A Letter to My Canine Rudi on Her tenth Birthday


black lab mix dog

Kristen Seymour


Rudi is slower and grayer — however extra cherished than ever — on her tenth birthday.

My black Lab combine, Rudi, simply turned 10 years previous.


I am not solely positive how this occurred, as a result of I clearly bear in mind bringing dwelling a extremely energetic, long-legged pet whose head regarded far too small for her physique — and wasn’t that simply the opposite day?

That pet, who was my second canine, confirmed me that I used to be not, the truth is, the world’s most pure canine coach, however had simply gotten fortunate with a ridiculously trainable and obedient first canine. And that is not the one factor I’ve discovered from Rudi, so, to have a good time her tenth birthday, listed below are a number of phrases I would wish to share.


Pricey Rudi…

I by no means pictured you as an previous canine. I assume I by no means dared to imagine we would make it thus far. Dropping my first canine — your massive sister, Yuki — when she was simply 7 was an actual eye-opener for me, and I discovered that I ought to by no means take without any consideration that any of my beloved pets can be round for years to return. In any case, she appeared completely wholesome… till all of a sudden she wasn’t, after which she was gone. I refused to permit myself to be taken abruptly like that once more, so with you, I’ve at all times tried to understand you simply as you have been at that second.

However you did not at all times make that straightforward.


You have been a rambunctious pup — and remained that method for 4 stable years. (Belief me. I counted.) You have been cussed and extremely sturdy, and, fairly frankly, walks with you weren’t all that nice. However I knew the work would repay, and though you are still not the best canine to have on the opposite finish of the leash, I stay up for our walks across the neighborhood — particularly as soon as we’re a few blocks in and you’ve got settled down, as a result of even at 10 years previous, you are still a reasonably excitable pooch. You undoubtedly taught me rather a lot about endurance throughout your first few years.

And you recognize what else you’re? Hungry. So hungry — even for a Lab! That insatiable urge for food has led to a few actually scary conditions, however topping the listing needs to be your first journey to the emergency vet and spending per week within the intensive care unit with acute renal failure. You stole each coronary heart in that hospital along with your snuggly nature and exquisite brown eyes. I spent that week alternating between mendacity on the ground of the veterinary hospital with you watching you sleep and crying tears into your fur and steeling myself for the very actual risk that you just’d by no means come dwelling.

However you probably did, and the expertise taught me that life will decelerate for you should you simply let it. Now, I strive to not let a day go by with out getting down on the ground for a snuggle session with you and your sister, Hollie, even when it is only for a couple of minutes. My productiveness hasn’t suffered for it, however my high quality of life has undoubtedly elevated. It was a tough lesson to be taught, however I am so grateful you have been capable of educate it to me.

After all of your physique had been by, I used to be informed to be ready that you can enter power renal failure as you aged, in order relieved as I used to be to have you ever again, I remained ready for unhealthy information 12 months after 12 months and by no means allowed myself to think about what you’d appear to be with a grey muzzle. You developed a number of different well being issues, like idiopathic seizures and osteoarthritis, however, fortunately, your kidney perform stayed sturdy. As you entered center age and sprouted extra grey hairs, I allowed myself a sliver of hope that I would see you into your golden years, however an enormous a part of me nonetheless held again. By means of that point, I discovered increasingly more about being current, appreciating every second we shared collectively.

black lab with toy

Kristen Seymour

Even now, Rudi isn’t discovered and not using a toy.

The years glided by. You turned superb at going into your crate at any time when I obtained prepared to depart the home, which has been most useful as a result of, man, should you have been a hungry pup earlier than, your seizure medicines have solely exacerbated it. If you happen to’re left unattended, no field, e book or food-related merchandise is secure out of your jaws. (I suppose it is value noting that this has taught me to be diligent about placing all the pieces away in its rightful place — a lesson my mom tried to instill in me for 18 years. Wow, Rudi — you are good!)

And now, you’re 10 years previous. Formally a geriatric canine. We do all the “previous woman” assessments on the vet, and you’ve got your individual tablet organizer so we are able to make sure you get all of the medicines and dietary supplements you want every morning and night time. Generally you leak a bit of in your sleep, and whereas I discover your loud night breathing to be soothing and melodious, it has been identified to wake a sleeping human.

However you continue to greet me on the door along with your favourite toy in your mouth, similar to you probably did as a pet. If you get a bit of spurt of vitality and are available working across the nook of the yard, it is simple for me to recall the best way you bounded from one finish of the canine park to the opposite.

You then come nearer, and the grey muzzle and white eyebrows come into focus and I am reminded that you just’re not a pet anymore. That is okay, although — you will at all times be my pet, and I am going to do my greatest to make you are feeling like one at the moment, tomorrow and for so long as I’ve the priviledge of caring for you. As a result of, as my colleague Amy Sinatra Ayres so eloquently mentioned in a love letter to her 14-year-old canine, Grizzly, I am simply so blissful you are still right here.

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