Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but it is a photo of a photo.
She developed arthritis in her spine about 2 years after I got her. By the time I put her down, she was almost totally deaf. But, again, being the smart dog that she was, we worked out a series of hand signals where she learned three things--I wanted to take her out, wanted her to stay, or I was very happy with what she had done.
She was loved by all who met her. In fact I credit Jiminy for bringing my neighbor Stephanie and I together. We have become good friends over the years. She had seen Jiminy for almost a year and wanted to know if I wanted to drop Jiminy off at her house during the day. She had a schnoodle named Koko that was a little anxious when left alone. My neighbor is an artist so she was home pretty much all day except for a few hours. Jiminy and Koko hit it off well and Stephanie would take them on little outings to creeks or ponds which Jiminy just loved. I would come home from work and pick her up, soaking wet and exhausted from a fun filled afternoon. Actually, Stephanie went with me to the vets when I had to put Jiminy down. Jiminy loved baby food. I had always split a jar for my cats for a treat each evening. Jiminy would then get to lick out the jar. When we went to the vets for the last time I brought a full jar of turkey baby food with me. Being surrounded by the ones you love the most, eating the food you love the most, then gently falling asleep. I can't think of a better way to leave this world.
About a year after Jiminy died, my neighbor surprised me with this wonderful portrait she painted
I will certainly get another dog at some point. But I think I will need to be retired. I have such a herd of cats right now that it just wouldn't be fair to the dog unless I wasn't working full time. One thing that I do know, though. I will always get a shelter dog, and always get an older dog (yes, maybe even an 11 year old). Jim-jim, you are still missed.
In honor of all the senior dogs languishing in shelters, the vast majority put there just because they are old and their owners don't have time for them any more, I'm providing a list of the top 10 reasons to adopt an older dog:
1. Older dogs are housetrained. You won't have to go through the difficult stage(s) of teaching a puppy house manners and mopping up after accidents.
2. Older dogs are not teething puppies, and won't chew your shoes and furniture while growing up.
3. Older dogs can focus well because they've mellowed. Therefore, they learn quickly.
4. Older dogs have learned what "no" means. If they hadn't learned it, they wouldn't have gotten to be "older" dogs.
5. Older dogs settle in easily, because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.
6. Older dogs are good at giving love, once they get into their new, loving home. They are grateful for the second chance they've been given.
7. What You See Is What You Get: Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality. Puppies can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first.
8. Older dogs are instant companions -- ready for hiking, car trips, and other things you like to do.
9. Older dogs leave you time for yourself, because they don't make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.
10. Older dogs let you get a good night's sleep because they're accustomed to human schedules and don't generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks.