I think I have some sort of strange gift.
A few weeks ago I started jotting down ideas for this post about how dogs help with aging. Then, maybe by coincidence, I saw a piece on the NBC news that dealt with that exact topic. By the way, it was as if they’d read my notes.
After that there was the crossword puzzle, another sign. I was doing the New York Times crossword puzzle and the clue was, “Crisis of the Middle Ages.” The answer was “sag.”
As if that’s not enough, back in January I wrote a post called “Rock On” because I was seeing so many man made rock formations on the trails. Since then, guess how many I’ve seen…none. See, I’m putting something into the universe.
ELBEE Okay, I admit Pack Leader is telling the truth. I not only saw the rock formations, it’s been months since I’ve peed on one.
Back to aging. Did you know that it’s no longer politically correct to call it anti-aging? I guess that implies it’s a bad thing, rather than something we should accept and try to do gracefully.
My conclusion, and one that was backed up by the news report, is that dogs definitely help with the aging process. From a purely physical perspective, they keep you active. You’re much more likely to take a walk if your dog is standing by the door waiting to exercise. To me there is nothing more restorative and that keeps me in better shape than heading into the mountains with the Doods.
It almost makes up for the younger hikers who comment, “Wow, you’re strong,” and let the phrase, “for your age” hang in the air. There’s even one guy who calls me “ma’am.”
Aging can come with it’s own emotional issues. Oops am I oversharing? There’s nothing like the unconditional love and support of a dog to help you cope. No one has ever been as happy to see me when I get home as the Doods, yes, even Elbee. That moment of pure joyful greeting lets you put everything aside for an instant.
Dogs also offer companionship and comfort. Who else would listen to all of your concerns and your opinions without judging or offering their own? Who else can make problems disappear simply by sitting at your side?
Even the responsibility for their constant care, training and nurturing is important. Mentally dogs can keep you on your toes. Try forgetting to feed them and see what happens.
Having therapy dogs is really my true gift, other than the one about putting things out into the universe. At this stage in my life, they have given me a passion for what I’m doing and the ability to make a difference. When we walk into the hospital, I never know what little miracle or what special quiet moment I’ll have the privilege of witnessing. Now if the Doods could only do something about the grey hair and wrinkles!