Stop asking me how old my dog is.
Stop asking me how old my dog is because our perceptions may be different. What’s “old” to you may not be the same for me.
Stop asking me how old my dog is because honestly, as he gets older, I don’t want to think about it.
Stop Asking Me How Old My Dog Is
I’ve sat in tears before, thinking about the fact that Wynston is going on 8 years old this year. For a Great Dane, 8 years old means they are one foot out the door. For a Chihuahua, it means he’d middle-aged, and could have another decade of life left.
So stop asking me hold old my dog is.
Chihuahuas can live up to 20 years of age. The smaller the breed, the longer they live (typically). But Wynston’s at that age where strangers give me the whole “awwwwww” or “oh, he’s an older guy!” No, he’s not. According to YOUR standards or YOUR experience he may seem old. But he’s not. He’s ONLY 8.
Stop asking strangers how old their dogs are if you suspect they are over a few years of age. Recently I saw a beautiful Great Dane when Wynston and I were eating breakfast. (This Dane was clearly not a youngin). A lady asked the dog’s dad, “How old is he?” He replied with, “He’s 7.” The lady’s face immediately changed. It was almost a look of sadness, as if she figured that dog was on his death bed. “Awwwww,” she whispered, as the owner took the dog and turned around. My heart sank for him.
Okay, it can be a conversation starter. I get it. We even ask human parents the same question about their baby, “How old is he/she?” It’s ingrained into our heads. But honestly, it can be a hurtful question. Dog parents don’t want to be reminded that our animals are getting older, no matter how old they currently are. We’re fully aware that they won’t be around forever.
When you ask me how old Wynston is, I become very mindful. I reflect back on the last 7.5 years. I think about all of the amazing things we’ve done. And for a second, I get sad. Yes, he’s getting older. But don’t freaking remind me. We have a lot of life plans left to live out.
So let’s brainstorm. What are some other conversation starters that we can use when talking to someone new about their dog? Here’s a list of ideas (and give me some in the comments that I can add to the list):
“Tell me more about him/her!”
“What is their name, and how did you choose it?”
“Does he/she have a favorite toy or game?”
“What sort of activities does your dog like to do?”
“What is their adoption/rescue story?”
“Do you two have plans for the weekend?”
Weather or Outdoor Related
“Does he/she like this kind of weather?”
“What fun outdoor things do you do together?”
“Do you have any favorite outdoor spots you enjoy visiting?”
“Have you visited XYZ dog-friendly place?”
Now, if someone clearly has a small puppy, bringing up age isn’t a big deal. People get excited that they have young puppies. But if it’s an adult, and you aren’t sure, please don’t ask. It can bring up really difficult feelings and emotions.
I know harm is not meant when someone asks how old Wynston is. It’s just a basic, simple question that we’ve learned to ask people, whether we have a human kid or fur kid. But it’s kinda like the question, “What do you do for a living?” I’ve started asking people, “What do you do for fun?” Work with me to start asking questions that perpetuate love, happiness and a sense of joy.
I task you with this: next time you meet someone new with a dog, be mindful. Don’t ask them how old their dog is. Simply ask them the dog’s name or ask them to tell you more about their furry friend. It’s time to start a more joyous conversation.
What are some other conversation starters we can add to the list?