Thursday, 25 June 2020

Caring for a golden oldie - how to say goodbye in a good way

Those who read our books live all over the world, and we love to hear from them when they get in touch with us. Carolyn Walters is based in Australia, and here she writes about how our book Older dog? No worries! has helped her to care for her Golden Oldie, Hugo, improving quality of life for them both. 

Me and my Golden Oldie

I recently received from my good friend Robyn Youl a copy of Older Dog? No Worries! as she knows that my old companion, Hugo, and I had begun going through some rough times due to his advancing years.

                                                  Young Hugo

Hugo – who's thirteen-and-a-half – had always been healthy until about a year ago when his health deteriorated very quickly, which, mentally, I struggled with as I hadn't prepared myself for the particular challenges of an ageing dog.

                                                                      Hugo at 13

The physical pain that Hugo was suffering resulted in a decline in his mental health. I wasn’t sure what to do to help him, but Older Dog? No worries! has helped me understand what's happening to Hugo, and how to make his transition through old age easier.

Amongst other things the book illustrates different approaches to enhancing a dog’s senses, which I’ve found very effective due to the fact that Hugo is almost completely deaf. I have incorporated some interactive and sensory activities into Hugo's life, who has learned to trust his other senses in his everyday life, and his confidence has increased because of this. 

Hugo recently lost his lifetime companion – Zeph, the dog he grew up with – and I was concerned that this may cause him to become anxious and depressed, but, instead, the reverse appears to have happened, and Hugo seems to be thriving as his mental and physical health have greatly improved.

                                                  Hugo and Zeph

Now, Hugo is extremely absorbed in his new lifestyle, is more animated than ever before, and seems to enjoy a considerably improved quality of life, being confident, comfortable, relaxed and happy. 

I could not ask for anything more. 

Older dog? No worries! has opened my eyes, and shown me that although Hugo is an old dog, there are little things I can do to improve the quality of his final years. It has also shown me how to prepare mentally for the different stages that Hugo will experience and, of course, for the final stage. 

If I was to say in just a few words what my understanding of the book is, and what I have learned from it, they would be: How to say goodbye in a good way …

Carolyn Walters

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