All of our dogs are old. The two oldest are twelve, and Casey, our Irish Setter, is nine. For a big athletic dog like Casey, the discomfort of creaky joints is particularly sad. She still loves to walk and spend time in the woods, but the days where I would be forced to slog through a driving rainstorm so she could exercise seem to be in the past. Now, when the weather is bad, she is content to wait out the storm instead of following me around the house urging me out of the house with her wagging tail. Some of my happiest mornings have been spent walking behind Casey as she enthusiastically forced me to try to enjoy all types of weather. And that is part of what our dogs teach us: that in almost any situation, there is something to enjoy if you have the right attitude. They alo teach us that the simple things in life matter: companionship, sunny days, rainy days, and kindness.
I used to occasionally see a bumper sticker that said, "be the kind of person your dog thinks you are." That always made sense to me, but I like it even better now. Because, innately, your dog expects you to think like they do. They expect you to be thrilled over simple treats, and occassionally not mind the rain, and sometimes, when your bones are tired, to give yourself a break.