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The 5 Best Dogs for Your Golden Years
Vet Street ^ | March 5, 2013 | Gina Spadafori

Posted on 01/16/2014 9:00:37 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic

Like many people in late middle age, I find myself wondering if my next dog will be different. I have long shared my life with retrievers — active, field-bred dogs who throw themselves with joy into every situation (and every puddle of water bigger than a dinner plate). Their boisterousness is infectious: My dogs make me happy. But in 10 years, or 15, or 20, will I be up to the demands of dogs like these?

Or will a nice, quiet little spaniel be the dog I need?

My answer may be different than others, even among people of similar age (55), health (reasonably good) and activity level (decent, could be better). I live in a rural pocket near an urban center, and I can always walk out my back door and engage a bored retriever in a heart-thumping game of fetch in my horse pasture. But I won’t always be able to lift a sick or injured 70-pound dog, and that’s an unchangeable truth. These types of concerns explain in part the increased popularity of small dogs as baby boomers like me approach retirement age.

Smaller May Be Better

So, yes, size does matter when you're choosing a canine companion for your golden years. But so do energy level and health history. Energy level is important, because if you choose a small dog thinking he’ll be easier to keep exercised and entertained than a large one, chances are you don’t know anyone who has a Jack Russell. And the health history is important in choosing any dog, but especially so when you’re on a fixed income, as most retirees are. The health history may tell you about any preexisting health conditions that your dog may have, but of course, it's not a guarantee that the dog won't develop health issues in the future. An easygoing or at least kid-tolerant temperament is also a must, especially if you have grandkids over regularly.

Before I start suggesting specific breeds, I have two other recommendations. First, get an adult dog. With an adult dog, you are more likely to have a good idea of health history and temperament, and you’re past the time and money involved in raising a puppy. Second, check out shelters and rescue groups to get a great pet — breed mixes may often have fewer health problems than their purebred counterparts. If you want a purebred puppy, be sure to find a reputable breeder, because if you don’t, you may end up with a poorly socialized dog or a dog with health issues who doesn’t measure up to the full potential of the breed. (You may also be supporting puppy mills if you choose the wrong source for your pup, and you don’t want to do that.)

French Bulldog

Martha Stewart is one of an A-list of celebrity fans of the French Bulldog, a stylish small spark plug of a dog with a solid disposition. While the Frenchie is a brachycephalic breed with all the baggage that comes with that, if you take the trouble to avoid casual or puppy-mill breeders, you’re likely to have fewer health problems. (And do take the trouble: Poorly bred French Bulldogs can have their respiratory systems so compromised by their flat faces that they need surgery to survive.)

A healthy French Bulldog is a solid companion, especially if he can be with you all the time. While not exactly known for their athleticism (they tend to overheat easily), if kept fit and trim, the Frenchie is a wonderful walking partner. Sharing the bed may take a little getting used to, though, since these dogs tend to snore. But in the eyes (and ears) of those who love them, that just makes the Frenchie more endearing.

Poodle

There’s a reason why Poodles have remained popular decade after decade, especially with older people. They’re personable, easy to train and have a lively sense of humor (they laugh with you, not at you). They are also relatively clean, low-shedding dogs who are easy to maintain as long as you keep regular grooming appointments (or learn to maintain a short “puppy clip” yourself). The Poodle is part of the original popular crossbreed, the Cockapoo, and the “poo” influence is seen in the names of many others, including the Labradoodle, the dog that kicked off the modern cross-breed craze.

The Toy Poodle is very popular with people who want a fun tiny dog, but the miniature may be a better pick if you need a dog who’s a little sturdier and more capable of a good long walk. Trick training is usually a breeze with these dogs, and once trained, Poodles seem to live to keep you laughing.

Schipperke

One of the more long-lived dogs, the Schipperke is a sturdy little breed with an easy-care coat and shoe-button eyes that are always asking, "What next?" If you live with a Skip, the answer could be, “Anything.” Take up kayaking, or buy a sailboat — heck, move onto a sailboat and head for an around-the-world adventure. Equipped with a life-preserver in case he goes overboard, your Skip will love you, because after all, this breed was developed for onboard living, as a ship’s ratter from Belgium.

Want to stay on terra firma? That’s fine too. Put in a dog door so your Skip can patrol the perimeter, and plan some long hikes. The Schipperke may be small, but he’s indefatigable. But always keep the leash on: He’s fast, and always ready to show the squirrels just how fast — even if there’s a busy road between him and them.

Maltese

If you want a dog who sheds the least, get a small, long-haired dog and keep your pet clipped short. The Maltese fits the bill here perfectly. Although the Maltese in the show ring is a perfectly groomed, shimmery wave of floor-length white fur, the same fur goes easy-care when the dog is kept clipped short.

That’s not the only benefit of the breed, by far. Maltese are in the same general family as many dogs developed solely as companions and lapdogs, such as the Bichon Frise, Havanese, Bolognese and Coton de Tulear. The Maltese and its related breeds (as well as cross-breeds with these breeds in them) are incredibly attentive and tuned in to their owners. As one of the smallest breeds on this list, Maltese are also the most portable — and fragile.

Thinkstock

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

If you’re on the more active side, and comfortable with a dog who’s smart, determined and strong-willed, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi might be a good fit. Long known as the dog favored by England's Queen Elizabeth (who also fancies her Dorgis, a double dose of short-leggedness that’s the offspring of a Corgi and a Dachshund), the Corgi’s strong will is kept somewhat in check by the limitations of those little legs.

They don’t seem to be aware of the problem, though, which means you have to do your best to keep your Corgi from injuring that long back. That means stairs for the bed or couch, and ramps for the car. And yes, lifting: Although the Corgi is a relative small dog, he’s no lightweight, especially if you don’t watch his diet. But a better companion for an active life is hard to find, which is why Corgis are the darlings of the equine set, along with the hard-charging Jack Russell.

Again, these are just some general suggestions to get you thinking before you choose a dog who’s no longer a good fit with your current circumstances. We all age differently, with different abilities and expectations, and just as there will be people who take up mountain climbing in their sixties, there will be people in their seventies who do just fine with German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. But most of us will probably be happier with a smaller, less demanding dog to keep us company in the final decades of a dog-loving life.

More on Vetstreet.com:


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Health/Medicine; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: activity; aging; dogbreeds; dogs; dogsforseniors; pets; seniors; top10
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1 posted on 01/16/2014 9:00:37 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Joe 6-pack; gorush

Doggie and Corgi ping


2 posted on 01/16/2014 9:01:15 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

The other guys dog. We have a pick up your poop law here. That’ll be the day....


3 posted on 01/16/2014 9:01:54 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: afraidfortherepublic

French-bulldog


4 posted on 01/16/2014 9:04:28 AM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

This article is one woman’s opinion, or course. Nothing could have been easier to own and care for than my latest (large) Golden Retriever. And harder to lose when he passed at age 12. I did adopt him as an adult, but he was a gem. I sure miss him. It’s been almost a year now since I lost him to Pancreatic cancer. Just d—n!


5 posted on 01/16/2014 9:04:41 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

My corgi mix is the world’s dumbest dog.

I swear she spends her days trying to figure out what she can do to get the other dog to kick her butt.


6 posted on 01/16/2014 9:05:01 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
"French Bulldog "

Drooly, low endurance, not that bright.

Best to find a young retriever adult at the low end of weights and keep them that way.

7 posted on 01/16/2014 9:05:11 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: JoeProBono

Thanks for posting the picture. Isn’t that a face?!


8 posted on 01/16/2014 9:06:31 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Paladin2

I agree.


9 posted on 01/16/2014 9:08:02 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Paladin2
These days there is really only one kind of dog I would consider.




10 posted on 01/16/2014 9:09:11 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

A poodle or poodle mix >40 lbs would be OK too.


11 posted on 01/16/2014 9:11:20 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: afraidfortherepublic

And if you miss being bossed around get a dachsund


12 posted on 01/16/2014 9:11:44 AM PST by Uncle Chip
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To: cripplecreek

Is that a Jack Russell?


13 posted on 01/16/2014 9:11:56 AM PST by fulltlt
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To: cripplecreek

Is that a rat terrier. We had one (who had to be rehomed when she moved.) She now keeps the floor clean for a family of 14 plus grandma. Great dog for kids and old folks. Not to bright, but means well. Fits in lap.


14 posted on 01/16/2014 9:12:02 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (“The only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel prize and leaves us alone.”-Moshe Yaal)
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To: Dr. Sivana

Jack Russell. Big dog in a small package.


15 posted on 01/16/2014 9:12:45 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
There's no way that I'm changing breeds.


16 posted on 01/16/2014 9:16:11 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Maltese are also the most portable — and fragile.

I don't know about that. The teacup variant is fragile, but my two normal-sized Maltese are pretty tough.

17 posted on 01/16/2014 9:16:32 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Retired racing Greyhound --the 45mph couch potato.

Very low-energy, relaxed, low-maintenance dogs. Most sleep 16-18 hours a day and don't require anything more than a simple walk every day. They are quiet and rarely bark. Retired racers are highly socialized and get along most most breeds and all people.

Their best diet is raw meat, which costs no more than regular dog food. When they're fed a raw-meat diet, their teeth, gums and digestive system remains very healthy.

18 posted on 01/16/2014 9:20:07 AM PST by Ol' Dan Tucker (People should not be afraid of the government. Government should be afraid of the people)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Oh dear, I just rescued a 13 year old Maltese last Saturday. The dog does not understand ‘come,’ he isn't house trained, and he gets lost when he is outside - always running up to my neighbors house and barking to get in.

.....regardless he is an adorable little rat-dog with no teeth and his tongue hangs out. I'm beginning to love him.


19 posted on 01/16/2014 9:20:22 AM PST by colorcountry (The gospel will transform our politics, not vice versa (Romans 12:1,2))
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To: afraidfortherepublic
I don't think concern for what will happen in five or more years should be a concern. If one rescues an adult dog that would've been put asleep at the shelter if a less-tha-perfect situation didn't arise, that dog would have no years without you.

My golden retriever/brittany spaniel was three when I adopted him two years ago. He was getting sick in the shelter environment. He healed very quickly at home, and he's a perfect house pet. He's a bit headstrong about walking behavior, but that challenge is good....for me and him.

Summary....if a dog is right for you, the dog will let you know. If you're a dog person, having a perfect dog companion will keep you young!

20 posted on 01/16/2014 9:23:04 AM PST by grania
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To: afraidfortherepublic

...our 13 year old Lab/Aussie mix has been the BEST dog...didn’t get her till she was 2...we are likely in her last year right now, as she has cancer (they operated, but couldn’t get it all as it’s right next to her trachea)....no small dog for us as we age...but, no hyper one either.


21 posted on 01/16/2014 9:23:17 AM PST by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
And harder to lose when he passed at age 12.

I sympathize with your loss. I too am a golden retriever fan. We are on our third generation of goldens spanning more than 30 years. The breed represents not just versatile bird dogs; they are also fun, sweet, kind and all one could ask for in a canine companion. I guess the author didn't like dogs that are hard to pick up an sit in one's lap. IMO- a dog ought to sit at your feet not on top of you and should know its place in the family pack without insisting on running the place.

22 posted on 01/16/2014 9:28:03 AM PST by DaveyB ("When injustice becomes the law; rebellion becomes duty." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

We have 2 Golden Retrievers. The best dogs on Earth. I hope you get another.


23 posted on 01/16/2014 9:29:59 AM PST by napscoordinator ( Santorum-Bachmann 2016 for the future of the country!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Shetland Sheepdogs are the way to go. They were previously known as “Shetland Collies”. Collie dog owners complained to the AKC that Shelties are not of the “Collie” species so that the AKC changed the name to “Shetland Sheep Dog”. Shelties are still the best house dog for older people. They are not as active as Border Collies and are self-disciplining. The only problem with them is that I heard a rumor that they are going to take over the world next week! ;-)


24 posted on 01/16/2014 9:31:29 AM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (What we need is to sucker the fedthugs into a "Tiananmen Square"-like incident on the National Mall!)
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To: goodnesswins

I have a 95 yr old neighbor who had two Labs until 6 months ago. Her kids made her get a couple of cats ilo another Lab or two.


25 posted on 01/16/2014 9:37:14 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: napscoordinator; DaveyB

I’m waiting to fully recover from my recent knee replacement to adopt another dog. It has to be a Golden, I think. That is the breed that melts my heart every time. And, it will be an adult dog from a rescue org.

But, my memories of my last Golden will have to fade a bit because he was the perfect dog. Even though he’d been found as a stray and was a wild child when we got him, he quickly calmed down and went to work with us every day. He knew the bounderies of our property and never left. He exercised himself. He didn’t even shed much (they have different kinds of coats). He never barked, or whined. When he wanted something he nudged you with his cold nose and fixed a soulful, brown-eyed gaze upon you! We still look at each other when we leave the office for the night and ask, “Should we take the dog home before we go out to dinner?” (Of course we know that there is no dog to consider any more, but it is an ingrained habit.)


26 posted on 01/16/2014 9:38:15 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

:-D Well, we know who your favorite is. (They are adorable)


27 posted on 01/16/2014 9:40:30 AM PST by KGeorge (Till we're together again, Gypsy girl. May 28, 1998- June 3, 2013)
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To: colorcountry

Good for you. He sounds adorable and I hope you get many years of pleasure out of him.


28 posted on 01/16/2014 9:40:49 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

My wife and I own two Chihuahuas......life is never dull as they have successfully house trained us. The dog whisperers’ head would explode as they as pets are pretty much everything he advises against as is we as owners....spoiled rotten and proud of it!!!


29 posted on 01/16/2014 9:41:04 AM PST by ontap
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To: afraidfortherepublic
As close to a little person as you can get,....if that's what you're looking for.  photo SgC7i_zps9edbc447.gif
30 posted on 01/16/2014 9:43:32 AM PST by Ronald_Magnus
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To: cripplecreek

Are you confusing “dumb” with masochism? :)


31 posted on 01/16/2014 9:49:59 AM PST by lonestar (It takes a village of idiots to elect a village idiot.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
My opinion retrievers are the man's (and lady's) best friend. Just wish they came in a small size like our 13 year old miniature schnauzer who looks like the one on the right.


32 posted on 01/16/2014 9:52:18 AM PST by McGruff (I stand with Phil.)
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To: napscoordinator

Our old girl is a Golden Retriever/Australian Sheppard cross. I would not trade her for anything. The only concern I have is falling because she has a way of blocking me out of where I intend to go if she wants more lovin’. Funny too! And low key but not lazy which is a necessity for me.


33 posted on 01/16/2014 9:57:10 AM PST by outinyellowdogcountry
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To: Dr. Sivana

Rat Terrier. I’ve had them all my life and the ones I’ve had have been VERY smart. They also have no congenital (breed) health problems. And unlike Jack Russels, they have an “off switch.”


34 posted on 01/16/2014 9:58:24 AM PST by Ancient Man
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To: spel_grammer_an_punct_polise

PFL


35 posted on 01/16/2014 9:58:45 AM PST by Batman11 (Obama is not American.. he has no clue what it is to be American.)
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To: DaveyB

I thought the author was thinking more along the lines of being able to carry a 70 pound dog back to the house, if something happened to it out on a long walk. I have an old golden (14), and we go on long walks out in the back country often. I know I have wondered how I would get her home if something happened out on the trail, so that she couldn’t walk.

I wouldn’t want to leave her, but there is no way I could carry her more than a few feet.


36 posted on 01/16/2014 10:02:59 AM PST by Red Boots
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To: Batman11

I have no idea what “PFL” means. Please enlighten me.


37 posted on 01/16/2014 10:04:49 AM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (What we need is to sucker the fedthugs into a "Tiananmen Square"-like incident on the National Mall!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Our 'Bobby'. Yorkshire Terrier.

Small, smart, beautiful silky coat that does not shed.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

38 posted on 01/16/2014 10:16:24 AM PST by patriot08 (NATIVE TEXAN (girl type))
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To: Uncle Chip

And if you miss being bossed around get a dachshund


There is an element of truth right there.....


39 posted on 01/16/2014 10:21:13 AM PST by S.O.S121.500 (Had Enough Yet ?............................ Enforce the Bill of Rights............ It's the LAW !!!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Bichon Frise - adorable, non-allergenic, small (15-20 lbs), not whiney.


40 posted on 01/16/2014 10:22:14 AM PST by Rum Tum Tugger
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To: Uncle Chip
And if you miss being bossed around get a dachsund

_______________

There is an edited version of EBWhite’s writings about dogs which is essentially about daschsunds.

41 posted on 01/16/2014 10:24:01 AM PST by Chickensoup (we didn't love freedom enough... Solzhenitsyn.)
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To: patriot08

A few years ago, my son found a Yorkie in a soybean field. Poor guy was covered head to toe with cockleburs. We looked for lost dog ads and placed an add w/ a pic . No one claimed him so, we kept him. He was a good dog and recently passed on. Smart, playful.


42 posted on 01/16/2014 10:31:51 AM PST by csvset
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To: McGruff

I rescued one of those (like the one on the left). He was my first dog and a real pain. I truly think that someone “threw him away” in our neighborhood knowing that some dummy (me) would take him in. Not an easy dog to live with — willful, sneaky, etc.

I used to confine him to the kitchen when I was out of the house and he could sneak through the baby gate so that he could poop and pee on the rugs. So, I would block his exit with my typewriter case. That little devil actually jump up on the kitchen table and pooped on the keyboard of my typewriter when I had to dash in to the newspaper to turn in my “copy” before deadline.

After he died, I had to have the bottom 8 inches of all of the mahogany furniture, including the piano pedals, refinished do to his “accidents”.

But, he was cute, as long as he was the center of attention.


43 posted on 01/16/2014 10:33:31 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic
My Nr. 1 choice:
1. Adoption
2. A "senior" in the large breed such as Great Dane or German Shepherd.

These seem to be the ones most in need of a good home. An incredible number of the old big boys on every adoption website.
44 posted on 01/16/2014 10:35:29 AM PST by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
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To: csvset

One of the cutest dogs and very smart- but outrageously expensive


45 posted on 01/16/2014 10:39:34 AM PST by patriot08 (NATIVE TEXAN (girl type))
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To: S.O.S121.500; Chickensoup

I agreed to look after someone’s dachsund for a week one time.

I was told in no uncertain terms to let him sleep in the house — only outside in his crate.

First night he howled outside all night and kept the entire neighborhood up.

Second night he slept in the kitchen doors closed and howled all night and kept the whole house up.

Third night he slept in a bedroom with someone but then spent all night trying to get up on the bed.

Fourth night he slept in the bed but kept demanding more space and pushing the other sleeper out.

Fifth night he had 3/4 of the bed but kept pushing for more space.

Sixth night he had the whole bed to himself.

Seventh night he went home and next morning I received a phone call asking: “What the hell have you done to my dog”.

He never slept outside again or anywhere else except a warm comfortable bed.

Needless to say I don’t get any calls to look after their dogs anymore.


46 posted on 01/16/2014 10:45:46 AM PST by Uncle Chip
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To: afraidfortherepublic

For ease of maintenance I would recommend a spade short hair dachshund. For politeness and gentleness, but higher maintenance, a spade long haired dachshund.

However, small dogs are contraindicated if there are visual problems with looking down.


47 posted on 01/16/2014 10:46:14 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (There Is Still A Very Hot War On Terror, Just Not On The MSM. Rantburg.com)
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To: Ol' Dan Tucker

This is what I’m thinking of doing when our living situation can better accommodate a dog. I’ve read great things about greyhounds and I think they’d be a good match for us. But then, I know I love Goldens.

If you or someone else here is experienced with greyhounds, I have some questions:

How hard is it to find one that’s good with cats? I never worried about our kitties around the other dogs we’ve had. Would it always be a concern with a greyhound?

I understand that they aren’t watchdogs, but are they inclined to at least alert when strangers are at the door?

They don’t have a lot of meat on their bones. In a home with mostly hardwood floors, would a dog bed and a few area rugs suffice?

If there are any negatives to the breed, what would you say they are?


48 posted on 01/16/2014 11:02:16 AM PST by Nickname
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To: afraidfortherepublic
We have three pups, a pure-bred Akita, an Akita mix and a "mut." They are about the same age, seven. All three are wonderful, intensely loyal and loving dogs.

Approaching seventy-three, my concern is that I will die before they do, particularly the Akita mix, Princess. She is the most devoted. She seems to recognize my declining physical condition and tries to help. Every morning, when I have to descend three steps to go turn on the internet in my wife's adjacent art studio, Princess is there to help me. She stands still so that I can lean on her shoulders. I can still get down the stairs without her, but her efforts to help are comforting.

Should something bad happen to one of our dogs, whom I would be unable to carry to the car, we have a worker who could do so. Also, there is a vet with a truck full of medical and lab equipment who could come and render assistance.

49 posted on 01/16/2014 11:03:07 AM PST by DanMiller (Dan Miller)
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To: cripplecreek

Oh yes. Got one of those myself. Super genius and I can take him anywhere without a leash. He can sort of read my mind.
Yours is very cute!!


50 posted on 01/16/2014 11:04:51 AM PST by MarMema ("If Americans really wanted Obamacare, you wouldn't need a law to make them buy it." Ted Cruz)
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