In Praise of Elder Dogs

This blog is created in celebration of the elder dogs, of any breed, who've touched our hearts. You are invited to add your own reflections, or, if you wish, track the progress of your own elder dogs. ("Elder," BTW, is defined here as 10 years or more, except in breeds known for shorter lifespans, such as the Great Dane.) Send your stories and photos to me at branta(at)

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Location: Hunt, Texas, United States

I've been privileged to share my life with five unforgettable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. This blog was inspired by Cooper, my first, whose indominatable bright spirit triumphed over his limitations. Every day of his life, till the very end, he woke joyously, happy to greet the day. I would wish the same for all of us!

Monday, December 19, 2005

THIS IS THE DAY WE THOUGHT WOULD NEVER COME. It's Cooper's birthday -- his 15th birthday! I began this blog a month ago in part to try to find a way to cope with his aging and ultimate passing. Since that time, I've heard from many others with elder Cavaliers (some of their beloved "eldears" have their photos published here) and those with middle aged Cavaliers who know they'll be treading this path sooner or later. Perhaps the most important realization through all this has been coming to understand that "old" doesn't mean "dying." When I wake in the night, I don't always check to make sure Cooper's still breathing. I no longer have conversations with him about his journey to the Bridge. I no longer wonder who my "next dog" will be. I deal with him as I would deal with any other aged being ... respectfully, affectionately, realistically. In short, I am no longer planning his funeral, but instead living each day with him, gratefully.


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