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September 20, 2013

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Senior Years: Saying Goodbye to Schuyler

By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

I was eight when my brother found the $1.75 dog in the paper. My mother knew there just happened to be an ink blot on the page, but she didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise. Nathan called and found out that these were actually purebred Siberian Huskies for $175. He was devastated.  

Our first summer with Schuyler Our first summer with Schuyler  

The woman asked to speak to my mother, and Nathan thought his dream of buying a dog with his allowance was over. Apparently one of the puppies had a birth defect and was unable to be AKC registered, and Nathan’s dream came true after all. We rode out to the middle of nowhere. In the middle of winter. In Minnesota. There she was. Just a little bundle of black and white fur. She had bright blue eyes and was an ear and a half of pure cuteness.

Our beautiful Schuyler lived through a lot. Her “kids” either went off to college or war, all got married and all moved out. I don’t know if my mother ever expected to have Schuyler for over 16 years, but I do know the day Schuyler got her “pound of bacon” was one of the hardest days she had ever faced. Let me backtrack a bit to explain the bacon. Schuyler was never sick. Never had any injuries or even any lethargy (until the last year of her life). The dog just kept on living.  My oldest brother said that the day she died she deserved a pound of bacon to be fried up and fed to her. And that is exactly what she had. Schuyler was euthanized in March of 2012 after her quality of life was no longer comfortable for a dog. She was buried in our backyard. With a belly full of bacon.

Schuyler's final resting place: Her favorite spot in the woods Schuyler's final resting place: Her favorite spot in the woods.

Schuyler was often spry and athletic, but once she became a “senior dogizen” her lifestyle changed. It started to get more difficult to get to the door in time to let her outside.

One way that you can help your senior pets is to install a pet door. While it will take some training to get your pet comfortable with using a pet door, it is possible to train older pets with proper instruction and praise. Incontinence can be common in older pets, and having one of our PetSafe® doors may give you less mess to clean. More than anything it can help your pet feel like there is some relief again in a not-so-fun situation.

Another common issue in older pets is dehydration. If their regular water bowl doesn’t seem to entice your pet to drink as much water as you’re used to seeing, one of our Drinkwell® fountains could help. These fountains are able to filter fresh water for your pet to enjoy, and the running water can help encourage your pet to drink more water. My dogs currently love their Drinkwell® 360 Stainless Steel Fountain, and it’s nice to know that the bowl doesn’t just have stale water sitting in it all day.

Pets go through life stages in the same way that humans do. We go from needing everything baby-proofed to needing books for school. From wedding registries to retirement funds. Schuyler went from our house needing to be puppy-proofed to needing a daily run with one of us rollerblading behind her trying to keep up. From finally learning to use the grass instead of the carpet to needing soft food for better digestion.

Give your pets a chance to still enjoy the time they have here with us by making things a little more convenient.  And when it is their time to go, remember the fun times, the love they shared and have them go out with some bacon.   Schuyler on her 15th Birthday Schuyler on her 15th Birthday[/caption]

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