Dog Parent holding their pup's paws for National Pet Memorial Day 2020.

The Joy of Loving a Dog Unconditionally

We Get to Love You

Something a little scary happened to my family last month that I really wanted, no needed, to share my feelings of worry but also love and respect. After a hot summer evening walk with our pups, we noticed Dilla, always so strong and certain, faltered and fell face first on the first steps leading up to our home.

We immediately rushed over to find Dilla struggling to regain his balance as he reflexively stretched out his right paw in search of the step, which was a few paces away from him. It looked like he was going to miss the step and fall once again, so being a protective mom, I bent down to help him get closer to the steps.

Once he regained his paw-ing, he was okay and continued hopping up the steps as if nothing happened. But we noticed he moved a little slower than usual.

Click here to read about Dilla, our French Bulldog and Boston Terrier mix.
We adopted Dilla when he was just at eight weeks old. Now he's eleven!

It finally hit us in that very moment: our little man was getting older. Now keep in mind, Dilla's veterinarian had already informed us of his cataracts and cloudy vision, but because he's our strong, resilient fighter, with an appetite like no other, it was hard to think of him as being vulnerable, let alone growing older.

It wasn't the same revelation with our Willow. She was seven years old when we adopted her and she was deemed a senior pet by the shelter. However, we quickly realized that even though she was a year older than Dilla, Willow has the heart and soul of a puppy, running circles around any dog anytime plus her jumping skills are unmatched.

Willow, Bichon Frise, Maltese and Havanese mix, adorable and happy senior dog.
Willow always with her tongue out, letting us know she's having fun!

To think of her as a senior pup just seemed silly. Unfortunately, we were sadly mistaken as we woke up to Willow yelping and limping one early morning. We knew something wasn't right. After a trip and a nerve-wracking evening with our vet, we found out Willow suffers from a pinched nerve in her neck. The doctor ordered her to take it easy and lay off all the jumping. We made sure Willow followed the doctor's orders, but being miss-attention-hog that she is, she managed to convince daddy to give her a full-body massage every day. Anything to help make our sweet girl feel more comfortable, we're here for it!

We started reading up on senior dogs and the special care needed for them to live full and healthy lives. Among many things we found, frequent routine doctor's visits to prevent disease and specialized diets to keep their weight under control were very important.

So how do you know when your dog is considered to be a senior?

The answer depends on the type of breed, but noticing them slowing down, tiring more easily or not being able to play or walk as long as they used to are some of the usual signs. PetMD has a wonderful and informative article on tips for dealing with older dog health problems. Besides Dilla having a hard time going up the steps, our pups weren't showing any of these signs, but after last month, we are taking extra care to help our senior pups live more comfortably. It's not an easy thing to do to watch someone you love take slower, more measured steps. Be we reassure ourselves that whatever may come it's part of life and try not to be so overwhelmed.

Senior Beagle dog wearing a sweater sitting down outside.
Senior dogs have different care requirements than younger dogs.

Of course we know dogs can suffer from kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, heart disease and other conditions, but having senior dogs puts the possibility of dealing with these illnesses front and center. Our research reminded us that many dog diseases are treatable, especially if caught early, but others are not, as they may not respond to the treatment. That got us to thinking about what do we do when it's time to say goodbye to our beloved furbabies?

Determining when to lay your pet to rest must be one of the toughest decisions you'll ever have to make, especially when facing sudden illness or worse an accident. We have never walked this journey before and luckily, there are good resources online like 8 things to do when a pet dies at home to help you through the process.

Now the last thing we want to do is to tell you what to do or how to feel because we know everyone mourns differently. But giving you ideas to help with the healing process by building a legacy, is something we plan on doing and wanted to share with you too. Whether your process involves: getting a pet tattoo, writing a poem, designing & engraving keepsake jewelry, planting a tree, donating to a local shelter or holding a memorial service, these ideas can remind you of all the lovely moments you shared with your furbaby.

“No longer by my side, but forever in my heart

In honor of National Pet Memorial Day, the second Sunday in September, we wanted to offer something special for dog parents who’ve said their last goodbye to their beloved furbaby and wanted to know what to do with their pet's ashes. Or a very thoughtful gift for family and friends who wish to cherish loved ones who’ve passed through their lives, providing companionship and comfort. Browse our collection of pet cremation keepsake jewelry.

Cremation necklaces and memorial jewelry are the perfect keepsakes to memorialize loved ones and honor the joy they brought to your life. A wonderful keepsake for those who've crossed over the rainbow bridge 🌈.

Personalized Pet Cremation Keepsake Jewelry Necklaces.
Beautiful keepsake jewelry to hold the ashes of your beloved pets.

Each keepsake includes a 20" chain, gift box and funnel kit to safely insert ashes into the container. Our cremation jewelry is made from durable stainless steel. Browse the collection today.

Memories replace the empty space left by the loss of a cherished pet

There's so much to be thankful for and every time we watch over our pups, we cannot help but smile. It's true our furry friends depend on us to keep them safe, sheltered and of course well fed! But when you really look at the relationship closely, they are the ones that keep us strong, reminding us to live in the moment. Life can get really heavy at times, but with them by our side, things do not seem so bad. We are beyond grateful for all the time we have with our pups and thankful we get to love them. It's one of the best things we'll ever do and we promise to keep them near our hearts forever.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

About the author: Gabrielle is the loving pawrent to adorable pups Willow and Dilla. Growing up surrounded by dogs, she always dreamt of having her own. Willow and Dilla came into her life and changed everything. Now, she's crazy about pampered pooches, and her perfect day involves dancing with her husband, dressing up her furbabies, and cuddling them to sleep. For Gabrielle, life is all about spreading love and joy with her adorable canine companions by her side.