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Lately I’ve found myself reminiscing over old photos (thanks Myspace!) and remembering when our family life was a bit different. I found an old album on my Myspace account that dated back to when we first got Chopper, back in 2008. We welcomed him into our home on December 4, 2008 when he was seven months old and he’s been a part of our family since. I remember those early days, when the older kids were at school and Mr. Harris was at work. I was 8 months pregnant with D-Man and it was just Chopper and I alone together all day. I remember the first day we had the house to ourselves, alone together. I was asleep that morning and he gently nudged my arm to wake me up and take him out. I remember putting on boots and sweatshirts and standing outside with him till he was done doing his deed. We really got to know each other well, and he was always standing guard next to me.
I remember we didn’t even hear him bark for months and wondered if he really even barked at all. He was always such a special dog, we’d agonized for months on what type of dog to get and how we should get one. Should we go through a breeder? Adopt a dog? We eventually ended up getting him from one of Mr. Harris’ friends, he’d casually mentioned to him one day we were thinking about getting a dog, and his friend said he’d planned on keeping Chopper but because he also had Chopper’s parents it ended up being more than he’d anticipated. He eventually gave him to us after a few visits and from day one Chopper has always had an inseparable bond with Mr. Harris. In fact, he has a special bond with each of us – just in different ways.
Just a month and a half after we got Chopper D-Man was born and Chopper was always so wonderful with him. He was so curious to know who he was, and it’s like he knew that something important had transpired when we brought D-Man home. In fact, D-Man used to sit in his swing and Chopper would just sit in front of him, a safe distance away. Just enough to make sure he was safe. As D-Man got older, Chopper would warn us if he got to close to the stairs, or one time when he got into the backyard when he shouldn’t. Chopper has always watched over our family like an old grandpa or uncle would, even when he was young. He’s always seemed so wise and relaxed, we’ve always joked that he’s really a person.
Seeing those old pictures recently got me thinking and realizing he’s not a young pup anymore. Chopper is getting older, and it’s my intention to make sure that he enjoys his senior years just as much as he enjoyed being a pup. Recently he’s had some skin irritations, bald patches on his snout and on his eye, as well as the top of his head. He also had a growth in his eye that worried us and as Mr. Harris took him to the vet I was struggling to say goodbye. It made me realize that he’s not going to be here forever and his health is a priority. He ended up being ok, he’s actually got allergies to pollen, dirt and dust just as bad as I do, so he has to take medicine to help him through it. Thankfully it’s cleared up for the most part, but it really showed us that time is precious and as good and tough as Chopper is, he’s not getting any younger.
No matter how busy our days get we want to show him love daily. Not just at home, but taking him out for walks and exercising, bringing him fun treats as well as giving him good food that fits his needs as an older dog. When I found out that Purina has a new line of dog food made specifically for older dogs, I had to learn more. Since Chopper is over 7 years old and weighs in at about 100 pounds, the Purina® Pro Plan® BRIGHT MIND dog food in the large breed formula sounded like the perfect choice to us. We even took Chopper with us to Petsmart to pick up his new food and we talked to one of the associates at length about the benefits Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind can offer Chopper. I didn’t realize that, according to experts, after age seven the glucose metabolism in a dog’s brain begins to change. This can affect memory, learning, awareness and decision making. Purina Pro Plan discovered a way to promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs that are seven years and older through nutrition (imagine that!) and has introduced the BRIGHT MIND 7+ formulas. This food contains enhanced botanical oils that are shown to promote sharpness in dogs that are seven and up making them more alert, with visible results in just 30 days! Some of the differences that may be seen in your dog is their interactions with you and other family members, their interest in playing and the ability to adapt and cope with change. This formula helps promote memory, attention and trainability.
We were so excited to try this formula with Chopper, and for the first week we mixed it in with the previous dog food he was using to gradually switch his diet to the new formula. What I like about Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind is that it addresses Choppers dietary needs as an older dog. Senior dogs, like puppies, have special and specific needs like slightly decreased fat and his levels of antioxidants as well as a highly digestible formula. As dogs grow older in age, foods that specialize in their needs are a key to maintaining a healthy and happy life.
When we started Chopper on his new food, we were careful to mix it in with his old food for the first week, that way he can gradually get used to it. We actually took a video of that first day and kept note of it in a memorable way. We mounted a Go Pro onto a special dog harness and put it on Chopper so we could could see the world from his view. All this reminiscing we’ve been doing, we’d love to see how his bright days look from his level. We took him for a walk with our family and our other dog who’s a few years younger and we took him to the park, then let them loose in an enclosed area. Chopper is still so young at heart, he loves to just run free. You’ll see in the video that he also likes to stop and take a look at a beautiful view. After the park we took him to a fenced area that overlooked acres and acres of land. Then after he’d rested a bit, we introduced him to his new food. Check out the video below and stay tuned for our follow up where we share what we’ve noticed after the initial 30 days.
Do you have a senior dog?
What are some of your dogs favorite activities? Do you feed your dog a specific food that caters to their dietary needs? Sound off in the comments!