Author: Hugh Slaney: vom Slaney-Vale Drahthaars
I remember Tom T. Hall’s song from so long ago: Old Dogs and Children, and Watermelon Wine. It was a song about the beauty of ageing; the wisdom gained along the way and in some cases what it was that remained. One of the lines said, “Old Dogs care about you even when you make mistakes”.
A Drahthaar pup is taken from puppyhood, to adolescence and into adulthood, with testing, hunting, birthing and rearing of puppies and other breeding contributions along the way. The parent club has regulations and various restrictions on the minimum and maximum ages to which females (8 years) and males (9 years) are allowed to be bred.
Breeders, who keep their beloved females and males with them beyond the 8th and 9th year and on to their final days on earth, are truly to be admired. So much love and loyalty will have been their lot in life, going far beyond hunting and breeding. They are approaching a vulnerable time in their lives, and keeping them in their home environments gives them the comfort they need. Special care will need to be taken with diet and other normal parts of life, but this is miniscule when compared to the years of love and loyalty they have given the master. The aged dog trusts that his lifelong leader will take care of him, will recognize his special health needs and will make his aches and pains more bearable. A Drahthaar is no different than any other breed and it is cheap justification to think otherwise. It is up to the master to take good care of them in their old age, as it was in their productive youth, and to let them live the last enjoyable years of their lives with the people they grew up with and whom they love. Be patient with them, for they have been patient with your mistakes also.
When a Drahthaar breeder views the age of 8 for a female and 9 for a male as simply a space in time and not a cause for termination of life or the end of their canine relationship with that DD, a strong message of caring, correct intent and Breeder Ethics is openly displayed, and sets a fine example for others to respect and to follow. Rest assured, the exact opposite is true when an aged individual is rehomed for no other actual reason, than "past the age...........". Remember breeders, owners, that we are like all others: when we look in the mirror in the morning, we should still like the person that looks back at us. Be good to your Old Dogs, and keep liking the person in the mirror.
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