I have a soft spot for older dogs. I have two of my own, but even when they were younger, I would immediately feel a heart tug upon seeing a dog like a Golden Retriever, with just a splash of white signifying an aging face, sauntering by on a slack leash held by a proud owner. With a dog like that, a person can’t help but slow his pace, stop to smell the proverbial roses and maybe even say out loud: “life is good.”

Senior can be defined very differently depending on who is doing the describing. From a vet’s perspective, a dog may be considered “mature” after age 7 or 8 depending on the breed. In my household, where Legacy is not quite 15 and Impulse is 13 ½, they are referred to as puppies on a daily basis, and are often deemed as such by strangers who meet them for the first time. One could say I live in denial, and I say, maybe, just a little bit.

So, what is it about a senior dog that makes her irresistible? If you have loved one for the length of its life, you already know the unbreakable bond, the trust, the exact weight of a body that just wants to lie on top of you and be gently massaged behind the ears, or is aching to have her belly rubbed. You already know if she likes to receive kisses (ours usually have no choice) or just enjoys a perfect scratch under the jaw line. Loving a being with wisdom earned over the years, whether he or she came to you as a youngster or from a rescue at the age of 10, is one of life’s purest privileges. Bright eyes can be denied sight, as we have experienced with Impulse, but they also reflect back thanks. Their mid-day naps remind us to take a breath, that life’s challenges can be met with grace, and that all is well. If you have don’t have a dog in your life that has seen the seasons change many times over, you should get one.