strong as they used to be, and on some days I am a little unsteady when I donít pay attention, but I still trot and sometimes sprint back into the house. No one worries about ďthe puppy?in me, but dad still fusses when Iím in a really spirited mood and decide to dig a little in the backyard. What the heck?it's fun to have a little naughtiness in your stride.
We seniors have many varying past life experiences. While some of us come straight from breeding farms where we spent many years after racing, some of us fondly remember our lives in other homes. We didnít want to give that up but it was out of our control. So, when we have the chance to love and be loved once again, we donít want to miss the opportunity. Thatís why I demand that I receive attention. I push my foster dadís hands off the computer keyboard, move his newspaper or wake him from his afternoon nap, all to let him know I need some love. I let my foster Mom know I want her attention too, but sometimes itís just a man thing. I donít like the younger folks getting more attention than me. So at the right moment I force my way into the center of attention. It works pretty well. Finally, at the end of the day, after my peanut butter snack, I make sure my foster mom & dad know it is time to go to bed by barking just a little. Itís lonely in the bedroom by myself and so if they donít listen, I persist. Most times I win but itís just to show them how much I love them. They need their sleep, too.
My foster mom and dad are devoted to me and Iím welcome there as long as I need to stay. So while Iím not worried about myself, Iíd like to ask a favor. Please consider giving GREAT seniors the opportunity to come into your home so that they can share their love with you. Even if we canít do some of the things our younger cousins relish (like speed running), we have so much to give and can make you very happy with us. In return, we just need to be petted, hugged and loved and then before we go to bed each night, to have someone scratch our ears and say, ďNite, nite. Weíll see you in the morning.?/span>
P.S. I was reading an old issue of Celebrating Greyhounds the other day, and this lady named Sue Burkhard wrote a really great article called "In Praise of Senior Dogs." I think the following quote from that article says everything that my fellow senior hounds and I want to say:
When seniors sleep, you watch them with the wonder normally reserved for a newborn baby. You relish every new day with them. Seniors bring out the best in us. We want them to be so happy, content, and comfortable that we strive to make their every moment the best that it can be. We donít take for granted that they will be here tomorrow for sadly, tomorrow may not come. Because of this realization, we live in the here and now. We donít have their pasts, and we may not have an extended future. What we do have is today.
Today my senior Greyhound and I will play in the yard with her ball. I will hold tightly in my mind every toss, every tail wag, every bark, and every prance. My senior Greyhound and I will sit side by side on the sofa, her head resting in my lap, my hand stroking her head and trying to convey just how much I love her. I will watch my senior Greyhound as she rises and as she lies down, as she sniffs the cat, and as she eats her food. I will notice the light that shines in her eyes when she sees me walk to the treat jar. And I will laugh at the little digging thing she does with her bed. I will fret over her as she comes in out of the rain and make sure she isn't cold as I dry her off and kiss her head. And I will not take her for granted one moment of the day.
As owners of seniors know, more isn't necessarily better. Senior Greyhounds teach us how precious life is every day.
Sue Burkhard, "In Praise of Senior Dogs." Celebrating Greyhounds. Fall 2002, pg. 56.
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Last Update: 07/22/11