This week’s story came into my head while I was out dog walking in our neighborhood. I could see Marlo, a sweet Cockapoo, being walked with Wayne, one of her owners, in the distance. I smiled to myself realizing what a wonderful life that she leads. This story is about a dog filling an “empty nest.”
Quite often, once a family’s children have grown up and left home, a dog becomes a consideration. Couples have more time to be with a dog and it becomes a win-win situation for both the two and four-legged.
I have known Carol, Marlo’s other owner, for a few years now. We met as friends often do, at the local dog park. I could tell back then that Carol adored her dog, and the feeling is obviously mutual.
Over the years we have walked our dogs together and shared stories about our lives. I learned that Carol and Wayne have two grown sons, Brendan and Paul, and that they have “flown the nest” to begin lives outside of Toronto.
Carol had a previous dog before Marlo named Cindy, when her sons were seven and four years old. Carol was working full-time as a kindergarten teacher but made having a pet work with extra TLC. Cindy lived to a ripe old age of fourteen.
After many years of teaching of teaching Carol was ready to retire. Her family strongly urged her to get another dog. They realized Carol would adore a dog’s company and keep her busy in her retirement. Carol’s job was very nurturing and she loved the way that children could give back in their own special ways.
Her sister and brother-in-law decided that they could be part of the decision-making process regarding a non-hypoallergenic breed which was – a must! In conversations with Carol they realized that a smaller dog was on Carol’s wish list. For Carol, a being a small woman, a littler dog would be more manageable to look after. They realized not to get a dog too small, as that could be a trip hazard on stairs etc. in Carol and Wayne’s retirement years.
Carol totally trusted her family to choose her dream dog. A Cockapoo was chosen, a darling female. They are a cross of an American Cocker Spaniel or an English Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Pictures were sent from the breeder at various stages before Marlo came home. Six or seven family members went as an excited group to get Marlo; it was a big adventure.
Marlo certainly kept Carol busy while Wayne was at work. The songs Carol would sing to her kindergarten class became useful again when she sung to her puppy as encouragement to do her “business” in the backyard. I would love to have seen this!
The transition was an easy one, although Carol had never had a puppy less than six months before. She was committed 24/7 and read books to learn about training a pup. Carol also enjoyed walking with a friend and her dog to help socialize Marlo.
Carol has enjoyed having a non-shedding dog and the advantages this brings with no brushing, or having to vacuum as much, something else to consider if you are a senior wanting a dog.
Marlo looks adorable after being groomed and I have seen her “rock” different looks as we live near one another. One time that still makes me laugh was an episode at the off leash. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a small black dog flying over to see me. I did not recognize the dog until I saw her collar, it was Marlo! She had recently been groomed and was unrecognizable. The groomer asked Carol if she wanted Marlo to “look like a bear.” Carol said “sure,” and the result was pretty funny. Marlo had been so fluffed up that her body looked ten times as big! She was beautifully soft and gorgeous but “super-sized.” Carol thought that it was cute, but could not believe the look. I remember laughing with Carol and saying that imagine if we got our hair “done” and came out looking larger than life like Marlo!
Marlo is totally spoiled at home and has a wonderful life full of love and attention. I was even invited to her second birthday party. The joy this dog has brought especially to Carol, is wonderful to see.
There are many perks for empty nesters to get a dog. Carol mentioned that the added exercise/fresh air is wonderful year round, especially since they live near great walking trails. Having a dog is also like having a friend who is always around, and this can connect you to new people in your retirement.
The most important is the love a dog can bring. Marlo is quite a cuddler and is truly perfect for this “empty nest.”
Other posts with Marlo include https://dogstwentyfourseven.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/dog-tv-a-new-concept/ and https://dogstwentyfourseven.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/the-eyes-say-it-all/ and https://dogstwentyfourseven.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/watching-puppies-being-born/
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