I love dogs and have had the privilege of sharing my life with them for 25 years.
But until now, I’ve never been part of a pack that has lived together their whole lives. We currently have three dogs. Sammy is (we think) 14 and has kidney disease. They gave him six months to live in March 2020, but here we are. His brother Strider will be 11 this summer. And Bogart, the baby, is 8. Every day, week after week, month after month, we survive the world by being here for each other. Every day.
And let me tell you, having a pack that has spent its whole life together is a beautiful thing. They’re so good together, while at the same time they’re each so different.
The first go round I had with an aging dog was Tucker. He’s the one in the book jumping at the beach. I wrote something for him after watching him change, and age, and then say goodbye. Then there was Sydney, who is on the cover of Gone Dogs. Only, Sydney didn’t seem to age at all. She just heard voices one day when she was 14, and that was the end (a stroke, they think.)
But this time around feels different. They’re all aging so beautifully together and it dawned on me recently what a gift it is to be part of it. My wife and I discussed adding a puppy to the pack the way we did when Tucker and Sydney were aging—as a way to integrate a new dog into the pack. But I don’t think we will. What we’re going through is too special. Somehow.
So the one thing about an aging pack is that … eventually they’ll all say goodbye. Is that sad? Oh heck yeah. And I could easily mope around thinking about the inevitable. Absolutely. It’s what I did the first time with Tucker. And I know there will be days when I look over at my old Aussie and feel the pang of sadness knowing that he’s slowly leaving me.
But it is not this day.
This day we enjoy every moment as a pack that has been together for a very long time. Their whole lives.
There’s no room for sadness. Not today.
It’s a beautiful thing being part of an aging pack.
Me among them. ❤️