Dogs Aging

A State of Mind, Dependent on Breed

“Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.” —Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

Photo by Gangleri

All dogs seem to age at a similar rate, for the first two years, anyway. At two calendar years of age, they seem to have reached the human equivalent of 24 years old. But from there, the rates diverge, with smaller dogs aging at a signifiantly slower rate than very large dogs. According to the Senior Dogs Project, at 6 calendar years of age, a Maltese is approximately 40 years old while a Great Dane is nearly 50. A 10-year-old large dog is a rare thing, but miniature and small breeds frequently reach 14, 15, 16 years or more.

It hardly seems fair, as the size of the soul does not seem to change according to the size of the dog, that by breeding alone, some dogs are destined to shorter lives.

Perhaps that’s why author and psychologist Rob Pasick intentionally slowed down when his Yellow Labrador, Lucy, reached 13. He realized his time with her was very short, and he chose to pay close attention to the four-legged friend who had helped him and his wife raise their two sons.

The results of his observations are recorded in Conversations With My Old Dog, a gentle reminder of the lessons our dogs teach us when we’re paying attention. Lessons like patience, acceptance, and joy. In the short chapter called “Worry,” Rob asks: “I often wonder: do dogs worry?”

“I’d like to believe you don’t worry, Lucy.

“You’re of a peaceful mind. But I am not sure. You can look so sad sometimes, so fearful.

“Maybe God designed special worries for each species that reflect those of His own.”

Conversations With My Old Dog makes a wonderful gift for someone facing the loss of an old dog of their own, and a lovely addition to the library of any dog lover. It can be purchased from this web  site or through

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