Getting to be an Old Man
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  • Well, you-all met AJ when he was five years old. He was running everywhere, playing chase with that mischievous gleam in his eye that I think all Basenji are equipped with from birth. He'll be eight in January and he's starting to show it a bit.

    We still get off-lead time, but I've noticed he's slowing down some and not running as far during our chase games. We would race each other to the grass with him looking over his shoulder at me as if to say, "Come ON already, ya' loser!" These days, it seems I'm beating him to the grass more and more.

    He's getting a little bit of white around his muzzle, as all distinguished elder dogs do and he's not quite as concerned with what other dogs are doing as he once was. It's been a slow process, but one I simply can't ignore any more.

    It brings a huge knot to my throat to see those times pass and to have these reminders that I will one day have to say goodbye to my friend. I also know that I still have years before I'll actually have to do that. But it sure doesn't make it any easier seeing the time pass and the changes in him. In the mean time, my old friend still has a lot of roads to travel.

    And we hope to see you down one of them some day.

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  • Hopefully you and AJ have many more fun years ahead of you.

    We just had birthdays here last week, now my "baby" Eddie is 11, Nicky is 13 and my Topper is 15! Eight is still a teenager from our perspective, so enjoy your boy and his maturity! He is a mellow grown-up now, not a crazy kid.

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  • @MacPack:

    Hopefully you and AJ have many more fun years ahead of you.

    We just had birthdays here last week, now my "baby" Eddie is 11, Nicky is 13 and my Topper is 15! Eight is still a teenager from our perspective, so enjoy your boy and his maturity! He is a mellow grown-up now, not a crazy kid.

    We know Topper, Eddit and Nicky, and sometimes running into the dog park, you'd never know Topper is such a wise old guy. He mostly is sedate, but sometimes he has "puppy moments" and he is a very wonderful dog. My girls and most of the other dogs in the group run up to Topper and sort of "bow" in respect to him - he still reigns as the leader among his pack. Hopefully, you and AJ will remember those younger years with joy as you enjoy many, many more happy if more mellow years.

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  • 8 doesn't seem very old to me Belinda, i can't say i noticed Benji slow down any untill probably the last 18 months or so when he was ill. He probably did and i just didn't notice as it was so gradual. I know he always looked like a relatively young Dog, other people were surprised when i told them his age. However when i look back on the last pics he does look old in them in retrospect.
    I know what you mean though about the thought of saying goodbye, life would be less painfull if we didn't have pets but what an empty life.

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  • D

    Is any on any joint supplements like glucosamine? Perhaps he needs something like this. Perhaps a thorough work-up by the vet might be in order.

    Jennifer

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  • S

    Baby asprin works for some b's.

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  • I'm with you, it is hard to see our beloved pets age. But the alternative would be to never experience the love they give us. I would miss that way too much.

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  • 8 is not old. although, for me, "old" depends on the age of my own dogs. Digital's very best year as an agility dog was as a 10 year old. So, yeah, 8 is just starting to come into prime for a basenji ;) Diggie will be 14 (!) the end of the year and his age has really started to show in the last year.

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  • Nicky will be 13 in December. He still enjoys LGRA racing and this weekend he split the GRC point with his soon to be 10 year old housemate. The finish line judges were shocked to hear his age. In his first race he only lost to his 5 year old competition in the last yard and he won his last race of the day beating that same 5 year old. On occassion this year he has even found himself in the high point race to which I always tell him what a silly boy he is to want to run with all those young 'uns like his soon to be 2 year old daughter who totally blows his doors off and finished her GRC this weekend with a perfect score of 22.

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  • 8 is hardly old, especially for a breed whose lifespan is around 15 years.

    He is just middle aged. He is a grown man and sees no need to do childish things…;) :D

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  • If the slow down is so obvious to you, maybe you would feel better to get a vet check? I know you are on the road and it is probably difficult for you to plan, but it might give you some answers that you can work with. Wishing the both of you the best.

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  • Thanks, all. He's not sick and people are always surprised to find out he's not the three-year-old they take him for. His walk is light and sprightly, as it's supposed to be, his eyes are clear and he still initiates play…just not quite as exuberantly as he once did.

    Mr. Nerdy, I think you hit it square on. And thank you for the smile. :D

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  • P

    I totally agree with Nerdy.

    I think too that when we live so close to our dogs we do notice the little changes as they grow older.

    Jewel at 16 + says "Lucky AJ, I wish I was 8 again!" She is definitely slowing down but loves her walks although they are mor sedate than before. It didn't stopher a while ago when she and her two grandchildren pulled me over and dragged me down the road while attempting to catch a deer!

    I have noticed that some lines do age earlier than others though, that's why I prefer a slow developer as I find they go on longer,

    Love and kisses to AJ, King of the Road.

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  • Okay, when this thread was posted, we were on Blue Wilderness food, which by looking at ingredients, seemed to be a superb food. It has these tiny little black round kibbles mixed in it that are supposed to be great for the dog. AJ kept spitting them out on the floor. And, since I had a deep pile rug in the truck, would either walk on them (ouch!) or shake a shower of them out of the rug each day.

    I'm cheap. I hate wasting money on good food if it isn't getting into the dog. We went back to our old standard, Pinnacle Chicken and Oat. We've been back on Pinnacle for about six weeks now…and my dog is back to the playful, running, mischievous rascal I had before. And I'm lovin' it!

    In order to keep his coat conditioned, his food gets supplemented with one or two raw eggs per week and a little cottage cheese. I am considering this stuff called "Missing Link" that has flax seed, rice bran, dried yeast, molasses and sunflower seed as the first five ingredients. It's supposed to supplement Omega 3 and support skin and coat. Any input on this from our resident experts is happily welcome.

    Cheers!

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  • Glad to hear that AJ is a pup again! I bought some Missing Link once but none of my dogs would eat their food with it mixed in. It's supposed to be good, I think. A fish oil capsule every day or so can help coat as well.

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  • T

    All of ours have gotten Missing Link from the time they started eating solid food. They appear to like it, but we don't have any picky eaters, so that's not probably a good indicator. We mix a small spoon of canned food and a little warm water into the bowl to dissolve it, then mix in the dry. We have nice coats and healthy dogs, but maybe they would be anyway - genetics plays a big part! Refuse to pay the price at the pet stores, I order mine from Revival Animal Health online for about 1/2 the price. Definitely worth it for us with 9 mouths to feed!

    Terry

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  • Houston

    Thanks for the info on Missing Link. I have looked at it from time to time, but never actually bit the bullet and got it, now I will..
    I am glad AJ is youthful again..FYI, Otis spit those little things out too..wonder why..?

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  • They spit them out…probably because they taste like what they appear to be...rabbit turds.

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  • You said: "Well, you-all met AJ when he was five years old. He was running everywhere, playing chase with that mischievous gleam in his eye that I think all Basenji are equipped with from birth. He'll be eight in January and he's starting to show it a bit.

    Did I get this wrong? You say he was 5 when you joined the forum in Oct of 09 and now he'll be 8 in January? Is this new math? :D

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  • I'm a dork. Forgot when I joined up. I thought I'd been around longer than that…

    I've had AJ since he was 5.

    Thanks for the correction, Dan. How's Buddy?

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  • @AJs:

    I'm a dork. Forgot when I joined up. I thought I'd been around longer than that…

    I've had AJ since he was 5.

    Thanks for the correction, Dan. How's Buddy?

    Buddy's great! He's 28 lbs of energy. AJ has a long way to go young lady. My Basenjis have been pretty active even at 13! My first lived to be 17-1/2! Maybe he just wasn't feeling well for a bit there as dogs can get viruses too.

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