My old dog does this amazing thing where she just exists and makes my whole life better because she is here.


We dedicate this post to Sugar The Golden Retriever of Golden Woofs 

I met Sugar and her mom, Rosalyn, at my first BlogPaws conference where they made it their mission to make everyone smile. 

A Day in the Life of a Senior Dog


Zora will turn 14 at the end of April. I honestly don’t know where the time went. It seems like just yesterday that this sweet, gentle soul joined our family and I was explaining to my, then 7-year old daughter, that our new puppy would not be sleeping on the bed or hanging out on the furniture. About six minutes later, my little yellow lab of cuteness was snuggled up against my side… on my bed…where she spent the next 12 years sleeping next to my head… when she wasn’t lounging on my her favorite purple chair 😉

About two years ago, Zora decided that she no longer wanted to sleep on the bed. Her bad hips and arthritis make getting up on the bed a challenge and even with assistance, she doesn’t seem to enjoy the softness of the mattress, only staying to belly rubs for a few minutes before seeking out her chair or a spot in the sun on the floor.

A rare moment with (clockwise from top left) Zora, Simon & Piper all on the bed

With two younger dogs in the house, it’s hard not to notice that Zora is slowing down. She is still a puppy at heart with bursts of silly energy and a zest for life. Her tail continues to “helicopter” when she is really excited. She can’t go as long or as far as she used to but she still loves to head out for short leisurely walks or a ride in the car and she continues to greet people with typical lab enthusiasm. But, it’s different. Beautiful but different. 

We’ve all heard heart wrenching stories about senior dogs being discarded at shelters, often because they are no longer “puppy like” or because the health needs of a senior pet can be a challenge. There is no question that as our dogs age, the daily routine changes a bit. Where I can head out for a hike with Simon (10) or Piper (2), Zora really can’t join us for these highly physical activities so we plan special outings that include some of her favorite activities.

Zora LOVES riding in the car.


We start with a trip to PC’s Pet Pantry!

 PC’s Pet Pantry

So many treats!

Zora, picking out a new toy!

No outing is complete without visiting with old friends.

Zora visiting with our good friend, Karyn 🙂


No matter what we do for our special outing, we always make a stop at Lake Viele before heading home for some much needed R&R.

Photo credit: Bryn Nowell, A Dog Walks Into a Bar


We encourage everyone to make the most of each day with your dogs. 

In honor of Sugar’s passing, we will be checking a few items off the bucket from Sugar’s 15 Ways to Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday recommendations. We are also celebrating Sugar’s life with a donation to Izzy’s Place Senior Dog Rescue in Sugar’s name. 

Please consider supporting a local senior dog rescue in honor of Sugar.

By |2017-03-21T08:56:19+00:00March 21st, 2017|Daily Dog Life, Senior Dogs, Uncategorized|18 Comments

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  1. Emma March 21, 2017 at 4:58 am - Reply

    We will all miss Sugar so much. It’s hard to watch dogs getting old. It was heartbreaking to see our Katie deteriorate last year, but we still did everything we could with her and she loved that. Now I’m the senior in a house with two younger dogs. I get my special treatment, and we always cherish every day because for every creature, the only guarantee is the current moment. Life is short for everyone, especially dogs, so make the most of it. Very good post!

    • Alison Reder March 21, 2017 at 7:43 am - Reply

      Emma, I think you and Zora need a special seniors outing 😉 You are so right about living in and enjoying the current moment, a lesson we can definitely learn from dogs! Thank you for that reminder.

  2. M. K. Clinton March 21, 2017 at 11:01 am - Reply

    We loved Sugar and our hearts go out to her parents. I will miss her Golden smile ♥

    • Alison Reder March 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Our hearts are with yours in sending Sugar’s family lots of love and peaceful thoughts as they grieve her loss.

  3. Maya March 21, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Zora is my first dog and as she enters her senior years I’ve been lucky to grow up with her and am very glad to be home as she grows older.

    • Alison Reder March 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad that you get to be home during Zora’s golden years. I know she loves having you around for snuggles and belly rubs.

  4. Tori March 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    What a sweet post you put together to honor Sugar. She’s definitely a pup we’ve looked up to in our blogging journey.

    • Alison Reder March 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Tori! Sugar was a sweet love and she leaves a big hole in the pet blogging community.

  5. Caren Gittleman March 21, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    This was the perfect post for Sugar and your donation is so generous. I love the idea of you working on Sugar’s Bucket List. Sugar will be greatly missed. Also, thank you so much for your kind words on our post.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder March 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad you liked the post. As Zora gets older, I keep thinking about how so many senior dogs are abandoned as they start slowing down and showing signs of aging and I just can’t imagine missing out on her golden years.

  6. Christine Caplan March 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Oh Maya has known Zora since she was 7 years old – now I’m about to cry. How did our dogs become seniors. Time has gone by so quickly, I’m sick about it. And then Maya’s comment above is too much! I love all these pics but I especially love the pic that Bryn took. There is something so special and soulful about old dogs. You’re right – it’s about stopping and smelling the roses. XO

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder March 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      It is so hard to believe how quickly time really does fly! I wasn’t kidding about a seniors road trip 🙂 Bryn is an amazing photographer! She totally captured Zora in all her senior glory 🙂

  7. Denise Gruzensky April 1, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    What a special tribute to both Zora and Sugar. We love our furry family member so much and it is heartbreaking to watch them age as well as leave us!
    Denise Gruzensky recently posted…Snapshot Sundays March 2017My Profile

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder April 3, 2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

      Thank you! It really is hard to watch them age. It seems incredibly unfair that they have to leave us so soon.

  8. Nichole April 19, 2017 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Having lost 2 seniors 2 years ago and now having 2 seniors in our pack, this post really hits home. Make the most of every day and don’t ever put off until tomorrow!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder April 19, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

      You are so right! Zora had a seizure/vestibular event on Friday and I know that we are definitely going to need to make the most of the time we have left with her.

  9. kelly April 19, 2017 at 11:06 am - Reply

    What a beautiful way to pay tribute to Sugar and show the love that a senior dog like Zora still has to give. I have to admit, I also said “no dogs on the furniture”. I say this as Edie is sitting on the couch and my cat Lloyd is curled up on my bed 🙂

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder April 19, 2017 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Ha! I suspect we are not alone in the unenforced “no pets on the furniture” rule! 😉

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