Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Old Dogs

Here at Happy Dog Land, we never cease to be moved by the sight of an old dog, half-remembering its frisky past, shuffling along beside its human companion, a sign that the circle of life was more than an Elton John sing-along. Andrew Sullivan notes a particularly moving story by Gene Weingarten, entitled "Why Old Dogs are the Best Dogs." Weigngarten, best known for perhaps the finest piece of feature writing ever put to paper, "The Peekaboo Paradox," tells the story of his recently departed dog, Harry. In this canine tribute, Weingarten says something unexpected and oddly powerful:

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.

Many shelters specialize in placing older dogs in new homes. Check Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet, where you can search for dogs by age.

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