Lee and Phod are dog 3 and 4. While our cats lived long lives in relative health (aged 19 and 20 respectively), we were not so lucky with dogs 1 and 2. Loki died of his auto-immune disease at age 8 and Gemini was 6 when she died as a result of an accidentt.
After their deaths, I really wanted to have a dog who lived into the double digits. It became my dream. I remember telling our vet, I would adopt a 10 year old dog if that is what it took to get one to that age! Now I have 1 and maybe 2 who are in their digits (as we aren't 100% sure of Phod's exact age).
At 10, Lee is still her exuberant self. Yes, she has more white fur, especially around her mouth, and yes the vet says you can see her eyes getting old, but behaviour wise, she has hardly slowed down. We are not really seeing her age yet. She just seems finally 'manageable!' I recently told her she is now the dog we always wanted, it just took 9 years.
The same can't be said for my Phod. He is at least 9. He doesn't like going on as long walks. He knows not to play as much ball (he has matured and will actually stop now and won't keep playing until he nearly kills himself!). He is often stiff when he has had a long walk or too much ball or after a long sleep. In general, he is just slowing down. It makes my heart hurt. It is hard to imagine a house without my boy in it. But to be clear, while he is slowing down, he is still happy and not suffering.
While having older dogs makes me sad, it also makes me appreciate the time I have with them. The past 12 weeks with them have been wonderful. I have so enjoyed it and I look forward to every moment we have left and the adventures we are going to face as we enter senior dog life!