When we adopted Maggie in 2001, we were told that she was “approx. two years old”. I have since learned that they tell everyone the same thing (the vet thought she was older). Her age was not important then, but is important now. According to my calculations, Maggie is now anywhere between 15-17 years old!
Maggie has had a good life with us, although she had also had to adjust to younger “siblings”, several new environments, changes of diet and housing situations. She is a great companion to both Charlie and I, and a lot less trouble than most people would attribute to a large dog.
In the many years we have had her, we have heard her bark *maybe* twice, and have only seen her get angry once! (When another dog became hostile towards Charlie). She clearly has a sense of mischief and humor: she has never been allowed on the couch, but when she was younger and still able to jump, I would sometimes walk into the living room and catch a glimpse of Maggie’s white tail coming off the sofa.
Maggie now is having trouble chewing hard food, she has a form of doggie alzheimer’s, she cannot hear anymore, and getting up from a laying down position is extremely difficult for her. Every day her movements are getting slower and more deliberate.
Charlie and I do not want to lose Maggie. We are willing to make allowances and accommodate her age and conditions, and intend to make her life as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. Having said that, I know that at some point we will have to put her to sleep. I don’t want to make a mistake either way: she should not have to suffer one day, but she should also not go as long as she has quality of life. That line is very, very fine and really easy to cross into either direction!