When I say “the new normal” I am not talking about COVID or masks or climate change! I am talking about the process that many of us go through with an aging dog – if we are lucky enough to keep them for a long time. It is acclimating yourself to the new reality that your aging dog maybe can’t walk as far, or easily get up or down stairs, or see well, or sleeps all day. It is a natural part of aging. It should not really come as a surprise, and it will be easier on your dog and your heart if you embrace it as a new chapter in a long and loving life together.
We have a lot of practice with people aging. You “get used” to a grandparent using a cane, or becoming more forgetful, or sleeping a lot of the day. But it happens more slowly with humans since we age more slowly. We don’t always have a lot of time to adjust before we are confronted with another “new normal” with our dog. And sometimes, to be honest, the new normal is something really hard, like a dog that has lost their hearing or sight.
Have compassion for yourself and your dog. You will both have to adjust. But you will get through it together. And there will be lots of good times and joy, they just may be packaged a little differently.
If you have a senior dog, give her a big hug and tell her you are always with her and will always help her, not to worry. I know you feel that way, but sometimes we all need to hear it from the ones that we love.