How To Care For An Older Dog


Jack landed on our doorstep on a sleepy Autumn day in September of 2003. He was a puppy. A small ball of fur snuggled up on my father’s lap in the back seat of the car. He came from Mayo, in the West of Ireland. He came from a farm, let’s just say we were very lucky we got him when we got him.

He is 13 years old now. By nature, he is curious and excited. He is bold and cheeky and will never say no to a slice of Kilmeaden cheese. We gave him command training. We’re not sure if it worked entirely as he only obeys if there’s the possibility of a treat!

When he was young I used to really worry for him. He would run away to explore and we were always so afraid he would run out on the road. Running was his favourite thing to do. He would run and run and run until we made him stop to rest. Running was all he wanted to do. He had legs like a greyhound and he ran like one too. He was a difficult pup at the best of times. You could never catch him!

We didn’t take him on walks very often when he was young. He would howl and bark and was impossible to handle in and out of the car! He would pull so hard on the lead he couldn’t breathe. Coupled with the noise, the walks stopped and became much more infrequent.

I remember he used to greet us getting off the school bus. Well actually, he would get ON our school bus. He would hear that red and white CIÉ bus chugging up the road 50 yards away! He would run into the driveway, leap aboard the bus and run down the narrow aisle in the bus to lick all the school kids and say hello. He was our pride and joy.

I take him on more walks now that I ever did before. There was never any need to. Living in the countryside, there’s always a fox to chase and smells to follow. He never had a dull moment. Boy could he jump. All four legs would come off the ground.

Almost.. got it…

In the last couple of years, Jack has slowed down a lot. He sleeps more and is less energetic. He sleep for about 18 hours a day now.

Drama queen

He has become more stiff now around his hindquarters and loves to have a good long stretch when he gets up in the morning.

Although he is lethargic and sleeps for lengthy amounts of time, as soon as you mention ‘walk’ to him, he becomes a pup again.


We give him Glucosamine pills. They are a supplement to help aid his joints. We also give him Cod Liver Oil tablets. They keep him strong and his coat nice and healthy.

I take him for a walk once a week now. He gets so  hyper and excited and I love seeing him so happy.

Hmm.. i’ll give the water a miss today

He has never been in the water. He doesn’t like water. I’d love to see him swim and I think it would ease his joints. Although, I think he might have a heart attack if I throw him in the River Boyne now. So, I take him on short and steady walks. The following day he is stiff so we take it handy. He loves getting in the car, he goes mad.

I have to remind myself he’s not a young springy pup anymore. He is 74 years old in dog years! He is full of life but he has to mind himself as his body is not what it used to be.


He’s without a doubt one of my greatest companions. Love you Jack x


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