Gransnet forums


LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 29-Sep-16 17:20:15

Living with Rosie

Blogger and gransnetter, Christine Human, describes getting a new puppy - and the sleepless nights and extra work that go with them - at sixty-three years old... At what age would you say 'no' to new pets?

Christine Human

Living with Rosie

Posted on: Thu 29-Sep-16 17:20:15


Lead photo

At what age would you say 'no' to new pets?

The last time we had a puppy I was eleven years younger. I am now sixty-three, my husband, Shed Man, seventy and suffering with mild MS. The list for and against having another dog was long and complicated, sprinkled with revisions but in the end it came down to the empty space in our hearts where a dog should be. It’s like having a toddler around; it's turned our lives upside down.

This is the story of a day in the life of our Border Collie, (fourteen weeks). Rosie started the day by grabbing the elastic cord of my anorak which, when pulled, is designed to gather the hem in. On this occasion, with plastic tag firmly grasped in her razor sharp baby teeth, she ran outside to escape the consequences.

I spoke sternly, "Rosie drop" and to be fair she did. The cord, now with the tension usually associated with firing a catapult, was launched back at me, flicking me across the upper thigh, the sound reminiscent of a headmasters cane on a youngster's bottom smarting like a bee sting.

It's like having a toddler around; it's turned our lives upside down.

We go to weekly puppy classes together, and Rosie is reminded that we are top dog, and eat first. Breakfast, formerly a leisurely affair, is now reminiscent of a fast food chain prior to a cup final. We gobble cereal, slurp coffee and have taken toast off the menu. We watch the oven gloves being deftly flicked off the cooker oven handle, admiring her dexterity, and take note of the directions of travel for later recovery. We relax as she settles down under the table after ignoring her requests for attention which involve jumping on laps and licking ears as enthusiastically as a surgeon scrubbing up pre-op.

Shed Man rises with shoes like flip-flops while Rosie sits innocently, a long droopy moustache of shoelaces making her look like the baddie in an old Kung Fu film.

The recycling is deftly spread around the patio, the clanging of tins, the puncturing of plastic bottles, and the enthusiastic sorting of wine bottles sound like an orchestra tuning up the percussion section. Pots of pansies bravely survive replanting, (four times this week). And the cat sits motionless on the shed roof with narrowed eyes flexing its sharpened claws, ready to strike.

I wear a gadget to measure my footsteps and the 10K that I found so hard to reach prior to having Rosie now transmits gold medals to my iPhone for doubling my target.

In the evenings we turn off the TV and yawn loudly. Rosie knows it is bedtime and after a final run around the garden chasing shadows she pops into bed, sighs and settles straight down. And then we sneak back into the sitting room and pour ourselves a glass of wine...

Rosie has thrown down the gauntlet and we are rising to the challenge.

Read more posts from Christine on her blog A Dangerous Age.

By Christine Human

Twitter: @adangerousage

tanith Thu 29-Sep-16 17:26:18

When our last two cats died at the ages of 20 and 21 I had already retired and OH and I decided no more pets as we wanted to be able to pop off on short trips or holidays away without the worry of finding care for our cats once he retired.
I just don't want the worry, and the cost of pets anymore so although I always say ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!! at kittens my days of pet care are over.

Maybe when I'm old and housebound I'll relent grin

downtoearth Thu 29-Sep-16 17:40:26

This strikes a chord,we have just rehomed a retired greyhound..Bella.The day starts much earlier and finishes much later,and the bit in between is spent walking/retrieving/mopping up/extracting from paws and jaws and inspecting footwear for signs of date my new skechers go walk trainers went walking on their own aided and abetted by miss Bella Boo,only to be discovered with backs chewed off under settee.I too am 63 having had a labrador puppy 10 years previously at same time as being awarded custody my 4year old granddaughter we grew and aged and mellowed together,after our labrador went over the rainbow bridge we where left with a doggy shaped hole in our life.Miss Bella Boo is like having a naughty toddler as she settles down ,the "naughty nurse " at the vets assures me she will ...eventually

millymouge Thu 29-Sep-16 17:56:58

So glad to hear you have adopted a retired greyhound downtoearth, they are such lovely dogs. We have two, our second and third and they bring us so much joy. They do take a while to settle down but when you think they have spent the whole of their lives until now in kennels it's quite amazing how they take to living in a home. Everything thing is so very new to them. Wonder if Miss Bella Boo has mastered the stairs yet smile

downtoearth Thu 29-Sep-16 18:15:02

millymoug we live in a ground floor flat so no stairs but has just discovered the delights to be found on adopting the large corner unit settee as her own,she is very loving,and very lively and eager to go walkies so much so that we creep around so we don't wake her ,we think we have been clever and managed to get past her ..then one beady eye opens and off we go again grin

DaphneBroon Thu 29-Sep-16 18:22:31

Oh downtoearth we totally approve!!
But from my observations, greys don't go in for the same level of chewing and naughtiness as "other" dogs. They perhaps missed out on playtime as puppies spending all their time on learning to win loadsamoney for their owners.
I wish you much joy and many years with your beautiful Bella.

Auntieflo Thu 29-Sep-16 18:42:07

Unfortunately we have said ' no more pets' . We are 77 + 74, and realise we no longer have the stamina or patience for a replacement. When we retired we were so sure that we would succumb, but the longer we were without little paws around, the more we realised the ties were too much. At first I got my 'fix' by visiting our DD, but their dog has sadly gone also. BUT, a couple of days ago my neighbour's small daughter told me, with great glee, " we've got a new puppy" . Oh my, she is so gorgeous, I was licked and cuddled by warm little paws and was so loath to give her back. So, with luck, I may be able to 'share' her and maybe granny walk/sit at times. She'll soon get me trained.

Penstemmon Thu 29-Sep-16 19:16:58

I would love a couple of kittens but DH is adamant that he does not want any more pets sad
I had always been the one to take our elderly and/or sick pets to the vets when the time for euthanasia was right.
For the first time, four years ago, DH took our lovely cat for the final visit to the vet as I was at work. He was devastated for days. A year later. when I mooted getting a new cat/s, he was still totally against it. We do go away quite a bit but it would not be impossible to manage!

downtoearth Thu 29-Sep-16 23:00:43

Thank you Daphne if I remember correctly you are mum to Grace,this name was one I wanted for Bella as we had to re name her,unfortunately a neighbour shares this name and I don't think she would be impressed....and neither would the neighbourgrin,it is very true about learning to play and learning the difference between her toys and our possessions,we live her from the tip of her pointy extending nose to the end of her punishing whip like tail, she is like bambi ..on ice

DaphneBroon Thu 29-Sep-16 23:34:07

Just watch out for that whippet tsil! There is a condition known as Happy Tail where the poor happy greyhound whacks his/her tail against things so often the tip bleeds (and greyhounds know how to bleed!) Grace came to us with a bleeding tip and every time she whacked something like the door frame with it the blood would spatter all over the place!
An open-tipped dry bandage under a pop sock protected it until it healed but THEN of course, last Christmas there was the tale of the tail. Several weeks of Buster collar, bandaging, vets bills antibiotics, Tramadol etc until she lost a good 4 inches off it by amputation and I lost a lot of money!!
Lovely dogs !!

millymouge Fri 30-Sep-16 03:46:26

So glad we have our two, big part of our lives

DaphneBroon Fri 30-Sep-16 07:36:36

smilesmilesmile (as near as I can get to a "like"button)

DaphneBroon Fri 30-Sep-16 07:37:39

I'm afraid my iPad didn't like whippy tail I know Bella isn't a whippet!

Synonymous Fri 30-Sep-16 18:55:09

I don't think that there is an actual age when you finally say," No more" but rather there is a time in everyone's life when enough is enough.
The last in our own long line of 'feline employers' died shortly before we moved house and so there was a natural break where we felt our home life was too unsettled. As time went on we became used to a cleaner home and no ties and now we just couldn't go back to all that extra work of caring and training. The final goodbye is often such a heart wrenching time and I really don't feel I could go through that again so we will remain without a furry friend.

I will confess that I did confide to DD that if I was ever left on my own I would bite the bullet and find a new furry friend but please don't tell Mr S! He wouldn't be at all impressed at the thought of my replacing him with a furry friend!grin

middleagespread Fri 30-Sep-16 18:59:47

It's so nice to hear your tale. Rosie is 7 months now and a moody teenager but I wouldn't be without her.

middleagespread Fri 30-Sep-16 19:01:49

Greyhounds are so beautiful aren't they?

middleagespread Fri 30-Sep-16 19:04:04

Made me smile, the thought of you creeping

middleagespread Fri 30-Sep-16 19:06:38

Sounds like a fine plan. Enjoy your cuddles. smile

middleagespread Fri 30-Sep-16 19:47:38

millymouge- they look so cute together.

NfkDumpling Fri 30-Sep-16 20:16:01

Other peoples puppies are lovely!

We decided after many years of various pets, from stick insects to a pony, that after our last dog died we'd have a break from pet ownership. I have to say the house stays clean for a lot longer - except when we get our dog fix when one or two of the granddogs come to stay. We would both love another dog, but at present we're enjoying the freedom to stay out as long as we like, going away when we like, etc.

One day, when we slow down a bit, then we'll have another dog.

Deedaa Sat 01-Oct-16 22:06:53

Our younger cat is 5 so he will probably live till I'm at least 80 so I think we will have to be sensible and say "No more kittens!" Although we did say that before we had him! Perhaps a middle aged rescue cat might creep in?

vissos Sun 02-Oct-16 00:22:02

You can always foster. No vet bills, regular breaks and the main thing - they leave you alive.

NfkDumpling Sun 02-Oct-16 08:19:43

Yes Vissos I think, when we do decide to have another dog, it will be a long term foster through the Cinnamon Trust.

f77ms Sun 02-Oct-16 08:37:49

I could never be without a pet but I have the luxury of built in babysitters with my son still living at home. The house would not be the same , I have 4 cats , Larry, Rita , Ambrose and Rosie all quite elderly . The pleasure and affection they bring outweighs any inconvenience they cause .

waggingtailssl Sun 02-Oct-16 09:33:02

This is an interesting Blog and a subject that's dear to my heart. I own a business in Berks & Bucks which is in essence an alternative to kennels where dogs stay in the homes of hosts. The majority of hosts; carers; dog loving friends; call them what you will....are retired former dog owners. One lady used to own Alsations and misses the companionship desperately but also loves travelling and enjoys not having the commitment both financially and physically of having a full time dog in her life. Now, she gets to enjoy dogs when it suits her and receives a modest payment for each day that a dog is with her. The dogs enjoy lots of attention and love in a home environment. All of the hosts agree that it keeps them socially active as they meet other dog walkers and often form great friendships with the dog's owners. It's always so much more fun walking with a dog than just walking for the sake of it. There's always an opportunity to chat with other dog owners whenever you are out with a dog. Waking up to a waggy tail in the morning is certainly another factor. There are plenty of Dog Home Boarding businesses across the country so if you miss dogs but don't want a full time companion, this could be the perfect solution for you. Worth PAWsing for thought....