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If you regularly follow my blog, then you know that I write about my dogs a lot. I have two Old English Sheepdogs. Zoey who is 12 and 1/2 years old and Abby who is 16 months.

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If you regularly follow my blog, then you know that I spend a lot of time with my dogs. If you regularly follow my blog, then you know I like to observe them because I learn a lot from their behavior.

Zoey has recently shown her age. It seems sudden but really it’s not. She’s been slowly slowing down for awhile. But last week, she nearly took a header down the stairs. I was with her and caught her and she is fine. But now she is very cautious about the stairs. Her back left hind quarter is obviously weak. She isn’t as interested in playing with Abby anymore either.

I am not ready to give up on her. So, I did what I do when a challenge finds me…I went into problem solving mode. Now, I know that I can’t fix her age and I know there are certain things both she and I have to accept about what this means. The only thing I can do with that is feel the sorrow and grief of time and endure it.

But, I can do things to make her life more comfortable. So we ordered stair treads in hopes they will give her more support going up and down the stairs. I also called the vet and he prescribed her some pain medication. Then I called our breeder because she is a wealth of information. Her suggestion was to change Zoey’s walking schedule. Instead of one long walk, do two shorter ones…one in the morning and one in the evening. But she stressed that I need to keep Zoey moving.

The stair treads aren’t here yet but she started her pain medication and I changed her walking schedule. Yesterday, she was a champion. No fear on the stairs! She was also more playful with Abby and a lot less cranky.

I know given her age, not every day will be a good one. I know some days will be better than others. Things will happen out of my control and out of hers and we will have to continue to make adjustments and work on acceptance until the day comes when she…well…I’m not ready to talk about that.

Anyway, the thing I learned yesterday from watching the change in her was that we must celebrate the small victories! She had a good day. I think it was the first really good day she has had in months. Simply by adding some pain medication and changing her exercise routine, she is already doing better.

It is wonderful to see her more engaged in life again. She is still slow, she’ll always be slower now, but her eyes are brighter and she is more alert.

So, while there are certain things we must accept because they are beyond our control. There are others that we can confront and make adjustments to and these are things worth celebration. It’s the small victories that matter.

With painfully profound understanding of her age, I know not every day will be a good one for my Zoey but if we can do small things to improve the quality of her life and keep her comfortable, what a gift. And as I think about this experience with Zoey, I am reminded of my own disease and my own situation. Some days are good. Some aren’t. I too must learn to appreciate the small victories in life. I too must learn to appreciate the good days…or good hours as they come. I too must make adjustments for my own quality of life.

Zoey reminded me that while life sometimes seems like an endless series of overwhelming problems, it is also filled with quiet little gifts. And, if we aren’t paying attention, we will miss them and forget to rejoice in them. So, thank you Zoey for reminding me to celebrate the small victories and to try to enjoy life.

I love you Zoey!

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