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Why I Dislike Senior Dog Month (But Love My Senior Dog, Frankie)

Frankie: Poster dog for seniors or simply a retiree?

Frankie: Poster dog for seniors — or simply himself?

I returned to dog blogging on August 1, a date I chose because I had stopped posting here exactly a year earlier and I like symmetry (and maybe I have a touch of OCD). When I discovered, after the fact, that BlogPaws had designated August Senior Pets Month, I was thrilled. I was planning to write about Frankie’s senior status. What could be better than riding in on the coattails of an entire month devoted to the topic?

After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that plain, boiled Brussels sprouts or doing pushups in 102 degree heat might be better.

Allow me to explain…

The pressure, the pressure!

I’m having a tough enough time trying to be profound, interesting and funny after being away from pet blogging for so long. Now I have to worry that if I am honest about my problems with Frankie, no one will want to adopt a senior dog?

That’s way too much responsibility.

The artificiality

watermelon-margarita-webI always considered Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to be bogus Hallmark holidays but as long as there were only two of them, I could live with it. Now, however, every food and beverage item — and every cause — has an allotted time slot. There are not enough days in the week or months in the year to observe them.

I will admit that I didn’t mind the convergence of National Tequila Day and National Watermelon Day. Watermelon margaritas are delicious.

The arbitrariness

Why should August be senior pet month?  Because people are on vacation and have time to attend to their senior pets? Because all the other months were taken? Several other pet organizations, including the ASPCA and Petfinder, have designated November as Senior Pet Month. Why the disparity?

This is not the first time I’ve ranted about arbitrary holidays, I realized. Back in 2009, I wrote November is Pet Diabetes Month. Oh the Irony! The gist: Pet Diabetes Month was a creation of Schering-Plough, the manufacturer of Vetsulin. In early November, the FDA announced that Vetsulin was defective. It was soon taken off the market (nearly four years later it’s come back).

The reductionism

It’s lazy journalism to attribute much significance to an age group or generation, to designations like Baby Boomer  and Millennial.  And, unless they are rich and/or powerful, humans tend to get ignored as they get older. Lumping them together in categories like “senior” only exacerbates the problem.

The same is true for dogs. Senior canines do have some characteristics in common, including a tendency to slow down, but their personalities remain as distinct as ever with the passage of time.

Some senior dogs are sweethearts, and some senior dogs are assholes (it’s true that their owners are usually to blame but that doesn’t change the fact).  Some have diseases that are tougher than others to deal with. It’s important to discuss them as individuals with distinctive temperaments that fit your lifestyle.

The length of time (too long)

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great to shine a light on topics that are near and dear to pet bloggers. I have taken part in lots of worthy cause-themed challenges and I am always wowed by people’s different takes on the same topic, and by the vast variety of things that deserve support. It’s a great big wonderful world.

I love events like Take Your Dog to Work Day, specific and finite.

It seems to me that a cause is diluted over an entire month. Senior dog, senior dog, blah blah.

The length of time (too short)

People who rescue old dogs, knowing they are not long for the world, deserve kudos every single day. And twice a day.

Why I love my senior dog

Because he’s Frankie.


 I’m willing to listen to reason, though. Tell me why I’m just a cranky curmudgeon who should stick to pulling pieces of cactus off my dog with my bare hands. Did raised awareness over an extended period help you or someone you know decide to adopt a senior dog?

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