We adopted Riley, one of our Bichons, in June 2005, when he was just 4 months old. We chose a Bichon to add to our family because they don’t shed, are hypo-allergenic, and because of their sweet temperament.
Some reports state the average lifespan of a Bichon is 12-14 years while other reports state it is 18-19 years of age (if the dog has been well cared for). Our veterinarian bills can attest to the fact that we have taken good care of Riley, so I am hoping for the 18-19 age range.
Riley has started to age though. We’ve noticed that. He has trouble getting up on the couch without help, and he has been sleeping more soundly and more often lately. I also noticed that when I pet his head, it seems like he has less hair there. (Bichons have hair, not fur, which is what makes them hypo-allergenic.) In doing some research this morning, I read that Bichons do actually lose some of their hair as they age. So I wasn’t just imagining it after all!
We noticed a little over a year ago that Riley started losing his hearing. I don’t think he can hear much of anything anymore. I REALLY have to raise my voice (LOUD!) for him to hear me, even if I am just a few feet away.
In this great article on Aging Dogs, I read that aging dogs “don’t know this. (They) simply accept everything that life brings and move on. (They) don’t feel sadness at growing old… because (they) don’t have a clue about what is happening.”
I was so glad to read that because I have been wondering how Riley felt. I know how his actions have changed. He needs to constantly be with someone. He follows our other Bichon (Stella) wherever she goes. He needs more affection from me.
I’m glad Riley doesn’t know he is aging. I just wish I didn’t know that he is.
Many of you have aging dogs or have lost dogs. So tell me, what did you do to make your aging dogs’ lives more comfortable for them during this phase of their life?