Dear Mom and Dad,
I wanted to write this letter to tell you how much I appreciate you. Although I’m adopted, you’ve always treated me like your own puppy. When I was a baby, you fell in love with me at first sight. You took the time to teach me the difference between right and wrong, and why it was important to piddle outside and not on the carpet. You tolerated my exuberant energy and always provided outlets for my teething, curiosity, and zoomies.
As a teenager, we may have had our minor disagreements, but I started to realize that life doesn’t revolve around playing and crazy energy. I started to appreciate those quiet moments—for example, sleeping on the couch with my head on your lap while you watch the small noise box, or lying under your feet while you sip your morning coffee, after you feed me breakfast, of course.
For the past few years, we’ve settled into our own wonderful rhythm. I never let you forget about my breakfast and dinner, and, with a few exceptions, you let me outside to smell all the smells. To repay you for tolerating me as a puppy, I am a great babysitter to all the small humans you have brought home. They play a little rough sometimes, but they also drop delicious snacks, so it’s OK.
But, my beloved humans, I have some things to tell you. I’m getting older. I may live for many more years, but I’m past my prime. And, with my age, come some potential problems we need to address.
- The first thing I need to tell you is that my body is starting to hurt. It came on slowly, but it’s undeniable now. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that I’m stiff when I get up in the morning, or that our walks are slower than they used to be, but it’s true. I feel a lot better, almost 100%, after I get up and moving, but if I do too much, I really hurt the next day. I’ve talked about it through the fence with the neighbor dog, who said her owners give her medication to help her bones and joints stop hurting. Do you think you could ask the veterinarian about that?
- Speaking of the veterinarian, I know she does what’s best for me. The last time at the hospital she poked me with needles for “vaccines”—whatever they are—and said you should bring me back every six months for checkups. But, six months feels like a really long time. My body is changing so fast now, and I’m hoping that the veterinarian can find the spots in my back, hips, and knees that are painful, and catch the new lump that has popped up.
- I can tell you’ve noticed this, because you won’t let me kiss you on the mouth anymore—I know my teeth are dirty. But, not only is my breath bad, but also my mouth hurts, and I leave blood behind on my favorite toy when I chew it. I can’t chew with one of my back teeth anymore because it hurts so bad. I know the doctor mentioned she could clean my teeth and pull the one that’s hurting, and I hope you’ll decide to let her do it, because a clean mouth will help protect me from other problems, like heart disease. I know you’ll love my kisses once my breath is fresh, and I’ll love eating without that awful pain.
- Lastly, I’m never a fan of having my blood drawn, but lately I’ve been feeling that something may be wrong with my insides. I’ve been feeling a bit thirstier than usual, and going to the bathroom more often, which you may not have noticed, because I let myself in and out of the doggy door—always on squirrel patrol. But when the veterinarian recommends blood work at my next checkup, I’d like you to take her up on that. The earlier we catch what’s happening to my insides, the better chance we have to slow its progression. I want to be a healthy family member for as long as possible, and special foods, medications, and supplements can ensure a good quality of life for longer.
I want to be there for you for a long time. I want to keep your feet warm all night, every night, for as long as I possibly can. Regular checkups and following my veterinarian’s recommendations are the best way to keep me happy and healthy. It’s been a while since I’ve been for a visit, so I would love you to call the hospital to set up my next appointment.
Your Senior Pet