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Do you know the dictionary definition of happiness? Don’t quote me, but I’m fairly certain if you looked it up you’d find a photo of a dog on a beach. Bombing around, chasing a ball and launching into the sea. Tail wagging, tongue sticking out and covered from head to toe in sand. No chance of stopping until the day is well and truly over. Then it’s time for their favourite dinner, before flopping onto a comfy bed for a head scratch before nodding off. That’s what happiness looks like.
Walking my dog on the beach and seeing her having such a great time is one of my favourite things to do. I’ve been working with Agria Pet Insurance as part of their Young at Heart campaign to share my story about how older dogs in particular can bring so much happiness.
Young at heart
Bubbles is five years old but even now, people are surprised when I tell them she’s not a puppy. Dogs have such an incredible ability to live for the moment that ageing doesn’t detract from their zest for life. As a dog owner, I’ve always loved my dogs more as they aged.
Rescue dog Pluto came into our lives aged between four and six years old. He walked into the house, found his bed and settled down as if he’d always been there. As he aged, he still enjoyed daily walks and of course a run around on the beach as a treat. But he didn’t take much looking after. Just a cosy bed and plenty of cuddles.
Older pets can be great family dogs (or cats). There’s nothing more relaxing than a slow stroll together or just relaxing on the sofa for a cuddle. According to a survey of 1500 pet owners commissioned by Agria, I’m not the only person who loves older dogs. 1 in 10 people say a young pet is too active or hyper, and nearly 15% say it’s too much commitment to train a younger pet.
Why I love senior pets
We adopted Bubbles as a puppy. At 18 weeks old, we were her 5th home. She was adorable, but also incredibly hard work. Her boundless energy and relentless chewing nearly drove me to distraction. She was under a year old when my husband broke his leg in an accident and since then, exercising her has been entirely down to me. At one point, we ran a 50 mile ultra marathon together. The following day, she was up and raring to go again. I wasn’t.
As she has got older, Bubbles has become a dream dog. We still run together most days, but she’s equally happy to sit quietly for a cuddle. In a couple of years time, she’ll be classed as a senior dog. I’m certain she’ll still be just as bouncy and exuberant on beach walks, but she’ll require a bit less exercise and a few more cuddles. Pluto taught me how much love senior dogs have to give and much as I love Bubbles, I’ll always have a soft spot for the oldies.
Whatever pet you go for and whatever their age, pet insurance is a must. We used to have a dog called Soxa who was accident prone throughout her life. I don’t know how we would have coped if she hadn’t been insured. Sadly though, lifetime insurance cover for older animals is often not available. That’s why Agria are offering an Age Amnesty in October and November this year. They’ll be insuring cats and dogs of any age, giving owners the opportunity to get lifetime insurance for pets when they need it most.