A Beautiful, Honest Essay About Living with an Elderly Dog


15-year-old Charlie needs a lot of attention and help, but he still loves being with people.
Photo by John Kelly/THE WASHINGTON POST

Living with a dog who is approaching the end of its life can be a rewarding experience (see the Project Unconditional series), but there can also be challenges, both physical and emotional. Writing in the Washington Post, John Kelley discusses how he has reacted to living with 15-year-old Charlie, and he knows that he has not always been as positive as he could be:

It embarrasses me to say it, but also piling up is my irritation. Sometimes it’s easy to tell what Charlie wants or needs.

But when he is sitting fine, has been fed and walked, and still starts to whine at me, what is going on in his head? He whines more now, plaintive, inscrutable mewls. He’s on pain relievers. Is it less physical pain than existential fear that causes this whimpering?

Ultimately, though, Kelley knows that this is an important part of the arc in a dog human relationship, and his love for Charlie will see him through the tough times.

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