How My Senior Dog Became My Life Coach: Learning to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About Tomorrow

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Before I introduce Bruno, my 12-year-old mixed breed, it’s vital to acknowledge his controversial past.

Bruno has a history of aggression — his conquests include three humans, four rodents, two young cats, one squirrel, and a bird.

In the human realm, such actions might be met with disapproval, but among canines, this is a badge of honor, or at least that’s what Bruno has convinced me.

The Beginning of Our Journey

lessons from mixed breed dog

My journey with Bruno began when I was just 11 years old.

Spotting him on the street, I scooped him up into my bicycle’s carrier and pedaled home, determined to do whatever it took to keep him.

My family’s resistance was short-lived, thanks to Bruno’s irresistible puppy eyes, his tiny paws, and the distinctive white blaze on his dark fur that many relatives deemed lucky.

He quickly made our home his playground, leaving a trail of chaos, from torn clothes to disrupted gardens, and presenting me with the morbid gifts of his hunts.

His peculiar way of holding a grudge, particularly peeing on curtains when scolded, was oddly impressive.

Bruno wasn’t just a pet; he was my soul dog, a term I found later on the internet that perfectly encapsulated our profound bond.

Growing Up Together

As the years rolled by, and I ventured into adulthood, the inevitable signs of Bruno’s aging became apparent.

He slowed down, his escapades with neighborhood dogs lessened, and his vibrant coat began to show streaks of grey.

Faced with his mortality, I was at a loss; society hadn’t prepared me for this.

My cousin’s blunt reminder that Bruno was, in fact, a dog, not a human, stung me deeply, driving me to obsess over extending his life.

The internet provided both solace and despair — stories of others who’d lost their soul dogs and warnings against excessive anthropomorphism.

Embracing the Inevitable

The realization dawned that our cultural obsession with youth and fear of aging did not apply to Bruno.

He seemed content, even dignified, in his seniority, ruling over our garden like a benign monarch.

Our daily interactions, though simple, were profound.

Yet, the dread of losing him haunted me, even as I rejected the notion of a dog heaven.

I focused on giving Bruno the best life possible, hoping to find peace with the inevitable void his absence would leave.

The Lesson of Living in the Now

Bruno has taught me a valuable lesson: to cherish the present and not dwell on future sorrows.

While the fear of losing him lingers, I’m learning to appreciate every moment we have left.

Though the thought of a world without him is unbearable, I’m determined to ensure his remaining time is filled with joy.

When the time comes, I hope to find solace in the memories of our shared adventures and the indelible mark he’s left on my heart.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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