Riley is 14 years old

September 19, 2019

We adopted Riley, one of our Bichons, in June 2005, when he was just 4 months old. We chose a Bichon to add to our family because they don’t shed, are hypo-allergenic, and because of their sweet temperament.

Some reports state the average lifespan of a Bichon is 12-14 years while other reports state it is 18-19 years of age (if the dog has been well cared for). Our veterinarian bills can attest to the fact that we have taken good care of Riley, so I am hoping for the 18-19 age range.

Riley has started to age though. We’ve noticed that. He has trouble getting up on the couch without help, and he has been sleeping more soundly and more often lately. I also noticed that when I pet his head, it seems like he has less hair there. (Bichons have hair, not fur, which is what makes them hypo-allergenic.) In doing some research this morning, I read that Bichons do actually lose some of their hair as they age. So I wasn’t just imagining it after all!

We noticed a little over a year ago that Riley started losing his hearing. I don’t think he can hear much of anything anymore. I REALLY have to raise my voice (LOUD!) for him to hear me, even if I am just a few feet away.

In this great article on Aging Dogs, I read that aging dogs “don’t know this. (They) simply accept everything that life brings and move on. (They) don’t feel sadness at growing old… because (they) don’t have a clue about what is happening.”

I was so glad to read that because I have been wondering how Riley felt. I know how his actions have changed. He needs to constantly be with someone. He follows our other Bichon (Stella) wherever she goes. He needs more affection from me.

I’m glad Riley doesn’t know he is aging. I just wish I didn’t know that he is.

Many of you have aging dogs or have lost dogs. So tell me, what did you do to make your aging dogs’ lives more comfortable for them during this phase of their life?

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6 Comments

  1. Ricki Ohana

    Our two dogs will be 14 soon ?
    We spoil them, not too much, but enough to make them calm and comfy.
    Aging dogs do go through changes.

    Reply
    • Karen

      You’re so right, Ricki. It’s our job to make our dogs happy, calm, and comfortable. I’m sure you do a wonderful job, because I know you are a very loving person.

      Reply
  2. Paula

    Our Skipper is at that point in his life now and so we know just what you’re going through. Over the decades with a couple of aged dogs we have learned NOT to sweat the small stuff when they’re getting older. If they want people food scraps, it’s ok and if they want to sleep in our bed when there’s thunder, move on over. Those sheets will wash just fine. We carry Skipper to bed every night and tuck him in just like a baby. One day he won’t be with us anymore and we don’t want to look back with any regrets.

    Reply
    • Karen

      Thank you for your comments, Paula. I can tell you are a loving dog Mom and your Skipper is so lucky to have you. Riley and Stella both sleep in our bed with us. They have their favorite spots at the end of the bed where you have added several blankets for them to fluff up and snuggle down into. I hope you have many more years with Skipper.

      Reply
  3. Lisa Ledwith

    I have had many dog’s in my 64 years, I loved everyone of them Karen. All I can tell you is love them as if they were a parent, sibling or any family member, love them as they age the same way you would a human. Dog’s really feel your love, they are smarter than you can imagine. They love praise, even as they age. They love- LOVE. They are the most loyal creatures on the face of this earth!Love them more, pet, brush, play, cuddle them more. Give them all the attention you can afford. It’s not easy, especially with your schedule, I know it’s hard, but take turns if need be. I sense your uneasy feeling, your affection will perk them up, it will, do it and watch the difference. Still, that time comes. They sometimes can’t make it to where they potty, they don’t want to eat and it gets harder for them to get from spot A to B. “Just like a human.” But Karen, all they really need is you and for you to love them.Like I said, just love them like they were your parents or grand parents Karen. They are your family, they just look different and don’t ever talk back. And know this: Your elderly babies can feel when your are stressed, worried, afraid, sick and so much more. You’ve always been a “lift me up” Lady who gives out a beautiful light and lots of love and I love that about you! So lift them up with lots of love, in an excited “loud voice” if you must and just give them “your love” that is the best thing any fur-baby could ever ask for when growing old.   <3

    Reply

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